Carlisle United 3-1 Wednesday
Brunton Park, Carlisle
Wednesday bowed out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at the northern area semi-final stage with a 3-1 defeat against Carlisle United at a freezing Brunton Park on Tuesday night.
Goals from Francois Zoko, Lubomir Michalik and Ben Marshall put the Cumbrians through, despite a late consolation stirke from Wednesday skipper Darren Purse.
The Owls will turn their attentions to achieving promotion from League One, and also FA Cup duty following the defeat in Cumbria.
It was a game that could have easily have been postponed given the snow on the Brunton Park pitch before kick-off and the freezing conditions for both players and fans alike throughout the match.
But the officials agreed the pitch was fit enough to play on and, following a poor performance which brought a six-game winning run to an end, Wednesday will look to put the competition firmly to bed and focus on the more important issue of points in the league at Swindon Town this weekend.
Owls boss Alan Irvine made just the one change to the side that beat Northampton Town in the FA Cup on Saturday, with Jermaine Johnson handed a start in place of Gary Teale.
And Wednesday made a bright start, seeing claims for a penalty when Chris Sedgwick was felled by Tom Cruise inside the box fall on deaf ears early on.
Gary Madine had Carlisle's first chance when he forced Owls stopper into a neat save, while at the other end Neil Mellor sent a chance wide following good link-up play between him and strike partner Clinton Morrison.
Chances were few and far between, mainly down to the poor playing conditions at Brunton Park, but the hosts broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark.
A Madine cross found its way to Zoko, who steered his header beyond Weaver and into the back of the net to give the hosts the advantage.
The goal clearly lifted the hosts, but Wednesday kept pressing for a leveller before half-time and Sedgwick issued the best reply with an effort which flew across the face of the goal.
The Owls suffered another blow just before half-time when top-scorer Neil Mellor was forced to leave the field on a stretcher following a challenge with Michalik.
Play was held up for five minutes before Mellor departed, and was replaced by Gary Teale, which Johnson moving up to partner Morrison in attack.
It was a sign that Irvine could have possibly rested some of his key players in a competition which isn't high up on the priority list this season.
Half-Time: Carlisle 1-0 Wednesday
The next goal was always going to be crucial in the contest and Wednesday came flying out of the traps in the second half.
Flying, as in literally for Johnson, who burst into the Carlisle box immediately after the restart and seemed to be hauled down by the home goalkeeper, only for the Wednesday appeals to be waved away for a second time in the match.
JJ was Wednesday's biggest threat and he almost got through on goal again not long after only to be thwarted by a fine, late challenge by Michalik inside the box.
Carlisle got back on a level footing though after Wednesday's fine start to the second half and Weaver had to be alert to deny Marshall.
But from the resulting corner the hosts doubled their lead to all-but seal their progression to the area final.
Berrett's corner-kick found loanee Michalik, who powered his header into the back of the net to double Carlisle's lead.
Wednesday seemingly threw in the towel following the second goal, with Weaver having to produce a strong of fine saves to stop the hosts from adding a third.
But his efforts proved in vein as Marshall smashed in the Cumbrians' third in the 70th minute to secure the victory and make it a long and miserable trip for Alan Irvine's men.
There was time for Purse to grab a consolation when he headed in Tommy Millers' corner-kick, but it was too little too late from the visitors.
It was a poor performance and a bad defeat for Wednesday, but there won't be too many alarm bells ringing following the exit in a competition which Wednesdayites, and Irvine, judging by team selections, weren't too bothered about.
Full-Time: Carlisle 3-1 Wednesday
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