Wednesday 3-1 Cardiff
26/09/09 - 3pm
Wednesday bounced back from their derby day defeat across the city last week to pick up three vital points in an entertaining clash with Cardiff City at a sun-drenched Hillsborough.
It was the Etienne Esajas show, with the Dutchman opening the scoring with a superb free-kick before setting up goals for Luke Varney and Leon Clarke in a man-of-the-match performance.
Peter Whittingham replied for the visitors from the spot to level the game up in the first, but the Owls ran out deserved winners as they bagged their first win in four matches.
Esajas was drafted in on the left wing to replace Jermaine Johnson, who was so disappointing in the Steel City derby clash, but Laws stuck with the same side that took to the Bramall Lane pitch eight days ago, Marcus Tudgay passing a late fitness test with a neck problem.
Cardiff arrived at Hillsborough looking to end a bad run of results after an impressive start to the season, but it was Wednesday that looked the brightest in the early exchanges.
It took just four minutes for the Owls to break the deadlock, and it came from the left foot of Esajas.
Finding the back of the net in sensational style at Bramall Lane last time out, Esajas almost matched that with a free-kick that looped over the Cardiff wall and found the back of the net via the post after just four minutes.
Wednesday continued to push forward and looked the better of the two sides, Varney coming close to doubling the hosts' lead only for his thumping effort to come back off the foot of the post.
Cardiff rarely threatened at the other end, but with the quality of player in their attack, it always seemed like they could cause problems.
And it was the pace of Michael Chopra that got them back into the game, running through on goal, with his touch beating the on-rushing Lee Grant to the ball, leaving the Owls stopper bringing the visitors' dangerman down inside the box.
Despite the protests from Grant, the referee pointed towards the spot and Whittingham gave him no chance with a powerful effort in Grant's bottom left hand corner after 15 minutes.
As has been the case throughout the campaign so far, Wednesday seemed to panic after conceding the goal and allowed Cardiff to take the ascendancy, despite the hosts controlling much of the opening exchanges.
The game could have been turned on its head had the assistant referee not ruled out a superb Chopra lob over Grant, deeming the former Newcastle United man offside.
The visitors were rueing their luck, and Mark Kennedy then had another effort adjudged offside when he ended a fine move from Dave Jones' men by finding the back of the net from point blank range.
But the spell, in the latter stages of the first half, was the best the visitors had to offer, as Wednesday came out in the second half all guns blazing.
Wednesday made a quick start to the first half and it was a case of more of the same in the second 45 as Esajas and Varney linked well to provide the Owls with their second goal just two minutes after the resumption.
Esajas found some space down the left and produced a pin-point cross for the head of Varney, who cushioned his header by City stopper David Marshall in front of the Kop.
Wednesday were now on top, and the hosts were keen not to let their lead slip yet again.
Marcus Tudgay was taken off as a precaution not long after, with Leon Clarke coming on to replace him.
And Clarke, on the comeback from injury, almost made an instant impact when he found himself racing through on goal after beating the off-side trap, before blasting a powerful effort which came crashing back off the woodwork.
Clarke was proving a real handful in attack and, if anything, made the Owls' frontline more dangerous as it looked more likely that Wednesday, not Cardiff, were going to find the next goal.
Wednesday's task was made easier for the final 15 minutes when Joe Ledley was sent off for a second bookable offence to put City down to ten men.
A number of chances fell Wednesday's way before they made the game safe, Esajas again being at the centre of the action when another superb cross found Clarke at the back post, and the Owls forward made no mistake with a powerful effort to make it 3-1.
Wednesday brought on Johnson and Akpo Sodje late on, and both made good contributions to the game, but couldn't add to the scoreline as Wednesday put the derby defeat firmly to bed.
Full-Time: Wednesday 3-1 Cardiff