Wednesday 2-1 Notts County
1/9/10 - 7.45pm
A BRACE of James O'Connor strikes helped Wednesday book their place in the second round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy thanks to a 2-1 victory against Notts County at Hillsborough.
O'Connor struck both goals inside the first 16 minutes as Wednesday continued where they left off against Hartlepool United at the weekend.
Ben Davies pulled a goal back from a free-kick for the visitors but it wasn't enough as the Owls comfortably held on for their fourth victory from as many games at Hillsborough so far this season.
Owls boss Alan Irvine had blasted the competition rules regarding the number of regular first team players clubs must use in the competition.
And he rung the changes for the clash, with Jon Otsemobor and Daniel Jones coming into the defence at the expense of Lewis Buxton and Tommy Spurr respectively.
O'Connor was also brought into the midfield for Giles Coke, while Clinton Morrison started in attack alongside Marcus Tudgay as Neil Mellor dropped to the bench.
It was a much-changed Owls side to the one that saw off Hartlepool 5-0 on Saturday but Wednesday hit the ground running and the enjoyed the perfect start with the opener inside two minutes.
It was Wednesday's first attack on the County goal when Gary Teale's cross was put back into the danger zone by Chris Sedgwick and O'Connor was on-hand to smash in the opener.
It was a superb start for Wednesday and the visitors tried to get back into the clash but saw long-range efforts from Davies and former Burnley man John Spicer fail to trouble Wednesday stopper Nicky Weaver.
Former Owl Rob Burch was between the sticks at the other end but he was having a more troublesome day and was picking the ball out his net again just over ten minutes later.
It was O'Connor again finding the back of the net. this time getting on the end of an Otsemobor ball to bury a low effort by Burch to double the Owls' advantage.
Wednesday were soaring with confidence and continued to pour dangerous attacks on to the County goal, which bore a charmed life for much of the first half.
But County showed their comeback skills against Bournemouth at the weekend - they rescued a point from being 3-0 down - and they got back into the game when Ben Davies struck a neat free-kick beyond Weaver and into the back of the net.
It didn't change the flow of the game too much, with the Owls continuing to dominate long spells with their attacking play, Marcus Tudgay twice coming close.
County had some chances of their own before the interval and could have well found themselves on level terms at half-time had they enjoyed some better finishing in front of goal, but Wednesday deserved their lead on the balance of play.
Half-Time: Wednesday 2-1 Notts County
The game tightened up somewhat on the resumption, with both sides a little more cautious in their approach play.
An injury to Chris Sedgwick just before half-time saw Tommy Miller come into the action in midfield.
But it was County who enjoyed slightly more of the play on the restart as they looked for as way back into the game.
They did so without troubling Nicky Weaver too much though, and it was actually the hosts that should have netted the next goal to take a step closer to progression in the competition.
Daniel Jones swung in a superb free-kick which Tudgay met with his head, beating Burch but not beating the woodwork as it came crashing down on the line and cleared to safety.
County boss Craig Short had introduced Craig Westcarr in the second-half and he looked the most dangerous County player on the pitch with a number of half-chances.
He tested Weaver with a stinging drive late-on but Wednesday were quite comfortable in hanging on to their lead, and O'Connor could, and probably should, have completed his hat-trick with two good efforts late on.
It wasn't to be for the Owls midfielder but it was job done on the night for Alan Irvine and his men, and a place in the next round of the JPT.
Full-Time: Wednesday 2-1 Notts County