Wednesday 3-1 Swindon Town
25/04/11 - 3pm
Home troubles? What home troubles? Wednesday may not have been fluent in their 3-1 victory over Swindon Town but their fourth win on the bounce at Hillsborough bodes well for next season.
A brace of goals from on-song Neil Mellor and a deflected Darren Potter strike gave the Owls all three points as they continued their strong finish to the season and sent the Robins down in the process at a sunny Hillsborough.
Jonathan Douglas fired in a superb effort for Paul Hart's men but it wasn't enough as they become the first side to been confirmed to be relegated from the division and into League Two.
Wednesday welcomed back Nicky Weaver between the sticks in place of Richard O'Donnell, while Owls boss Gary Megson also brought Reda Johnson, Daniel Jones Jermaine Johnson and Potter back into his starting eleven as he rang the changes following Saturday's 1-1 draw at Walsall.
For the visitors, they simply had to grab all three points from the fixture to avoid relegation to League Two, so the Owls' penultimate home game of the season was shaping up to be an entertaining one.
It certainly started that way as Jermaine Johnson showed the Owls' attacking intentions straight from kick-off, going on a driving run down the middle of the pitch. Neil Mellor then came inches from making the breakthrough when some clever attacking play allowed him the time and space to pull a shot wide of goal in the opening minutes.
But the tempo died down after the opening five minutes, with the high temperatures and the fact that both teams were playing their second game in just three days no doubt a factor.
That was until the 17th minute when Wednesday found the breakthrough.
It came through Mellor, with the on-loan striker laying the ball off for Potter to drill a powerful strike into the back of the net with the help of a deflection.
The goal was a big blow to Swindon's survival hopes and they had to up their gear for a way into the game. Weaver hadn't been tested on his return to first team action but that changed when Matt Ritchie raced through on goal but found the Owls stopper in top form as he diverted the danger.
It was a close as the visitors had come to scoring but they were less clinical in front of goal than Wednesday were.
That was clear to see just before the half-hour mark when the hosts doubled their advantage with a neat move. Jon Otsemobor hit a long ball forward for Mellor, who cushioned his header over goalkeeper Phil Smith and into the back of the net.
The two-goal lead probably flattered Wednesday, although a lead was deserved, but Swindon should have got back into it but for two remarkable saves by Weaver.
First he stuck his legs out to deny Andy Frampton from point-blank range before getting up and spreading himself to stop the rebound and somehow keep Wednesday's two-goal lead in tact. It was perhaps a sign of things to come for the unfortunate visitors.
The Robins deserved a goal for their efforts and they got one, and in some style, as former Leeds midfielder Doulglas picked up a loose ball from a corner kick at the edge of the box before letting loose with a superb effort which flew into the top corner to give the visitors some hope of a comeback.
Half-Time: Wednesday 2-1 Swindon
The visitors clearly had to come flying out of the traps at the start of the second half and really take the game to Wednesday.
And they enjoyed much of the early possession after the restart without really threatening Weaver's goal. The Owls struggled to break out of their own half for the first ten minutes but chances were few and far between for the County Ground side.
So it was against the run of play when Wednesday bagged their third to leave their visitors with a mountain to climb.
Jermaine Johnson forced fine save from Smith but the ball only went to Mellor, who played a one-two with Gary Madine inside the box before picking his spot in the far corner with a neat finish in front of the Kop.
The goal all-but sealed Swindon's relegation and you could see it in their players, who struggled to hit back again. They had plenty of the ball but Wednesday were happy to let them have it, with Weaver not being tested on too many more occasions.
In fact Wednesday could have added a fourth when substitute Liam Palmer lashed a low cross across the face of goal and Simon Ferry diverted the ball towards his own goal only for Smith to save his bacon with a superb reflex save.
Mellor's second had killed the game as a contest though, and Wednesday's good end-of-season form continued, while Swindon were relegated to League Two.
Full-Time: Wednesday 3-1 Swindon