Wednesday 1-0 Bury
10/8/10 - 7.45pm
GILES Coke added some fizz to an otherwise lacklustre Wednesday performance with a second-half strike which saw the Owls through to the second round of the Carling Cup thanks to a 1-0 win against Bury.
The League Two Shakers more than matched the Owls in the first half and could argue that they deserved to be ahead given the chances they created in front of goal.
But the visitors, despite their best efforts, couldn't find the back of the net and an improved Owls second-half showing, aided by the introduction of Clinton Morrison and Coke, put them through in tense fashion.
It'll be another result Wedesdayites, and boss Alan Irvine, will take early on in the new season - especially with another clean sheet - but improved performances over the full 90 minutes will be required in the coming weeks and months if Wednesday are to achieve promotion.
Irvine did ring the changes following Saturday's 2-0 victory against Dag & Red, making six changes for the visit of Alan Knill's men.
The introduction of Jon Otsemobor in place of Lewis Buxton was the only change in the back four, but Daniel Jones, Darren Potter and youngster Liam Palmer got the nod in midfield and Neil Mellor and Paul Heffernan both got their first starts in attack.
Morrison, Coke, O'Connor, Sedgwick and Tudgay were the other players to miss out.
Wednesday will have been to get off to a positive start following Saturday's win but the match started off in almost disastrous fashion for the Owls.
Just over a minute had elapsed before Bury had the ball in the back of the net, but to the relief of the 7,000-plus inside S6 the goal was chalked off for offside ruled on Andy Bishop.
Bishop, along with the rest of his Bury team-mates, was certainly up for the match, more so than the Owls it seemed in the first 45 minutes as Bury looked to be in the higher division of the two teams.
Worryingly, despite the six changes, Wednesday had continued where they'd left off at the weekend - sitting back and not really taking the game to their lower division opposition.
The game had an almost 'friendly' match feel to it, with Wednesday having no urgency in their play, losing the ball too easily and rarely threatening the Bury goal - indeed, the hosts didn't even have a shot on target in the first-half.
The Shakers looked the hungrier of the two sides and the Owls had another let off, again it was Bishop who got on the end of a neat through-ball but saw the commanding shape of Weaver dash off his line to thwart the hitman.
Wednesday tried to fashion a response and tried to get back into the game but just as they looked to be putting a good move together it collapsed at the key ball.
Owls fans were pleased to see hot prospect Liam Palmer in the starting eleven and although the midfielder didn't really shine - he wasn't the only one in blue and white - there were plenty of positives to take from his experience.
It says a lot when Owls skipper Darren Purse was arguably Wednesday's man-of-the-match in the first-half, providing a cool head at the back when Bury were having more of the play in the final third.
Wednesday's first chance of the match, and arguably the best of the first-half, came when Gary Teale produced a fine cross for Mellor, who controlled the ball but smashed his effort over the crossbar.
Teale and Daniel Jones both looked dangerous when on the ball and in good crossing positions, but neither were given too many opportunities to show just what they can do.
Bury will have gone into half-time wondering just what they had to do to score as Bishop again broke free of his marker to unleash a bending effort over the bar.
Half-Time: Wednesday 0-0 Bury
Wednesday needed a big change in mentality in the second-half and Irvine looked to do just that by bringing on Morrison and Coke, who replaced rthe quiet Heffernan and Jones.
It almost immediately had the desired effect as Wednesday surged forward in the opening exchanges of the second half and showed more about their play in the first ten minutes after the break than they had in the entire first half.
And the reward came just after the hour mark through substitute Coke.
Denied a goal on Saturday due to his deflected effort being given as an own goal, Coke wasn't to be denied this time around as he played a neat one-two and fired his effort into the bottom corner to break the deadlock.
The effort lifted some of the tension around S6 but it wasn't job done - far from it as far as the visitors were concerned.
Wednesday had the upper hand and the goal visibly lifted them, but Bury were still in the game and still causing plenty of problems for the Owls defence to cope with - a second was needed to really settle the nerves.
Wednesday almost put the ball in their own net but Weaver was alert to save their blushes, while that man Bishop smashed an effort against the woodwork - something which Weaver couldn't have got close to had it ben an inch lower.
Wednesday were living dangerously but they survived - and could have made things easier had Tommy Spurr's free-kick also gone a few inches lower when smashing back off the crossbar following a foul on Mellor at the edge of the box.
Again, it's a case of job done. Another clean sheet, another win, and through to the next round of the competition.
Full-Time: Wednesday 1-0 Bury
Wednesday: Weaver, Otsemobor, Purse, Beevers, Spurr, Teale, Palmer (O'Connor 64), Potter, Jones (Coke 46), Heffernan (Morrison 46), Mellor. Substitutes: Jameson, Buxton, Hinds, Boden.
Bury: Belford, Picken, Skarz, Lees, Sweeney (Worrall 85), Schumacher, Bishop (Carson 76), Howarth, Jones, Lowe (John-Lewis 76), Sodje. Substitutes: Branagan, Worrall, Bennett, Jones, Rothwell.