Lester exploits Wednesday's lack of direction

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The Independent Online

Under-fire Forest manager David Platt went home last night with the result he needed but Wednesday's Paul Jewell was left still seeking relief after losing three of his first four home matches.

Under-fire Forest manager David Platt went home last night with the result he needed but Wednesday's Paul Jewell was left still seeking relief after losing three of his first four home matches.

The former Bradford manager had a taste of what Platt has been suffering lately after Wednesday failed to respond to Jack Lester's first-half strike, the Hillsborough side departing to jeers from a sparse yet vocal crowd.

Platt admits to having wondered how far he might be from the fate that befell his friend, Gianluca Vialli, at Chelsea this week, although last night's win lifts Forest into the top six in the First Division.

Forest fans had vented their wrath at Platt following last Saturday's heavy defeat at Blackburn and the player-manager's absence with an ankle injury last night did not augur well for his side.

But then again, Wednesday are in poor shape collectively, still trying to find their way under Jewell's stewardship. Thrashed 5-0 at home by Wimbledon last weekend, they lacked the influence of Wim Jonk again and had little to offer of quality to a scrappy first half just shaded by the visitors.

The goal that divided the sides came out of nothing, former Grimsby striker Jack Lester controlling a long ball from midfield and needing only the briefest assessment of Kevin Pressman's position before unleashing a shot from 20 yards that cleared the Wednesday goalkeeper before dipping under the crossbar.

Wednesday replaced the ineffective Michele di Piedi with Gilles de Bilde at half-time and threatened an equaliser almost immediately when Barry Roche, the 18-year-old in Forest's goal in place of the suspended Dave Beasant, fumbled a shot by Alan Quinn. Nothing came of the youngster's error, however, and Lester went close to extending the visitors' lead, meeting a cross by Matthieu Louis-Jean with a glancing header that only narrowly missed the target.

This sparked a welcome increase in tempo. Forest swept upfield and Lester forced Pressman to save low to his left. More end-to-end play followed, highlighted by a penetrating charge by David Prutton, whose shot from 30 yards went only just the wrong side of the woodwork, much to the relief of Pressman who was at full stretch. The home side, however, could offer little in reply.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Pressman; Stockdale, Westwood, Walker, Humphreys; Hamshaw, Haslam (Crane, 78), O'Donnell (Sibon, 69), Quinn; Di Piedi (De Bilde h-t), Booth. Substitutes not used: Stringer (gk),Geary, .

Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Roche; Louis-Jean, Vaughan, Edwards, Doig; Prutton, Bart-Williams, Johnson, Rogers; Harewood (Freedman, 88), Lester. Substitutes not used: Collis (gk), Brennan, John, , Blake.

Referee: T Jones (Barrow-in-Furness).

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