Wednesday 2-1 Posh
23/01/10 - 3pm
ALAN Irvine made it three wins out of three as Owls boss as a brace from Marcus Tudgay gave Wednesday a crucial victory against rock-bottom side Peterborough United in the Championship.
Tudgay netted a goal in each half in the 'relegation six pointer' to give Irvine victory in his first home game in charge of Wednesday, although Jake Livermore's strike left Wednesdayites biting their finger nails for the last 15 minutes.
A crowd of almost 25,000 turned out for Irvine's first game in charge of the rejuvinated Owls at Hillsborough to witness Wednesday make it three wins on the spin for the first time since 2007.
Irvine made just one change to the side that saw off both Barnsley and Blackpool in the last week, with the injured Jermaine Johnson replaced by Leon Clarke, a scorer in midweek, in attack.
Luke Varney also returned to the Wednesday squad on the substitutes bench after returning to the club on loan until the end of the season from Derby County.
For Posh, it was simply a must win game if they're to stand any chance of survival, and a chance to bounce back from their disappointing 3-0 defeat against Derby last time out.
But, fresh on the back of successive victories, Wednesday made a bright start and looked in confident mood as they kept the visitors pegged back in their own half for the opening exchanges.
Clarke had the first chance on goal when he got on the end of a Michael Gray pass and saw his attempt saved by impressive Posh stopper Joe Lewis at the second attempt.
The Posh stopper showed just why he's so highly rated with a fine performance throughout the afternoon to keep the Wednesday attack out on more than one occasion with some impressive saves.
But he could do little to deny Wednesday with their next real effort on goal, and had the woodwork to thank when Darren Potter's powerful shot from the edge of the box came crashing back off the crossbar.
The Owls were looking comfortable against a Peterborough side short on confidence and short on players - their two first choice centre-backs were both suspended following their red cards last weekend.
But, to United's credit, they hit back almost immediately when they hit the crossbar at the other end just a minute later from former Rotherham United man Reuben Reid.
It was a rare dangerous attack by the visitors, mainly thanks to the impressive performance by the Wednesday defence - quite a rare occurrence for the home support.
Boss Irvine has made no secret that he and his troops have been working on their defensive efforts since his arrival at the club, and that was evident as Purse and Beevers enjoyed another top-drawer performance.
Buxton and Spurr too, both put in hugely improved performances, although there's still room for improvement, no doubt.
Purse was at the centre of the play when the former Cardiff man saw a powerful header turned behind by Lewis just a minute before the half-time interval.
And it was from the resulting corner that Wednesday found the breakthrough when Gray's good cross found Tudgay, who nodded his effort beyond Lewis and the Posh defenders to give the Owls the lead at just the right time.
Half-Time: Wednesday 1-0 Posh
The Owls were looking comfortable despite only holding a 1-0 lead at the interval, but Irvine will have been all too aware of the threats that the visitors could well pose for his men in the second half.
They showed an early sign of what they could do when new signing Izale McLeod headed wide minutes after the restart.
But, at the other end, Wednesday had not one but two golden opportunities to give themselves a more comfortable two goal cushion.
First, the impressive Clarke rounded the on-rushing Lewis, only to see his effort cleared off the line, before Gray then saw his follow-up effort also cleared off the line as Posh got lucky.
But the Owls did grab their deserved second not long after when Darren Potter's corner kick found Tudgay again well positioned to bag his, and Wednesday's, second goal of the game on 67 minutes.
The Owls looked home and dry but, in typical Wednesday fashion, they left the majority of the Hillsborough crowd biting their fingernails for the remaining 15 minutes when they allowed Posh in.
On-loan Livermore drilled home a 20-yard effort after pressure had been building on Lee Grant's goal, and the visitors were back in the game.
And the Wednesday goal had to live somewhat of a charmed life as half-chances continued to come and go for Peterborough, but thankfully Grant didn't have to pick the ball out of the goal again as the Owls clung on for three crucial points.
The victory lifts Wednesday another place higher in the table, above Scunthorpe United, ahead of another crunch clash against the Iron on Wednesday night.
The only negative Irvine will take is the late goal that was conceded by his men.
Full-Time: Wednesday 2-1 posh