Sheffield Wednesday secured their first home victory of the season as they defeated South Yorkshire rivals Rotherham United 2-0 at Hillsborough. This win came after 14 previous attempts, marking a significant achievement for Sheffield Wednesday on their return to the Championship.
Under the leadership of Danny Rohl in his first home game, Sheffield Wednesday made an impressive start, with two first-half goals courtesy of Michael Smith, who had previously played for Rotherham United. This victory also marked the first time Sheffield Wednesday had scored since Anthony Musaba’s 38th-minute goal in a 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough on September 19th. This win could be a turning point following the club’s worst start to a Championship season since the Football League rebranded in 2004.
The opening goal came in the 11th minute when Smith tapped in the rebound from Viktor Johansson’s save after Musaba’s initial attempt. This goal injected new life into the crowd at Hillsborough, reminiscent of the dramatic playoff semi-final victory over Peterborough United five months earlier. Rotherham, who came into the match after a much-needed victory against Coventry City, struggled to contend with the home side.
Smith extended his tally with a second goal in the 36th minute, putting the Owls in a commanding position that the visitors seemed unlikely to challenge. Rotherham’s closest chance came from a Seb Revan effort, but it sailed well over Cameron Dawson’s goal. While Sheffield Wednesday didn’t exert much effort in the second half, they secured the vital three points, bringing relief to their supporters.
Danny Rohl, the new Wednesday boss, had identified several positives in his first two games in charge, despite both being away defeats to Watford and Plymouth. However, this result instilled newfound confidence in both him and his players. They are now motivated to prove wrong the many who had already resigned themselves to the idea that Wednesday was headed for relegation.
Rohl stated, ‘The short-term goal is to remain in the league and accumulate a significant number of points. It would be incredible to create something special because the potential here is enormous.’ He emphasized the team’s recent hard work, the direction in which they want to play, and the importance of maintaining a winning mindset while enjoying the game of football.
Anthony Musaba’s performance, characterized by energy and directness, played a crucial role in Sheffield Wednesday’s success. Rohl praised the 22-year-old’s contribution, highlighting his pace and ability to exploit gaps, which aligns with the team’s strategy of playing on the front foot and creating scoring opportunities.