Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0 Wednesday
The Withdean Stadium, Brighton
09/04/11 - 3pm
Wednesday failed to upset the League One form book as champions-elect Brighton continued their unbeaten home league run with a convincing victory at a sun-soaked Withdean Stadium.
Chris Wood's first-half penalty and Elliot Bennett's second-half strike ensured Albion maximum points to cement their place at the top of the table and leave the Owls with nothing to show for their efforts.
The Seagulls were deserved winners and responded to boss Gus Poyet's calls to show the Owls just why they're the division leaders going into the business end of the season.
Gary Megson's men went into the game in confident mood following back-to-back home successes, and back-to-back wins on their travels.
The Owls boss made three changes to the side that thumped Tranmere Rovers 4-0 in midweek, with Joey O'Brien, Chris Sedgwick and Clinton Morrison all getting the call-up in place of Tommy Miller, Gary Teale and Gary Madine.
In the hot conditions in Brighton neither side settled into their stride in the opening ten minutes as chances came few and far between.
It suited Wednesday, who played to snuff out the Seagulls' attack and look to hit Gus Poyet's men on the break. It's a system that's worked away from home before under Megson. But Brighton were a different opposition, having won 15 and drawing four of their 19 home league games going into the contest.
It was the hosts who carved out the first chance on goal when Bennett's cross found Wood in the box but Jon Otsemobor was alert to divert the danger away from goal.
Owls stopper Richard O'Donnell celebrated his first clean sheet in the Wednesday goal against Tranmere in midweek and he was tested when Craig Noone's header forced him into a save after 15 minutes.
The hosts continued to up their gear as the game wore on but Wednesday did have their own opportunities in front of goal, even if they were a rare occurrence, and Lewis Buxton fired an effort into the arms of Brighton stopper Casper Ankergren.
Megson will have been looking towards the half-time interval, happy that his side were level at the break, but they were dealt a blow when the referee pointed to the spot following Danny Batth's challenge on Brighton top-scorer Glenn Murray inside the box.
Wood took the spot-kick and drilled his effort beyond O'Donnell to give the hosts a big lift going into half-time, and leave Megson needing to change his half-time team talk.
Half-Time: Brighton 1-0 Wednesday
Wednesday had to change their game plan to get something from the game now they were trailing.
But it was Brighton who almost struck first on the restart, continuing where they left the first 40 minutes as Wood came close to doubling the hosts lead following a good cross from Craig Noone.
Wednesday responded and Batth rose high to power a header just over the woodwork from an O'Brien cross.
Megson made a double change to try and change the flow of the game and get the visitors back into the contest by introducing Madine and Potter for Sedgwick and Jermaine Johnson, who found it hard to have an impact on the game.
And the changes almost worked instantly as Madine powered a header inches wide of Ankergren's post from an Otsemobor cross.
It gave Wednesday and their travelling fans hope, but all that was lost with a superb second for Poyet's men.
Bennett launched a 25-yard shot into the back of the net, giving O'Donnell little chance in goal, to all-but seal the victory for the hosts.
The action wasn't over there as Seagulls captain Gordon Greer was sent off for violent conduct, but it was too late to change the outcome of the contest.
Full-Time: Brighton 2-0 Wednesday