Swindon Town 2-1 Wednesday
The County Ground, Swindon
04/12/10 - 3pm
FORMER Owls midfielder Jon-Paul McGovern came back to haunt Wednesday with the winner as Alan Irvine's men slumped to a 2-1 defeat at Swindon Town at The County Ground.
McGovern struck midway in the second half - and refused to celebrate against his former supporters - after Clinton Morrison had levelled a Charlie Austin opener in the only game to go ahead in npower League One.
Another former Owl, goalkeeper David Lucas, produced some top-drawer saves to deny the Owls as Wednesday's fine unbeaten league came to an end.
The Owls defended well enough to take all three points and deserved something from the game, but couldn't finish off their opportunities in front of goal.
Owls boss Alan Irvine made two changes to the side that lost at Carlisle in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy in midweek, with Lewis Buxton and Gary Teale both returning at the County Ground.
Teale came in for the injured Neil Mellor and took his place in midfield, with Jermaine Johnson pushing up to support striker Clinton Morrison, while Buxton came in for Daniel Jones, with Tommy Spurr returning to his favoured left-back position.
Wednesday started brightly and saw early claims for a penalty waved away by the referee after Johnson went down inside the Swindon penalty area.
Wednesday's pace was causing the Swindon defence some early problems and Johnson forced the first effort on goal as he neatly turned his marker before testing Town stopper Phil Smith.
Despite the freezing conditions, the Jamaican was on fire and should have given the Owls the lead just minutes later when he tried to round Smith only for the Swindon stopper to make a brilliant save.
Wednesday had the upper hand in the opening exchanges but the hosts gradually got into the game and it was Town who opened the scoring with just their second shot on target in the 24th minute.
It was top scorer Charlie Austin who broke the deadlock with a neat finish beyond Weaver to bag his ninth goal in eleven outings and give the Owls an uphill challenge.
The lead didn't last long though as Wednesday hit back straight away to get on level terms.
Morrison was the man to hit the leveller, but despite giving up their lead, Swindon could be deemed lucky to still have eleven men on the pitch.
The referee was all set to point to the spot and send off goalkeeper Smith after Morrison had stormed through on goal and had been felled inside the box, but he allowed advantage, the goal stood, and the hosts kept their eleven men as the Owls got on level terms.
The Owls couldn't complain too much following the equaliser, and it got them right back into the game midway through the first half.
McGovern hadn't made too much of an impact against his former club, but the tally of former Owls in the Swindon eleven doubled before half-time when former stopper David Lucas came on for the injured Smith in goal.
But the Swindon stopper was picking the ball out of his net not long after his introduction when Beevers turned and shot into the bottom corner, only to see his effort chalked off with Morrison being deemed offside and interfering with play.
The first half finished level and it was probably a fair reflection on both sides.
Half-Time: Swindon 1-1 Wednesday
Town started the second half brightly with plenty of possession but it was Wednesday who carved out the first real chance of the game, again coming from the pace of Johnson as the Jamaican turned his marker on the halfway line and ran towards goal before seeing his effort comfortably saved.
The Owls, and Lewis Buxton, did receive a blow when the right-back, who'd only returned from an injury, had to withdraw early, with Daniel Jones replacing him.
Swindon saw calls for a penalty for a foul on Vincent Pericard fall on deaf ears, while Chris Sedgwick came close with an acrobatic effort just seconds later as the game went from end-to-end.
The hosts had a golden opportunity to regain the lead through that man Austin, when Beevers slipped inside the box and allowed Town's top scorer through on goal, only to slip his effort agonisingly wide.
The Owls had a superb chance themselves at the other end but former Owls stopper Lucas kept the hosts on level terms with a top-drawer save.
Sedgwick was well positioned to drill a header towards goal but, as a goal seemed almost a certainty, Lucas came back to haunt Wednesday with a brilliant save.
And, minutes after former Owl Lucas kept the hosts in it with a fine save, it was another former Owl that put Swindon ahead out of nothing.
McGovern was left unmarked on the penalty spot and he stabbed in a shot from the outside of his foot to regain the lead for Danny Wilson's men.
The goal lifted the hosts, who continued to push forward, not content to sit on another on-goal cushion which failed them in the first half.
Irvine made two changes in reply to the Swindon goal with Giles Coke coming on in place of Sedgwick and Heffernan coming on for Johnson with 15 minutes to go.
And Heffernan almost made an immediate impact as he raced on to a through-ball, only to be beaten to the ball by Lucas.
Swindon were on top but the Owls could have got on level terms for a second time through the most unlikely of goalscorers.
Spurr had the ball 30 yards out and he unleashed a powerful drive which crashed off the crossbar and to safety.
The game was turning into an entertaining spectacle, with action at both ends, and when Pericard lost the ball for the hosts, Wednesday attacked down the other end and Heffernan forced another good save by Lucas.
The game could have been over with two minutes to go but Owls stopper Nicky Weaver did well to deny Swindon substitute David Ball.
With four minutes of stoppage time announced by the fourth official, Miller came inches close to connecting to a Paul Heffernan flick-on just inside the box as the Owls pushed forward for a late equaliser.
But the hosts held on to bag a crucial victory and leave the Owls with back-to-back defeats since Milan Mandaric's announcement that he's to takeover the club.
Full-Time: Swindon 2-1 Wednesday