Notts County 0-2 Wednesday
Meadow Lane, Nottingham
02/10/10 - 3pm
Wednesday ended their slump of five games without a win as goals from Marcus Tudgay and Darren Potter gave them three vital points at in-form Notts County.
Alan Irvine's men had shown signs of their recovery by stopping a four-game losing streak with a 0-0 stalemate against Oldham Athletic at Hillsborough in midweek.
And they completed their turnaround with a comprehensive victory at Meadow Lane, something which Owls fans will hope will mark the start of a climb back up the npower League One ladder.
Tudgay set the ball rolling with a superb opener early in the second half before County were reduced to ten men when Alan Judge received his marching orders and Potter added a neat second to seal the win.
Wednesdayites had been calling for a first league start of the season for striker Paul Heffernan in the run-up to the match and Irvine responded by throwing him into the attack alongside Clinton Morrison. Chris Sedgwick dropped to the bench and Tudgay moved into a midfield role.
County came into the game in good form following a superb victory at pre-season promotion favourites Peterborough United in midweek and they were keen to make it two scalps in a week with the visit of the Owls.
And Craig Short's men started promisingly, forcing the Owls on to the back foot in the opening exchanges as returning hitman Lee Hughes fired an early warning shot which was parried by Owls stopper Nicky Weaver.
Ben Davies, who bagged County's consolation strike in Wednesday's 2-1 Johnstone's Paint Trophy victory between the two sides last month, also fired a shot just wide of goal as the hosts made their attacking intentions clear from the off.
The improved Owls defence held firm though and Tommy Miller had the real first shot on target for the visitors when he met a Jon Otsemobor cross but saw his effort fly straight into the hands of former Owls stopper Rob Burch in the County goal.
The Magpies were swooping over the Owls in the early stages of the first half but Wednesday were by no means out of the contest, although their chances were few and far between.
Irvine's men grew in confidence as the first 45 minutes wore on though and could, and maybe should, have taken the lead into half-time as they carved out two good opportunities in front of goal.
Heffernan and Tommy Spurr linked well and the former drilled a low shot from Spurr's cross straight into the arms of Burch.
The effort lifted the Wednesday players, and the 4,000-plus travelling Owls fans inside Meadow Lane, and it brought an even better chance just moments before the half-time whistle.
Heffernan was again involved and he helped to create a great chance for Tudgay, who drilled a low shot which looked to be heading for the back of the net until Krystian Pearce got hmself in the way.
Half-Time: County 0-0 Wednesday
Wednesday could go into half-time proud of their first-half efforts, after struggling with the pace of the hosts' opening they found their way back in the contest and were unlucky not to be ahead going into the second half.
The visitors certainly had the momentum though and they took it into the opening exchanges of the second period.
They could have been handed an early opportunity to open the scoring when Heffernan looked to be bundled over in the box thanks to a poor challenge inside the box, but the referee waved away the Wednesday protests.
But Wednesday's good work at the start of the second half paid off seven minutes after the restart.
Tudgay has struggled for form this season, and hadn't netted a single goal from open play in the league going into the contest, but he produced a peach of an effort from the edge of the box as he fired the opener into the top corner to give Burch no chance and send the travelling Owls fans barmy.
Wednesday will have just wanted to hold onto their lead for a while but they were almost back on level terms within a minute when the officials saved them.
Kevin Smith crossed for Hughes to head into Weaver's goal but the former West Brom and Oldham Athletic man was in an offside position and saw the effort chalked off by the referee to the Owls' relief.
County were pushing hard for an equaliser and on-loan Blackburn man Judge saw an effort well blocked by Mark Beevers as the Wednesday defence was forced to work overtime.
The hosts were forcing the Owls to defend deep as they searched for some points from the game.
Irvine introduced Neil Mellor and Darren Potter in place of Clinton Morrison and and Heffernan respectively just after the hour mark.
And, despite some heavy county pressure as the game wore on, Wednesday could have snatched a second on the counter-attack but Mellor dragged his shot wide of the target following good work by Giles Coke.
Wednesday's task of holding on was made slightly easier with five minutes to go when Judge saw a straight red card for a challenge on Potter.
And it was Potter who wrapped up the win in fine style as he tucked a neat shot by Burch from a Miller pass to seal a superb win for the Owls in the final minute of the match.
Full-Time: County 0-2 Wednesday