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Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 Birmingham City: Ike Ugbo double helps Owls down Blues

Ike Ugbo scored his first two goals for the club as Sheffield Wednesday brushed past fellow Championship relegation battlers Birmingham City at Hillsborough.

The big January loan signing from French top-flight side Troyes struck a goal in each half to earn Danny Rohl's side a timely first win in seven games.

The victory, only the Owls' seventh in 31 games this season, lifts them within five points of safety, although they remain rooted in 23rd.

After starting with four points from his first two league games in charge, Blues boss Tony Mowbray has now lost three straight away matches - the 3-0 FA Cup exit at Leicester followed by last Saturday's defeat by West Bromwich Albion and this poor show.

But, in each of those games, Blues created the greater number of chances - and, on this occasion, especially, were beaten by chronically poor defending.

They had enjoyed comfortably the better of the opening exchanges when wobbly Wednesday went ahead with their first real attack on 15 minutes.

On only his third appearance, another Owls January signing Ian Poveda, who scored a winning goal for Blackpool at St Andrew's last season, again showed his liking for playing Blues, by setting it up, to no surprise to visiting boss Tony Mowbray, who signed him on loan at Blackburn two seasons ago and again tried to for Blues last month.

Poveda darted to the right byeline, pulled back and Ugbo, unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box, slammed home a low right-foot shot.

Even then the visitors remained a big threat, as Siriki Dembele's shot deflected twice before being palmed to safety by Owls keeper James Beadle. And the recalled Scott Hogan was very close with a near-post flicked header from Andre Dozzell's corner, which flew just the wrong side of the left upright.

But Ugbo had a great chance to double the Owls' lead late in the first half when he fired wide - before he finally did get his second eight minutes into the second half.

Birmingham-born Marvin Johnson, who began his career with Midlands Sunday League side Romulus before playing for Solihull Moors and Kidderminster Harriers, floated up a delightful hanging left-wing cross to the far post and the towering Ugbo made mincemeat of Lee Buchanan's weak challenge.

Purists might still call it a foul, but not many in this day and age - and, from that moment, despite a ruck of attacking changes, City surprisingly had little response.

Who's next?

Both sides now face tough tests on Tuesday.

Danny Rohl's Wednesday visit Championship leaders Leicester City, while Mowbray's men are at home to John Eustace's Blackburn Rovers.

Having only been appointed at Ewood Park earlier on Friday, Eustace will not be in charge of Rovers' home game this Saturday against Stoke City.

That means Tuesday's trip to St Andrew's will be his first Rovers game at the helm - four months on from his last game there, a 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion which took Blues fifth before he was surprisingly sacked three days later.

Now Blues are 19th, just four points clear of trouble - and could be closer still by the end of the weekend.

Wednesday boss Danny Rohl told BBC Radio Sheffield:

"It was a massive improvement from us. We fought for every inch.

"It was close, Birmingham made it hard for us. But I now know how strong the mentality and belief is. We have shown we can get over setbacks.

"Our strength is our team. They fight for me, they fight for each other and they fight for themselves."

Blues boss Tony Mowbray told BBC Radio WM:

"We somehow found a way to lose 2-0. We let in two poor goals and, if we get that many chances, we have to score

"We need to hurt the net and hurt the opposition. It comes down to quality. You have to take more care with our final ball and our finishing.

"I don't think it's wrong to question that aspect. 65% possession and 25 shots. It was the same sort of thing at Leicester.

"Ian Poveda is a very good player. He's a player I had for a season at Blackburn and we were very close to signing him in this window."