Date:Sunday December 20 2009
19/12/09 - 3pm
Another day, another defeat for Wednesday, as Sean McAuley's first game in charge as caretaker manager ended with a familiar defeat at home to on-song Swansea City on Saturday.
The Owls showed brief spells of improvement, but brief there were as Swansea eased by an Owls side that has stretched its winless run to ten games in the Championship.
Darren Pratley's double was the difference between the two sides on a freezing afternoon at Hillsborough, to leave Wednesdayites with anything but Christmas cheer.
The wholesale changes that many thought McAuley would make going into the game never materialised, with the caretaker boss sticking with the same eleven that were so poor at Leicester City last time out - the same eleven that cost Brian Laws his job.
Francis Jeffers did return to the bench, and came on to feature in the second half, but McAuley's presence on the touchline failed to have the same impact it had last time out.
The Owls would have taken any kind of win from this game - scrappy, free-flowing football, anything.
To do that, McAuley will have no doubt told them not to allow the Welsh visitors an early goal, something which could well have battered the already frail confidence of the Wednesday side.
It was even for the opening exchanges, but with Swansea's first real attack of the game, Wednesday's confidence-sapped defence showed just why the next manager's appointment needs to be spot on to help the Owls avoid relegation to League 1.
The Swans attackers ripped through the defence and put Pratley in to launch a neat flick over the on-rushing Lee Grant and into the back of the net to give the small band of visitors some early festive cheer.
McAuley had been talking about instilling some believe into the Wednesday squad in the week leading up to the game, something that's definitely been missing in recent weeks.
But the goal seemed to knock any of that belief out of them as Swansea's counter-attacking ability, especially through the jet-heeled Nathan Dyer, more than suited the conditions.
But to Wednesday's credit, they didn't throw in the towel, and thanks to some backing from the 18,000-plus brave souls inside S6, they worked their way back into the game.
It was Wednesday's best spell of the match, but they couldn't break their long spell without a goal as the chances came and went.
You know what they say, when you're down at the bottom some things just don't go for you, and they certainly weren't for a Wednesday side who were showing more spirit and desire in a brief ten minute spell than in the last five matches combined.
Things were sparking into life by Jermaine Johnson, who came inside and drilled a powerful shot straight at Cardiff stopper Dorus De Vries, before the latter then produced the save of the match to deny Darren Purse from the resulting corner kick.
The efforts lifted the home crowd, and Wednesday were pushing for an equaliser when Marcus Tudgay came close to connecting with a Tommy Spurr cross, but it was just inches too far away to make contact.
The Owls always had to be wary of the visitors' counter-attacking threat though, and they were made to pay for their missed chances just ten minutes before the break when City grabbed their second of the match.
Dyer burst through the Wednesday defence and zipped a low cross across the face of goal for Pratley to steer home his second of the match in front of the visitors supporters and leave Wednesdayites wondering just where the next points were going to come from.
Half-Time: Wednesday 0-2 Swansea
McAuley needed to make changes at the break and he did, introducing Jeffers in place of the hard-working Sean McAllister at the start of the second half.
Swansea's tactics were set out, with them looking comfortable in defence, and threatening in attack.
It was to work to their favour, with Wednesday desperately looking for a way through the visiting defence for a way back into the game.
But as the hosts continued to push forward and command the majority of the ball, they left De Vries in the Swansea goal relatively untroubled.
In fact, for all Wednesday's possession, they didn't cause the Swansea goalkeeper any trouble at all until just after the hour mark when Purse rose high to glance a header just wide of goal.
The re-called Frank Simek came on to replace Lewis Buxton, who had another nightmare at right-back, while Luke Varney was also brought on to try and change the Owls' fortunes in attack, with Johnson making way.
The on-loan Tom Soares still had to settle for a place as an unused substitute, while fellow loan player Warren Feeney wasn't even included in the squad.
And as the fans started to pour out of Hillsborough as early as the 70th minute, Wednesday's threat came to an end as Swansea comfortably held on for three points which keep them in the play-off places, and leave Wednesday three points adrift of safety.
Bring on Newcastle eh?
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Date:Sunday December 20 2009
|Sheff Wed||0||-||1||Derby County|
|12. Leeds Utd||32||12||8||12||4||44|
|15. Sheff Wed||32||9||12||11||1||39|
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