Ugbo brace helps Sheffield Wednesday defeat Birmingham City
Ike Ugbo netted his debut two goals for the team as Sheffield Wednesday comfortably defeated fellow Championship strugglers Birmingham City at Hillsborough.
The significant January loan acquisition from French top-flight club Troyes scored a goal in each half to secure Danny Rohl’s team a crucial first victory in seven matches.
This win, only the Owls’ seventh in 31 games this season, brings them within five points of safety, though they remain entrenched in 23rd place.
Despite starting his tenure with four points from his initial two league fixtures, Blues manager Tony Mowbray has now suffered three consecutive defeats on the road – a 3-0 FA Cup elimination at Leicester followed by losses to West Bromwich Albion and this disappointing performance.
However, in each of those matches, Blues generated more opportunities, and notably in this instance, were undone by consistently poor defensive play.
They had largely dominated the early exchanges when vulnerable Wednesday took the lead with their first genuine attack in the 15th minute.
In just his third appearance for the Owls, another January addition, Ian Poveda, demonstrated his fondness for facing Blues once more, echoing his winning goal for Blackpool at St. Andrew’s last season. This came as no surprise to visiting manager Tony Mowbray, who had previously signed him on loan at Blackburn two seasons ago and had attempted to do so again for Blues last month.
Poveda swiftly moved towards the right byline, delivered a pull-back, and found Ugbo unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box, who confidently struck home a low right-foot shot.
Despite this, the visitors continued to pose a significant threat. Siriki Dembele’s shot deflected twice before being safely palmed away by Owls’ goalkeeper James Beadle. Additionally, the reintroduced Scott Hogan narrowly missed with a near-post flicked header from Andre Dozzell’s corner, which narrowly missed the left upright.
Ugbo had a prime opportunity to extend the Owls’ lead late in the first half but fired wide. However, he eventually secured his second goal eight minutes into the second half.
Marvin Johnson, a Birmingham native who began his football journey with Midlands Sunday League side Romulus before playing for Solihull Moors and Kidderminster Harriers, floated a delightful hanging left-wing cross to the far post. The towering Ugbo easily overcame Lee Buchanan’s feeble challenge to convert.
Though purists might argue it was a foul, such decisions are seldom given in the modern game. Following that moment, despite numerous attacking changes, City surprisingly struggled to mount a response.