The FA Cup - Third Round
ExeterExeter City0Sheff WedSheffield Wednesday2

Exeter City 0-2 Sheffield Wednesday: Owls put Covid-19 problems aside to beat Grecians

Managerless Sheffield Wednesday put league and Covid-19 problems aside as they beat League Two Exeter City in the third round of the FA Cup.

The Owls were without interim boss Neil Thompson and his assistants due to an outbreak which also shut the club's training ground ahead of the tie.

But Adam Reach gave the Owls the lead as he powered past Lewis Ward after Barry Bannan's free-kick over the top.

Callum Paterson's late goal from close range sealed the victory for Wednesday.

The win was a third successive victory for Wednesday since the sacking of Tony Pulis, and despite the Covid-19 outbreak the Owls were able to pick a relatively strong starting side.

They made just three changes from the team which beat Derby County on New Year's Day, although only four substitutes were available to academy coach Andy Holdsworth, who was temporarily in charge of the Championship side.

Andy Holdsworth
Andy Holdsworth - Sheffield Wednesday's professional development phase manager - stood in for interim boss Neil Thompson who was self-isolating

But it was the League Two side that impressed first, with Exeter close to being two goals up inside the first five minutes as Matt Jay sent a first-minute diving header wide and Ryan Bowman weakly shot at Joe Wildsmith when put through by Jay soon after.

Wednesday grew into the half and took the lead when Exeter centre-back Rory McArdle was caught napping from Bannan's long ball from inside his own half, and Reach got the wrong side of him to blast past Ward at his near post.

McArdle should have levelled the scores eight minutes after half-time when Josh Key flicked on a corner, but the defender managed to float a back-post header into the arms of Wildsmith.

Despite Exeter boss Matt Taylor saying this tie was their best chance to make the fourth round for the first time in 30 years, his side failed to truly trouble their opponents.

Instead Alex Hunt, Reach and Bannan had efforts for Wednesday as the second half wore on while Nicky Law put a late effort over the bar for Exeter as he stretched to meet Jake Caprice's cross from the right.

Patterson was indebted to Liam Shaw's excellent run from deep for the clinching second as he cut the ball back for the Scotland international to score for the third successive game.

Exeter City manager Matt Taylor told BBC Radio Devon:

"We made too many unforced errors today, we worked hard out of possession but we didn't use that ball well enough.

"They were there for the taking, we had opportunities, we created opportunities, we got in good positions.

"Our keeper's not had a shot to save in anger and we've got beaten 2-0."

Sheffield Wednesday coach Andy Holdsworth:

"The lads have been professional in everything they have done today. The remit was to get through to the next round, and we have done that.

"The commitment, desire and the work ethic of the lads to go and win the game was pleasing. It was a professional performance from the lads and they deserve everything they have got.

"We wanted to keep the momentum going as well. Neil (Thompson) has come and done really well in the last three performances and got the points. Winning games breeds confidence in players and is what we have done today."



Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Ward
  • 2Caprice
  • 6McArdle
  • 15Parkes
  • 20PageSubstituted forSparkesat 45'minutes
  • 30Key
  • 8TaylorSubstituted forAtanganaat 77'minutes
  • 10Collins
  • 14RandallSubstituted forAjoseat 77'minutes
  • 12BowmanSubstituted forSeymourat 61'minutes
  • 17JaySubstituted forLawat 61'minutes


  • 3Sparkes
  • 4Atangana
  • 7Law
  • 9Seymour
  • 18Fisher
  • 23Maxted
  • 25Ajose
  • 29Kite
  • 34Hartridge

Sheff Wed

Formation 4-3-3

  • 28Wildsmith
  • 22Odubajo
  • 34Brennan
  • 26Shaw
  • 37GalvinSubstituted forEratt-Thompsonat 90+1'minutes
  • 29HuntSubstituted forDele-Bashiruat 64'minutes
  • 8Pelupessy
  • 10Bannan
  • 11Reach
  • 5PatersonSubstituted forRiceat 90+3'minutes
  • 7K Harris


  • 17Dele-Bashiru
  • 31Render
  • 38Eratt-Thompson
  • 39Rice
Dean Whitestone

Match Stats

Home TeamExeterAway TeamSheff Wed
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Exeter City 0, Sheffield Wednesday 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Exeter City 0, Sheffield Wednesday 2.

  3. Substitution

    Substitution, Sheffield Wednesday. Isaac Rice replaces Callum Paterson.

  4. Substitution

    Substitution, Sheffield Wednesday. Declan Eratt-Thompson replaces Ryan Galvin because of an injury.

  5. Goal!

    Goal! Exeter City 0, Sheffield Wednesday 2. Callum Paterson (Sheffield Wednesday) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Liam Shaw.

  6. Post update

    Ciaran Brennan (Sheffield Wednesday) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Nicky Ajose (Exeter City).

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Nicky Law (Exeter City) right footed shot from very close range is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Jake Caprice with a cross.

  9. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Moses Odubajo (Sheffield Wednesday) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Adam Reach.

  10. Post update

    Kadeem Harris (Sheffield Wednesday) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Jake Caprice (Exeter City).

  12. Post update

    Ryan Galvin (Sheffield Wednesday) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Rory McArdle (Exeter City).

  14. Post update

    Ryan Galvin (Sheffield Wednesday) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Joshua Key (Exeter City).

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Kadeem Harris (Sheffield Wednesday) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Barry Bannan.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Exeter City. Nigel Atangana replaces Jake Taylor.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Exeter City. Nicky Ajose replaces Joel Randall.

  19. Post update

    Attempt saved. Barry Bannan (Sheffield Wednesday) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Adam Reach.

  20. Post update

    Attempt saved. Adam Reach (Sheffield Wednesday) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Liam Shaw.

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