Wednesday 2-0 Watford
13/09/08 - 3pm
Goals from Marcus Tudgay and Tommy Spurr helped Wednesday keep their early unbeaten record at home in the league in tact and move them up to fifth with a comfortable victory over a lacklustre Watford side.
Tudgay was on the end of a goalmouth scramble to power the ball by Mart Poom after 22 minutes before Spurr linked superbly with Etienne Esajas ten minutes in to the second half to fire a low effort in to the back of the net and bag all three points for Wednesday.
And it could have been more, against a poor-looking Watford side that failed to show anything of last season's form which helped them in to the Championship play-off spots.
Owls' boss Brian Laws was forced in to a number of changes ahead of the clash with the news that Mark Beevers missed out through injury, leaving Peter Gilbert to return to left-back and Spurr to move in to the centre of defence alongside Richard Wood, who kept the captain's armband despite the media revealing he had a transfer request turned down last week.
Jermaine Johnson took on the responsibility of the lead striker in a three-man attack, Marcus Tudgay and Etienne Esajas providing the support, while Sean McAllister, James O'Connor and Steve Watson made up the three-man midfield.
But the change in personnel and formation for the Owls brought little in the way of chances and flowing football as both sides struggled to get a hold of the game in a scrappy opening from both Wednesday and the Hornets.
Aidy Boothroyd's men had lost their tag of 'hoofballers' in their opening fixtures of the season, with some attractive football coming from the Vicarage Road men in their previous matches, although that wasn't visible to the 17,066 crowd inside Hillsborough - incidentally, the lowest at S6 in six years.
Wednesday finally clicked in to gear and tested Mart Poom for the first time when Etienne Esajas had a snap shot on goal, and it was the same man who caused the Hornets all kinds of problems minutes later when he weaved his way through the Watford defence only to be hacked down on the edge of the box - Tony McMahon flashing the resulting free-kick off-target.
But chances continued to be few and very far between, with Lee Grant a spectator for much of the first half as Watford struggled to carve out anything in the way of chances to trouble the Owls' number one.
But when the next chance did come - Tudgay wasted no time in bagging his third of the season and giving Wednesday the advantage in a match they were edging as he fired home from close range.
It came in typically sloppy fashion as a long McMahon throw-in caused havoc inside the Watford box, with the Hornets' defence, including former Owl and Blade Leigh Bromby, failing to clear their lines and Tudgay lashing the ball home from six-yards out.
The only chance that the visitors did manage was from a Lee Williamson free-kick after Richard Wood was cautioned for a poor challenge on the Watford attacker on the stroke of half-time.
But, as with most of the match, Grant only had to watch as the former Rotherham United midfielder sent his effort way over the bar and in to the Wednesday fans behind the goal in the Kop.
Half-Time: Wednesday 1-0 Watford
The game had been anything but a spectacle for the fans of both sides inside Hillsborough in the first 45 minutes but the fans and players alike will have been more than happy with the way the game was going.
The only thing Wednesday did know was that their visitors couldn't have been as bad in the second half, and they showed a marked improvement in the second half, but still couldn't break down the stubborn Wednesday defence.
Grant's biggest test of the match came as Jobi McAnuff was left free to dart inside the box and fire a powerful effort which went straight at Grant, and the Owls' stopper managed to divert the danger to safety.
But Watford's task was made even harder just ten minutes in to the restart when Spurr linked brilliantly with Esajas for the move of the match to double Wednesday's advantage and all but seal the three points.
Spurr came roaring down the left flank and exchanged a neat one-two with Esajas before powering his way in to the box and firing a low effort by Poom on 55 minutes to bag his second career goal for the club.
The youngster is making a name for himself with goals - his last, and first, a blockbuster of an effort against Plymouth last season which won the Wednesday goal of the season gong.
The goal all-but ended Watford's hopes and gave Wednesday a new confidence which could, and probably should, have seen them take all three points by more than just the two goals as Boothroyd's troops became increasingly frustrated.
Wood almost capped off a fine performance under pressure, and put the icing on the cake, but he could only see his effort stopped by Poom when he got on the end of a deep O'Connor corner, while Esajas also saw an effort go high and wide.
Full-Time: Wednesday 2-0 Watford
Wednesday: Grant, McMahon, Spurr, Wood, Gilbert, McAllister (Burton 76), O'Connor, Watson, Esajas (Small 85), Johnson (Clarke 85), Tudgay. Unused substitutes: O'Donnell, Smith.
Watford: Poom, Bromby, DeMerit, Eustace, Harley, Doyley, Williamson, O'Toole (Hoskins 64), McAnuff (Ainsworth 82), Priskin, Smith. Unused substitutes: Loach, Bangura, Mariappa.