Exeter City 5-1 Wednesday
St James' Park, Exeter
18/12/10 - 3pm
THE OWLS came crashing back down to earth with a bang as they suffered a heavy 5-1 defeat at Exeter City in the only game to beat the weather in npower League One on Saturday.
Jamie Cureton scored a brace while Liam Sercombe, Scott Golbourne and John O'Flynn made it a famous five for the hosts as Wednesday emphatically missed out on the chance to top the league table.
Tommy Miller had levelled for the Owls in the first half, but it was all Exeter in a second half to forget for Alan Irvine and his men.
The defeat came just a week after Wednesday demolished Bristol Rovers 6-2 at Hillsborough to move up to second in the table.
Wednesday stuck with the same starting eleven that saw off the Pirates in emphatic fashion last time out. Neil Mellor did return following a spell of the sidelines through injury, but he was only fit enough for a place on the bench.
But they couldn't carry on where they left off as both sides cancelled each other out in an even opening which brought no chances for either side in front of goal.
Both sides were passing the ball well on what has to be said a good pitch following the wintry weather, but it took a bit of magic from Jermaine Johnson to carve out the first chance on goal.
The Jamaican, so influential in Wednesday's win over the Pirates last week, used his pace to burst through on goal and fire a powerful low effort just wide of Artur Krysiak's goal in the sixth minute.
The Grecians offered an immediate reply when Ryan Harley tested Owls stopper Nicky Weaver just minutes later with a long-range shot which was comfortably saved.
Liam Sercombe also tested the Owls stopper as Exeter built some momentum but chances in the early exchanges were at a premium.
But the game burst into life around the half-hour mark as Jamie Cureton, Vital's one-to-watch, fired Exeter ahead.
The experienced striker produced a fine finish in the 29th minute when Mark Beevers failed to clear a Richard Duffy cross.
But they hardly had time to catch their breath before the Owls got back on level terms within a minute, in controversial circumstances.
Tommy Spurr did well to produce a cross for Miller to drill in from close range, the linesman deeming the ball to have crossed the line despite appeals from the Exeter defence.
Clinton Morrison and Johnson both had half-chances to turn the game on its head and fire the Owls ahead before half-time.
But the hosts, too, carved out some opportunities to test Weaver in the latter stages of the first-half.
Half-Time: Exeter 1-1 Wednesday
The midfield battle continued at the start of the second half, with few chances at either end.
If anything, the hosts looked slightly more dangerous in their attacks but it was always going to take a moment of magic to find the back of the net again.
It came just before the hour mark when Sercombe produced a sublime finish to beat Weaver from 25 yards and put the Grecians back in front.
He chested the ball down at the edge of the box and gave the Owls stopper no chance with a brilliant volley.
Wednesday introduced Neil Mellor from the bench in reply, Chris Sedgwick making way and Johnson moving back to midfield to allow Mellor to partner Clinton Morrison in attack.
It did little to change the flow of the game though and the hosts extended their lead just minutes later.
Visibly lifted by the second goal, the hosts pushed forward and edged further ahead as the Owls completely collapsed in defence.
It was a goal that could, and should, have been avoided - unlike the previous goal - but Wednesday highlighted their defensive problems as Scott Golbourne produced the finish to make it 3-1.
Johnson tried to get Wednesday back into it with a long-range effort.
But the Owls were down and out and Exeter took full advantage as Cureton bagged his second with 20 minutes to go to all-but seal the points for the hosts.
And Wednesday's nightmare day was complete in the closing stages when John O'Flynn made it 5-1 to the Grecians.
Full-Time: Exeter 5-1 Wednesday