Wednesday 0-1 West Brom
04/03/08 - 19:45
They say revenge is a dish best served cold and Baggies boss Tony Mowbray will certainly have dished out a cool dish to the Owls after Kevin Phillips bagged a late, late winner in a controversial match at Hillsborough on Tuesday night.
Steve Watson bagged a late leveller in the reverse fixture earlier at the season which left the Baggies fuming, but the managed to turn the tables with a late winner that left a bitter taste in the mouth of Owls boss Brian Laws and Wednesday fans alike.
Jermaine Johnson's sending off in the second half was the controversial moment, although the promotion-chasing Baggies will have left they'd done just enough to merit all three points in a lacklustre clash.
Owls boss Brian Laws made two changes following the 0-0 stalemate with Barnsley at the weekend with Tommy Spurr returning to replace the injured Peter Gilbert at left-back, while Jermaine Johnson returned from suspension to replace Wade Small on the wing, and there was still no start for Chelsea loanee Ben Sahar.
Chris Brunt returned to Hillsborough to line-up against his former team-mates for the first time since his move to West Brom at the start of the season.
Laws had tagged the visitors as the best team in the Championship in terms of footballing ability prior to the clash, but the Baggies showed little sign of any quality that we see them as a force in the Premiership should they bag promotion.
The Owls boss may well have been relieved by the fact that both Kevin Phillips and Ishmael Miller started the clash on the bench, with Luke Moore and Roman Bednar causing the in-form Owls defence little problems in the opening exchanges.
The Owls defence of Richard Hinds, Tommy Spurr, Mark Beevers and Richard Wood had cost nothing, with three of the four coming through the Wednesday youth ranks, and they looked more than a match for the costly Baggies front line.
Spurr marked his return to first team action with a winding run and right-footed shot which went straight at Dean Kiely in the West Brom goal as Wednesday fired an early warning shot.
Brunt was getting a mixed reception from the Owls faithful, with jeers quickly turning to cheers for the youngster, and it was Brunt who was looking the most likely to create something for the Baggies in a scrappy match.
Robert Koran had the best effort on goal in a poor first half of football, forcing Lee Grant in to a fine reflex save, while Brunt also lashed an effort high and wide of the goal as chances came few and far between.
And Brunt was the supplier again before the break as his cross was diverted to Paul Robinson in the centre of the Wednesday penalty box but he sent his effort crashing wide of goal when it would have been easier to score.
Half-Time: Wednesday 0-0 West Brom
The Baggies edged the first half and although the Owls' forward pairing of Marcus Tudgay and Enoch Showunmi were working tirelessly in attach, the Wednesday midfield was doing little to create chances for the duo in front of goal.
The return of Jermaine Johnson could well have provided some attacking flair but the Jamaican failed to get in to his stride, having more of a problem with the Baggies left-back Robinson than in attack.
But Wednesday came out with more attacking pressure at the start of the second half as Graham Kavanagh took the game by the scruff of the neck and saw a long-range effort flash wide of goal to give the Owls faithful some hope.
Although Wednesday never really threatened Kiely's goal, Laws will have felt the three points were there for the taking with the Baggies not living up to their tag of the best team in the Championship.
But West Brom upped the tempo minutes later as Luke Moore turned his marker and was just about to send an effort on goal before Spurr came in with a superb last-ditch tackle to deny the former Aston Villa man.
Mark Beevers was producing another commanding display after picking up the 'Apprentice of the Year' award, nulling Moore and Bednar, and he did the same with powerful hitman Ishmael Miller.
Wednesday made a change of their own when Chelsea loanee Ben Sahar came on for Burton O'Brien, and the Israeli international almost bagged his first goal in the blue and white stripes, only to see a close-range effort fall to him and slice the effort straight in to the hands of Kiely, as Wednesday's best chance of the match went begging.
The turning point of the game came on 78 minutes as the Owls were reduced to ten men in controversial style when Johnson was shown a straight red card following an altercation on the touchline with Jonathan Greening.
Andy D'Urso spoke with his linesman and decided to send Johnson off and only give Greening a booking, which resulted in heavy opposition from Laws and the rest of the Wednesday team.
West Brom controlled the remainder of the match as Wednesday sat back for a point, and James Morrison almost came close with a header which was well saved by Grant late on, but sub Kevin Phillips bagged the late, late winner to grab all three points for the visitors.
Full-Time: Wednesday 0-1 West Brom
Wednesday: Grant, Hinds, Beevers, Wood (c), Spurr, Johnson (sent off 78), Kavanagh, Bolder, O'Brien (Sahar 68), Showunmi, Tudgay. Unused subs: Burch, Wallwork, McAllister, Burton.
WBA: Kiely, Hoefkens, Robinson, Barnett, Koren, Greening (c), Gera, Albrechtsen, Brunt (Morrison 85), Bednar (Miller 64), Moore (Phillips 75). Unused subs: Danek, Martis.