Wednesday 2-1 QPR
08/03/08 - 15:00
Brian Laws' make or break double substitution helped Wednesday come from a goal behind against a rejuvenated QPR side and bag a vital three points in the battle against the drop at a rain-soaked Hillsborough.
The Owls were being met with a chorus of booing for the majority of the first half, in which they played some of their worst football of the season, but the double switch of Deon Burton and Sean McAllister on for Enoch Showunmi and Ronnie Wallwork respectively re-kindled in the Owls' players to inspire them to a much-needed victory.
Wednesday were still reeling from the controversial 1-0 defeat to promotion-hopefuls West Brom in midweek and it was clear to see in the opening exchanges.
Laws included new loan signing Frank Songo'o in the starting eleven to replace Jermaine Johnson - suspended for four matches for his midweek red card - while Ronnie Wallwork came in to the midfield to replace the suspended Adam Bolder.
Both teams observed a minutes' applause for former Owls legend Derek Dooley before the match.
And it was Wednesday who made the brighter start to the match as Showunmi tested QPR stopper Camp with a long-range header while Graham Kavanagh also launched a low effort goalbound as the Owls' got off to a positive start.
Frank Songo'o put in a superb first-time cross dangerously across the face of goal but his team-mates were slow to react and the danger was cleared by the visitors, although the Owls faithful were happy with the opening.
But from then on Rangers took control, playing some nice football before Rowan Vine raced away to give Damien Delaney the chance to open the scoring on 15 minutes.
The goal visibly deflated Wednesday and the hosts struggled to string two passes together for a long spell in the first half as Rangers came closer and close to extending their lead and putting Wednesday in even more relegation worries.
Patrick Agyemang almost doubled the visitors lead, with the pitch not helping as he turned Beevers before toe-poking an effort against the woodwork to the relief of the Wednesday defence.
The Owls' faithful started to get frustrated with the poor passing and determination on show from their charges but Enoch Showunmi almost got a leveller against the run-of play after being put through on goal but he couldn't beat his marker for pace and the danger was cleared.
But the turning point came on 40 minutes when Laws made a brave double sub with Showunmi and Wallwork being replaced by Burton and McAllister respectively, and the changes immediately gave the hosts a boost.
But it was Songo'o who carved out a neat flick to put Kavanagh through on goal for him to head the ball over Camp and in to the back of the net to give the Owls the vital breakthrough just minutes before the break.
Half-Time: Wednesday 1-1 QPR
Instead of a chorus of booing greeting the Owls when they came off at the break, a round of applause met them, and the renewed confidence was there for all to see on the restart.
But it was the Owls' number one who had to be at the top of his game on the restart as Agyemang saw an effort from a tight angle well deflected to safety by Grant.
The decisive moment came just six minutes after the restart as Camp saved Tudgay's header but let the ball from his grasp in to the path of McAllister who darted in to the box and was felled by the QPR stopper with the referee pointing at the spot.
And the super-sub duo was complete as Burton took control of the ball, placed it on the spot, and calmly slotted the ball in to the back of the net to give the Owls an advantage they were to never let slip.
The goals gave Wednesday fresh confidence and they looked a different side in the second half as they looked in control of the clash and had the better chances to extend their lead and make the game safe.
Kavanagh went close for Wednesday with a free-kick before the confidence came through Tudgay with a superb long-range effort which drifted just over the bar after the Owls' hitman spotted Camp off his line.
The best chance for the visitors went to former Wednesday target Dexter Blackstock, who saw his close range effort brilliantly saved by the in-form Grant.
Songo'o had a superb free-kick whistle by the post late on as Wednesday looked to put the icing on the cake, and the new loanee was subject of some rash challenges late on from the visitors, which saw sub Hogan Ephraim sent off for a dangerous challenge, while the Rangers bench disgraced themselves as the final whistle blew following further bad challenges on the Owls' winger.
Full-Time: Wednesday 2-1 QPR
Wednesday: Grant; Hinds, Beevers, Wood, Spurr; Songo'o, Wallwork (McAllister 39), Kavanagh, Small (O'Brein 90); Showunmi (Burton 39), Tudgay. Unused substitutes: Burch, Boden.
QPR: Camp; Delaney, Stewart, Mancienne, Connolly; Buzsaky (Balanta 75), Leigertwood (Mahon 66), Rowlands, Vine (Ephraim 63); Agyemang, Blackstock. Unused substitutes: Pickens, Rehman.