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Stuart Gray delighted with Leon Best impact

19 April 2014

Sheffield Wednesday boss Stuart Gray hailed substitute Leon Best for coming off the bench to inspire his side to a 4-2 win at Play-Off chasing Bournemouth.

Best scored one goal and made another to lead Wednesday to a late smash-and-grab victory which mathematically sealed their Sky Bet Championship survival for another season.

The Owls twice took the lead through goals from Atdhe Nuhiu and Sam Hutchinson - who was later sent off - only for Bournemouth to hit back thanks to strikes from Marc Pugh and Yann Kermorgant.

Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland made a string of saves before Best and Chris Maguire snatched the points with goals in a frantic final 10 minutes.

Gray said: "Leon did ever so well. He followed up after Michail Antonio had hit the bar and got his just deserts and then he set up Chris Maguire for the fourth with a perfect pass.

"You want your substitutes to make an impact and Leon did that.

"I am so proud of the players. It may seem like an upset but I thought we deserved it.

"We knew this would be a difficult place to come because Bournemouth have won the majority of their home games and we showed unbelievable character after going to 10-men.

"We went into the last game of last season looking over our shoulders so it will be nice to go into the last three without having any pressure."

Bournemouth fans among a sell-out crowd were stunned into silence when Nuhiu rifled home from the edge of the penalty area.

The home side drew level 14 minutes before half time when the lively Lewis Grabban sprinted past three defenders before crossing for Pugh to head beyond Kirkland at close range.

But the Cherries' joy lasted just three minutes until Chelsea loanee Hutchinson headed Wednesday back in front with his first goal for the club after a long throw from Antonio had caused confusion in the box.

There was nothing former Liverpool stopper Kirkland could do to prevent Kermorgant heading Bournemouth back on terms for a second time after 57 minutes from Ian Harte's corner.

Wednesday were forced to see out the final 27 minutes a man light after Hutchinson was shown a second yellow card for a late lunge on Kermorgant.

Best struck in the 87th minute, tucking home the rebound after Antonio hit the crossbar at the end of a fine solo run.

And Maguire made it 4-2 in stoppage time, tapping in Best's centre from six yards as Bournemouth were caught pushing for an equaliser.

Cherries boss Eddie Howe said: "I felt we had to win all four or our remaining games so it will be difficult now but we have to try and win the last three.

"We were not at our fluent best but still created enough chances to win and Kirkland made important saves at key times.

"We were going all out for the win and sometimes that is dangerous against 10-men but we had no alternative. I felt we would regret it if we settled for a draw and ended up missing out by a point."

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