Wednesday 1-3 Middlesbrough
15/09/09 - 7.45pm
Individual errors cost Wednesday as they let a 1-0 lead slip to fall to their first home defeat of the Championship season against Gareth Southgate's Middlesbrough stars on Tuesday night.
Wednesday proved a match for the visitors and took an early lead when Luke Varney fired in a superb opener to open his Owls account, but a Darren Purse own goal, followed by a slack Richard Hinds pass to allow Jeremie Aliadiere in for Boro's second gave the visitors the points.
Adam Johnson, a thorn in Wednesday's side throughout, rubbed salt in the wounds with a late third to tie the game up for Boro, who went top of the table as the result of their victory.
Wednesday boss Brian Laws made just the one change to the side that drew with Nottingham Forest at the weekend, despite threats to tinker with the side ahead of the Steel City derby clash on Friday.
And it was forced, Richard Wood missing out through injury to be replaced by Mark Beevers at the heart of the Wednesday defence.
The Owls started brightly against a Boro side desperate for victory to go top of the table following their 3-1 success against Ipswich Town at the weekend, and they took the lead just minutes in.
Loan star Varney, who's enjoyed a good start to his second loan spell in the blue and white, was sent free down the left and he twisted and turned his way towards goal before unleashing an unstoppable effort beyond 'keeper Coyne and in off the crossbar for advantage Wednesday.
It was stark contrast to Forest's early opener on Saturday and the early quick tempo set for an entertaining first half.
Without wanting to copy the sitting back routine of Forest at the weekend after their early opener, Wednesday continued to push forward in search of goals, while Boro looked just as threatening on the break.
The visitors had lost just once coming into the match, and their attacking threat, led by the impressive Johnson, was there for the majority of the Hillsborough crowd to see in the early exchanges.
Vital earmarked Johnson as the danger-man coming into the game and he certainly proved to be, giving Owls' right-back Lewis Buxton a torrid time all night.
But, at the other end, it was Wednesday who continued to create the better chances in front of goal, and unfortunate slip by a visiting defender giving Tudgay more time than he realised when unleashing a tame, low effort straight at Hines minutes later.
Boro slowly got back into proceedings, Marvin Emnes firing the first real chance at Grant, which he gathered at the second attempt, before they got on terms in a way that they certainly wouldn't have been expecting, but would take nevertheless.
Johnson had switched back to the right side of midfield and his in-swinging cross gave the Wednesday defence all kinds of problems, especially captain Purse who stuck his head out and glanced the ball on and beyond Grant and into the back of the net on 18 minutes.
The goal lifted Southgate's men but although enjoying a lot of possession around the box, Grant didn't have too much hard work to do against the impressive attacking play from the visitors.
The chances dried up, and Owls boss Laws had cause for concern with the minutes ticking away as Mark Beevers was taken off in what looked like a serious injury following a collision with Grant, Richard Hinds coming on to replace him.
Despite Richard O'Donnell warming up at half-time, Grant resumed in between the sticks despite what looked like a bad injury to the ribs, but he could do little to stop Boro's second just four minutes after the resumption.
Laws will no doubt have asked for cool heads on the restart, and not to give anything silly away early doors, but that's exactly what Hinds did as Aliadiere took full advantage of a lack of communication from the Wednesday backline.
A free-kick, which looked comfortable at the back, was hit by Hinds for Gray, but instead Emnes picked the ball up and his inch-perfect pass picked the former Arsenal man up and he made no mistake with his powerful drive by Grant to turn the game on its head.
It was always going to be hard for Wednesday following their early set-back, with confidence battered, but to their credit they remained in the game and always looked like they could grab something from the clash.
They did have to resist some stern pressure following the goal, Hines seeing a header from a corner brilliantly saved by Grant to keep the hosts in the game early in the second half.
The visitors then seemed content to sit back on their advantage, and while Wednesday did enjoy more in the way of possession, they rarely threatened Coyne, and the Owls crowd quickly became frustrated.
Leon Clarke was introduced for his first appearance of the league campaign as Laws looked to freshen things up and offer some more strength in attack, while Sean McAllister was also introduced, Michael Gray and Tommy Miller making way respectively.
And Clarke did spring some life in to the attack, his aerial ability causing the visitors new problems, resulting in a foul in a dangerous position but which Potter wasted.
The tempo died down, much to suit the visitors, and neither side managed to create many clear-cut chances in the final 20 minutes, that was until Johnson got free to fire home Boro's third and see the Hillsborough faithful head for the exits while Boro celebrated moving second in the Championship.
Full-Time: Wednesday 1-3 Boro
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