Hartlepool 0-5 Wednesday
Victoria Park, Hartlepool
28/08/10 - 3pm
WEDNESDAY continued their unbeaten start to the League One season with a 5-0 rout of Hartlepool United at Victoria Park.
A Paul Murray own goal was followed by strikes from Giles Coke and Neil Mellor in the first-half before Marcus Tudgay struck a second-half penalty and Clinton Morrison added a fifth to ensure the Owls collected their first ever league win in Hartlepool and end the hosts' unbeaten start to their campaign.
The victory took Wednesday clear at the top of League One.
It was the Owls' most complete match of the season so far and will give Owls fans plenty of confidence of bouncing back to the Championship at the first attempt.
Owls boss Alan Irvine made six changes to the side that lost at Scunthorpe United in the Carling Cup in midweek.
Marcus Tudgay started despite interest from Blackpool, while Neil Mellor was also recalled to the attack, with Clinton Morrison and Paul Heffernan dropping to the bench.
Captain Darren Purse, Lewis Buxton and Tommy Spurr all returned to the Wednesday defence in place of Richard Hinds, Jon Otsemobor and Daniel Jones respectively.
And Giles Coke was also brought back into the starting eleven, with former 'Pool midfielder Tommy Miller having to settle for a place on the bench.
Wednesday had never won at Victoria Park going into the game but started in blistering fashion and almost took the lead when Coke saw his header cleared off the line from a Gary Teale corner.
But 'Pool issued an immediate response when Adam Boyd curled a long-range effort just wide of Nicky Weaver's goal.
The breakthrough came seven minutes in and it came in extraordinary fashion.
Neil Mellor broke superbly on the counter-attack and held off two defenders before drilling an intended ball in for Tudgay and seeing United's experienced midfielder Paul Murray blast the ball into the back of his own goal.
The Owls were in confident mood and they doubled their advantage just three minutes later.
Mellor was again at the heart of the build-up play and he linked superbly with Coke, who continued his excellent start to his Wednesday career by drilling home Wednesday's second.
The hosts looked understandably low in confidence following the set-back but still managed to create a few chances to get back into the game, with striker Boyd at the centre of their attacks.
But the Owls defence held firm and kept out all their hosts had to throw at them.
In contrast, the visitors looked capable of finding the back of the net in every attack and Mellor did just that when he drilled in Wednesday's third with just 24 minutes on the clock.
It was the loanee's third goal in four games for the Owls and the 3-0 scoreline was fully deserved as far as Wednesday were concerned.
Wednesday had rarely enjoyed a more comfortable opening since Alan Irvine had taken control earlier this year, and it was a welcome one for the sold-out away end of Wednesdayites who were in full voice throughout.
There was a dip in attacking play following the third Owls strike, with Wednesday happy to relax on their comfortable advantage while the hosts failed to trouble Weaver up to the interval.
Half-Time: Hartlepool 0-3 Wednesday
Wednesday didn't need to go forward in search of further goals on the resumption and the second-half duly failed to live up to the action-packed start to the first.
Tudgay did have the first real chance on the restart when he headed wide from a pin-point Tommy Spurr cross.
Hartlepool had to take some chances to find a way back into the game and although they enjoyed slightly more of the ball Nicky Weaver didn't really come under too much pressure in the Owls goal.
And with 'Pool pushing men forward, it meant Wednesday could counter-attack to really seal the three points and they almost did just that when Coke tried to put Mellor in for his second of the match, only for the final ball to be too strong.
Second-half substitute Fabian Yantorno did fire a warning shot to keep Nicky Weaver on his toes, the Owls stopper making a superb stop to turn the shot to safety after the hour mark.
Wednesday introduced James O'Connor in place of Gary Teale, with Irvine perhaps wary that an extra defensive body on the pitch would all-but seal the three points with just over 20 minutes to go.
The Owls had the chance of a fourth goal when 'Pool stopper Scott Flinders came racing out of his goal and brought Mellor crashing down after the striker had taken the ball round him and was ready to tap the ball into the net.
Flinders appealed against the decision but was given a yellow card for the challenge and he could do little to stop Tudgay firing in his second spot-kick from as many games.
Wednesday introduced Morrison for Mellor with 15 minutes to go, the PNE loanee getting a standing ovation from the travelling Wednesdayites for his efforts.
Former Hartlepool midfielder Miller also got his first run out of the season in place of the superb Coke.
And the substitutions did enough to kill the game in a positive way as far as Wednesday were concerned with neither side having too many clear-cut chances in the final ten minutes.
That was until substitute Morrison added a fifth in superb fashion with a looping strike from an acute angle to complete the Owls' five-star showing.
Full-Time: Hartlepool 0-5 Wednesday