Tranmere Rovers 3-0 Wednesday
Prenton Park, Birkenhead
15/02/11 - 7.45pm
TEN-man Wednesday saw their winless league run since the turn of the year continue in Birkenhead as Tranmere Rovers inflicted a 3-0 victory that all-but ends the Owls promotion hopes this season.
Lateef Elford-Alliyu headed the hosts ahead on the hour mark before Owls midfielder Giles Coke was sent off four minutes later to leave the visitors with a mountain to climb.
Ian Goodison doubled Rovers' lead before former Owls striker Enoch Showunmi rubbed salt in the wounds with a third with less than ten minutes to go.
It leaves new boss Gary Megson looking to avoid relegation and keep the Owls in npower League One, rather than looking to secure promotion - the aim at the start of the season.
Megson promised changes following the 2-1 loss at Rochdale on Saturday and he made them, with five changes coming at Prenton Park.
As predicted, striker Gary Madine and midfielder Isaiah Osboure both started, while Reda Johnson, Tommy Spurr and Gary Teale all got the nod as Wednesday looked for a first league win since the turn of the year.
Tranmere were going to be no pushovers though, as their recent good form showed, and it proved to the case on a cold evening at Prenton Park.
The Owls made a bright start though and Madine almost carried on where he left off at Rochdale, but he steered his header over the bar from a Coke cross in the early exchanges.
Megson had emphasised the importance of good start for Wednesday following recent poor first-half showings that had left them with a mountain to climb.
And they contained Rovers pretty well in the opening chances, with the Owls having the best of the early exchanges, limiting the hosts in front of goal.
Rovers' first chance came when Lucas Askins powered fired into the side netting from a deep cross, but Owls goalkeeper Nicky Weaver had the effort covered.
Owls midfielder Gary Teale was an unused substitute at Spotland on Saturday but he was brought back in by Megson and was at the centre of most of the Wednesday attacks.
First he almost picked out Madine with a dangerous cross before beoing the provider again in setting-up Clinton Morrison, but the skipper saw his shot well charged down by the Tranmere defence.
Far from the poor defending seen on Saturday, the Owls kept their hosts pretty quiet in the first-half, with chances coming few and far between.
It was a good sign for a side that have been struggling in the first-half of matches that Wednesday took a 0-0 draw into the break.
Half-Time: Tranmere 0-0 Wednesday
Wednesday have improved in the second half of late and the travelling Wednesday fans were hoping it was going to be a case of more of the same in Birkenhead as the teams came out for the second half.
indeed, the visitors started the second half well and Coke shot over the bar before Wednesday almost took advantage of some calamity defending from the hosts.
Confusion between a defender and Tranmere stopper Tony Warner gifted Clinton Morrison the ball, but the Owls skipper wasn't able to find the back of the net and the Rovers defence managed to clear the danger for a corner.
Gary Madine also came agonisingly close to connecting to a Coke corner as the Owls had the upper hand.
The Owls were made to pay for their missed chances shortly after though as the hosts took the lead against the run of play.
John Welsh's cross found Elford-Alliyu, who made no mistake in beating Weaver to break the deadlock.
It was a blow to Wednesday, and the game was as good as over for Megson's men just minutes later when Coke saw red and Rovers scored from the resulting free-kick.
The Owls midfielder was late in a challenge on Welsh and the referee had no option than to send him off.
Goodison was then well-positioned to steer in Cresswell's free-kick to make it 2-0.
A miserable night in Tranmere was complete with nine minutes to go as the hosts netted a third, with former Owl Showunmi powering home a volley to complete the scoring.
Full-Time: Tranmere 3-0 Wednesday