Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 Peterborough (5-3 pens): Owls edge thriller
Sheffield Wednesday pulled off a stunning comeback to book their place in the League One play-off final with a 5-3 win on penalties after overturning a four-goal first-leg deficit to win 5-1 after extra time.
Hillsborough needed early goals to set this tie alight and got two in the first 25 minutes courtesy of a Michael Smith penalty and Lee Gregory, although Peterborough had chances through Ephron Mason-Clarke and Kwame Poku to put the tie to bed but Cameron Dawson stood strong to deny them.
Reece James pulled the hosts to within one of Peterborough’s aggregate lead with 20 minutes to go and Hillsborough’s roof came off when Liam Palmer made it four with the last kick of normal time.
Peterborough nudged ahead once again in extra time after Gregory nodded into his own net and Wednesday extraordinarily pulled level through Calum Paterson, resulting in penalties — Wednesday’s sensational comeback was sealed when Jack Hunt converted after Dan Butler hit the crossbar with the only miss of the shootout.
Wednesday’s wish of an early goal came true after Marvin Johnson was brought down by Joe Ward inside the area — Smith sent Will Norris the wrong way to cut the deficit to three just eight minutes in to breathe life into the encounter.
Peterborough had a chance to restore their large advantage 10 minutes later when Poku found himself in space inside the area but rifled an effort straight at Dawson.
Posh were catching Wednesday on the break as they went in search for an early second, and had another chance but Mason-Clarke’s effort from outside the area needed saving by Dawson again.
The Owls halved Peterborough’s aggregate advantage 25 minutes in after Paterson found himself out wide with the ball again, his low cross was turned home by Gregory with goalkeeper Norris in no man’s land.
Peterborough remained a threat on the counter-attack and almost got their much needed goal when Mason-Clarke latched onto a through ball by Jack Taylor but was denied by Dawson for the second time in the half to keep the score at 2-0.
The hosts started the second half in similar fashion to the first and Norris made an outstanding save to palm away Gregory’s goalbound bicycle kick.
Wave after wave of Wednesday attack was coming at the Posh defence, who were seemingly stumbling their way through the tie — this time — Josh Windass’ first time strike was met by Norris to deny another goal.
It seemed only a matter of time before Darren Moore’s side struck again, and they did just that when James found himself one-on-one with Norris and coolly slotted home to set up a nervy last 20 minutes.
The hosts thought they had their fourth but Dominic Iorfa’s free header from inside the area flew straight into the grateful grasp of Norris.
Peterborough looked to have booked their place at Wembley but Wednesday had other ideas as the clock went into the 98th minute, a long ball into the box was met by the head of Aden Flint and Palmer bundled home to send the game into extra time.
The visitors edged ahead in this remarkable play-off meeting when Butler’s free-kick was nodded into his own net by Gregory under pressure from Nathan Thompson.
Wednesday looked down and out again but roared back with another equaliser in the 112th minute when Paterson stabbed home and sent the game to a penalty shootout and Butler’s miss miss proved crucial as Hunt’s winning kick signalled a pitch invasion.