Port Vale 2-0 Wednesday
25/08/09 - 7.45pm
A MUCH-changed Wednesday side put in a dire performance as they crashed out of the Carling Cup at the second round stage against League Two side Port Vale on Tuesday night.
Goals from Kris Taylor and Rob Taylor were enough to see Micky Adams men progress, after Francis Jeffers had been sent off for an off-the-ball incident in the first-half to leave the Owls up against it.
Boss Brian Laws, keen to progress in the competition and take the League Cup 'seriously', made seven changes to the side that beat Scunthorpe 4-0 on Saturday.
Frank Simek, Richard Hinds and Mark Beevers were all brought into the defence, while Tommy Miller was given a start in the midfield alongside Etienne Esajas and Sean McAllister, and Jeffers was given the nod alongside Marcus Tudgay in attack.
Former Vale man Akpo Sodje was also included on the bench as the Owls looked to do what Sheffield United couldn't - Vale had already seen off the Blades at Bramall Lane in the first round.
Wednesday had an impressive travelling army at Vale Park, but they were badly let down by what they were about to see in front of them.
Vale dominated from the start, and showed just what they were about to do to Laws' men in the opening exchanges as they came racing out of the traps and forced Wednesday onto the back foot.
The hosts made all the early running, and although not threatening Owls' stopper Lee Grant early on, the Vale attackers gave the new-look Wednesday defence all kinds of problems.
Wednesday, on the back of their impressive 4-0 success over the Iron, struggled to get into gear, although Tommy Miller, captain for the day in the absence of Darren Purse and Richard Wood, had the visitors' first shot on goal which was comfortably saved.
Vale looked dangerous equally in open play and from set-pieces, and it was John McCombe who came close for the hosts from a set-piece which he headed just over the bar from close range.
Rob Taylor and Esajas both had long-range efforts which failed to trouble either goalkeepers as chances came few and far between.
But as the half progressed it was the hosts who started to look the more likely to break the deadlock, with chances falling to Wednesday-fan and former Leicester man Louis Dodds and Adam Yates.
And the Owls task was made even tougher just after the half hour mark when Jeffers was dismissed with a straight red card.
The former Arsenal and Everton man, who's struggled for form in the blue and white, was dismissed for violent conduct for a challenge that went un-noticed for most of the 6,000-plus crowd inside the ground.
Wednesday needed to make changes on the resumption, and Laws brought Jermaine Johnson and Sodje on in place of Esajas and McAllister respectively as he looked for more creativity in attack, despite having just ten men.
And for the early part of the second half, Wednesday looked better, with Vale stopper Chris Martin having to save from Sodje and Tudgay early on after the restart.
The game evened out as the hour mark approached, and although the hosts were still slightly on top in the encounter, Wednesday were very much still in the game.
That was until Kris Taylor popped up with a superb effort from 25-yards out with gave Grant no chance as it flew into the top corner to give Vale the lead, and a lead they were never to relinquish.
It rattled Wednesday, and Vale doubled their lead just two minutes later to secure their progression into the next round.
Dodds broke free and supplied a fine ball for Rob Taylor to turn the ball into the back of the net from the edge of the six-yard box to make it 2-0 and send Wednesday all-but crashing out of the cup.
Laws seemingly gave up on the clash, bringing James O'Connor into the centre of midfield at the expense of Miller, Tommy Spurr taking the captain's armband.
And the young left-back was one of the very few players who could leave the clash with his head held high.
Wednesday failed to really trouble the Vale defence, and the hosts' progression was never in doubt as lacklustre Wednesday limped out in disappointing fashion, especially for the near-2000 travelling support.
Full-Time: Port Vale 2-0 Wednesday