Wednesday 4-1 Hartlepool United
10/11/10 - 7.30pm
Neil Mellor scored a hat-trick to help Wednesday to the Johnstone's Paint Trophy area semi-finals thanks to a 4-1 victory over npower League One rivals Hartlepool United at Hillsborough.
The on-loan hitman enjoyed a fine day at the office with his treble, while Gary Teale also found the back of the net for Alan Irvine's men. Fabian Yantorno replied for the hosts with what turned out to be a consolation.
It's the second time this season the Owls have dished out a heavy defeat on the Victoria Park club following a 5-0 victory in the league meeting at 'Pool earlier this season.
Owls boss Alan Irvine made just the one change to the side that defeated Southport 5-2 in the FA Cup 1st round on Sunday, with Lewis Buxton replacing the out-of-form Mark Beevers at the heart of the defence.
Irvine stuck with the same strike pairing of Mellor and Clinton Morrison that worked so well in the weekend's FA Cup clash, but the hosts were still without the injured Jermaine Johnson.
Former Owl Ritchie Humphreys was suspended, for the first time in his career, for the clash following his dismissal for Hartlepool in their 0-0 draw with Vauxhall Motors in the FA Cup on Saturday.
The Owls took their confidence from the high-scoring win at Southport into the clash and had the first opportunity in front of goal in the fourth minute when Giles Coke stormed through on goal before putting Mellor in, but the move came to nothing.
The visitors were hardly in the contest early on and Wednesday's good start was rewarded in just the eighth minute when Mellor fired the hosts ahead.
Morrison gave the on-loan striker the chance to curl his effort beyond Hartlepool stopper Jake Kean and into the back of the net.
Wednesday could have doubled their lead not long after, Kean this time equal to an effort by Morrison.
There was a dip in action midway through the first half and the hosts were dealt a blow when Jon Otsemobor had to be replaced by Beevers, who moved to centre-back and Buxton moved to fill in at right-back.
Just minutes later Wednesday doubled their lead as Teale produced a superb cross for Mellor to double his tally for the evening with a neat finish from close range.
Wednesday, at 2-0 to the good, should have been in full control of the match and will have been expected to maintain their two-goal cushion going into the break.
Hartlepool had other ideas, and Yantorno was left unmarked to drill a long-range effort beyond Weaver and into the back of the net to get the visitors back into the contest just minutes before half-time.
Half-Time: Wednesday 2-1 Hartlepool
The visitors will have been keen to carry their momentum into the start of the second-half, but to Wednesday's credit they came flying out of the traps and promptly bagged their third of the night.
Mellor was felled inside the box not long after the restart and he dusted himself off to drill home the Owls, and his, third of the night.
The on-loan striker wasn't going to let the chance to take home the match ball go.
Wednesday had been forced to take skipper Darren Purse off as a precaution at half-time, Buxton moving to centre-back and Chris Sedgwick coming on to fill in at right-back.
But the changes did little to change the flow of the game and, if anything, worked in Wednesday's favour as a fourth goal followed.
Coke put Teale in and the former Derby man produced a top-drawer finish to leave Kean stranded and all-but seal Wednesday's progression in the next round.
But, as with the first-half, Wednesday, although looking likely to progress after 55 minutes, took their foot off the gas and allowed their visitors back into the game.
Luckily Nicky Weaver, hero in the last round, was again at the top of his game to make a number of good saves to deny 'Pool a way back into the contest.
Yantorno and Andy Monkhouse were both thwarted by the Owls number one, while Armann Bjornsson also headed wide.
With Hartlepool missing their best chances of the match, the writing was on the wall and Wednesday eased into the next round.
Full-Time: Wednesday 4-1 Hartlepool