Wednesday 3-0 Walsall
23/11/10 - 7.45pm
Wednesday enjoyed a relatively comfortable evening at Hillsborough with a 3-0 victory against npower League One basement dwellers Walsall.
Darren Potter got the Owls off to the perfect start with an early opener but, despite Wednesday controlling the game, the hosts had to wait until the last 15 minutes to tie up the three points thanks to strikes from Mark Beevers and Clinton Morrison.
Owls boss Alan Irvine made two changes to the side that beat MK Dons 4-1 on Saturday.
Nicky Weaver returned in goal after recovering from injury to replace Arron Jameson, while Lewis Buxton was left out after suffering a leg injury, Daniel Jones coming in at left-back with Tommy Spurr moving to right-back.
Wednesday made a bright start to the encounter and, after controlling much of the ball in the opening five minutes, broke the deadlock in only the sixth minute.
Darren Potter, who's been in for a fair amount of criticism from Wednesdayites this season, pulled the trigger from 20 yards out and his powerful effort beat Walsall stopper Jimmy Walker.
It was almost two moments later when a Gary Teale cross-cum-shot almost found its way to Morrison or Mellor inside the box, but Walker palmed the ball away for a corner kick.
There was a lull in play as the visitors tried to find a way back into the clash, without causing any problems to the Owls defence.
But it was the hosts who continued to look the more threatening, Teale getting round the full-back and curling an effort just wide of goal when both Mellor and Morrison were perhaps better positioned to double the lead.
It took the Saddlers a full half-an-hour to create a threatening attack on Weaver's goal as Darryl Westlake provided a cross for Liam Dickinson, who came on to replace former Barnsley hitman Jonathan Macken, to head just wide.
The chance lifted the visitors, who went on to enjoy more of the ball.
But the Owls should have doubled their lead in the 33rd minute when Mellor and Millor linked well for the latter to power a shot towards goal which was pushed away by Walker.
The game was starting to open up a bit more and the play went straight down the other end, where Weaver produced a fine save to deny Reuben Reid, who's on-loan at the club from West Brom.
Morrison and Mellor linked well five minutes before half-time as Morrison produced a superb cross for his strike partner, who forced a good save out of Walsall stopper Walker.
Chris Sedgwick also shot wide of goal as the Owls closed the first half in commanding fashion, despite just having a slender 1-0 lead.
Half-Time: Wednesday 1-0 Walsall
The second half started at a slow pace, with neither side able to create any clear cut chances in the opening exchanges.
Irvine looked to up the tempo with half an hour to go with the introduction of Jermaine Johnson from the bench, Sedgwick coming off.
But it was Walsall who almost got on level terms completely out of the blue when Reid took advantage of some mis-control by Darren Purse, going one-on-one with Weaver only for the Owls stopper made a superb save to keep the scores the same.
The game burst into life and at the other end Mellor came close to making it 2-0 when he headed a Teale cross over the bar.
Worringly, the Owls were letting Walsall more into the game in the latter stages and some Wednesdayites were fearing the hosts were going to pay for missed chances, with the visitors still able to snatch a draw.
But just at the right time, Mark Beevers popped up to nod home a Teale cross to all-but seal the victory for the hosts with 15 minutes to go.
And it was 3-0 minutes later when Morrison attacked the front post from a cross to squeeze his header in, Teale again producing the cross to put his name firmly in the hat for the man-of-the-match honours.
With the game won, Irvine brought youngster Liam Palmer on for the second match on the spin, Tommy Miller making way.
It was a comfortable evening for Wednesday, and with all the off-the-field politics coming to a head in the form of a protest outside the South Stand, it was very much 'job done' for Alan Irvine and his troops, who moved up to fourth in the league table as a result.
Full-Time: Wednesday 3-0 Walsall