Wednesday 0-2 Reading
05/12/09 - 3pm
The future of Wednesday boss Brian Laws fell further into question as the Owls fell to yet another crippling home defeat - this time against fellow strugglers Reading at Hillsborough.
As if things weren't bad enough for the Owls, defeat against a side struggling below them on home soil left Wednesdayites wondering just whether they're side will be playing in the Championship or League 1 based on this dour performance.
It was another no-show from the lacklustre Owls, as another poor side in Reading, who now find themselves above Wednesday, show to a comfortable win thanks to goals from Grzegorz Rasiak Kalifa Cisse shot them to a vital win.
The defeat was Wednesday's fourth on the spin on home soil - and what was a relative 'fortress' last season, and the reaction from fans following the final whistle showed the disapproval of the man at the helm.
Changes needed to be made following last weekend's thrashing at the hands of West Brom, and they were - but they had little impact on the performance on the pitch.
Despite Laws hauling Tommy Spurr off last weekend, he kept his place in the back four as Frank Simek got the chop and Lewis Buxton filled in at right-back, leaving Mark Beevers to return to the centre of the defence alongside Richard Hinds.
Etienne Esajas was also recalled to the midfield in place of Jermaine Johnson, while Luke Varney replaced Leon Clarke in attack.
There was still no sign of loan duo Warren Feeney or Tom Soares in the starting eleven, although Feeney did manage a brief showing in the second half, when it was too little too late.
The dropping of Johnson will also be called into question, with the Owls looking lacklustre in the attacking department, and no outlet player to run at the Reading defence - something Esajas should of done but failed.
Both sides came into the game on the back of defeats - Reading fell to a 2-1 loss at Derby last time out - although the visitors had the better form in their last five matches.
Indeed, that was there to show in an opening 45 minutes which will have left the majority of the 22,000 inside S6 questioning whether to renew their season tickets next term - something which was advertised on the free cardboard clappers that were given away to supporters.
And to the Wednesdayites' credit, they did try to cheer their team on when the eleven men on the pitch were doing little to make for a good atmosphere inside Hillsborough.
It was a scrappy affair, with long balls forward doing little to trouble either goalkeeper, and a goalless draw looking the most likely outcome from a first half that created little.
If anything, Reading shaded the game in the first half and carved out the better, if only half, chances in front of goal.
Jobi McAnuff was highlighted as the danger-man by Vital going into the game, and he proved more than a handful for the Owls defence as he was sent racing through on goal only for Beevers to make a fine last-ditch tackle to stop him in his tracks.
Gylfi Sigurdsson also came close for the visitors with a free-kick which zipped inches wide of goal.
At the other end, there was little to cheer for the home support as the Wednesday midfield, with James O'Connor taking the captain's armband, creating little in the way of chances.
The second half needed something to liven up affairs, with a stalemate doing no good for either side, and it got just that - albeit from a Reading point of view.
Instead of trying to take the game to the visitors, Wednesday just came out in the second half and carried on where they left off - doing little to try and win the game - and it played straight into Reading's hands.
The Owls had a warning sign when Rasiak connected poorly with a cross and headed an effort over the bar when he should have done better after the restart.
But although getting no younger, a player with the finishing ability of Rasiak won't miss too many chances, and he made Laws' men pay not long after with the opening goal.
The first strike was always going to prove decisive, and it came when McAnuff provided an inch-perfect cross for the former Derby and Southampton man to slot by Grant from six yards.
The game needed the goal, and it created chances for both sides as Spurr sent a low effort harmlessly wide and Rasiak again came close to doubling his tally for the afternoon.
The best chance of the game for Wednesday came just before the hour mark when Varney turned and shot from just inside the box, but the post came to Reading's rescue and the ball went to safety.
It was a big moment for Wednesday, and the miss proved costly as the Royals went straight down the other end to all-but seal the three points.
It came from the creativity of McAnuff again, creativity Brian Laws would crave for, as he provided Cisse with an easy effort to make it 2-0 to the visitors and game, set and match.
Law tried to change it with Warren Feeney making his debut for the Owls, while Leon Clarke and Johnson also came into the fray.
But it changed little, and Wednesday failed to even push Reading for their victory in a rain-soaked Hillsborough, as Laws is left with the huge job of lifting his men for a big South Yorkshire derby clash with Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night.