Hartlepool United 0-1 Wednesday
Victoria Park, Hartlepool
01/10/11 - 3pm
Wednesday picked up arguably their best win of the season so far as Reda Johnson's strike gave the Owls all three points against previously unbeaten Hartlepool United at Victoria Park in npower League One.
Mick Wadsworth's men had been the surprise package of the division to date but Wednesday continued their good run of results against 'Pool to climb up to fourth in the league table.
Johnson struck in the 33rd minute to see Wednesday to victory on a glorious day in the north east and send out a message that Gary Megson and his men are serious promotion candidates this term.
Megson stuck with the same eleven that started the 3-0 victory over Exeter City last time out, with Gary Madine partnering David McGoldrick in attack and David Prutton still sidelined through injury. Chris O'Grady had to be content with a place on the bench.
Both sides went into the game in confident mood and both made attacking starts. Wednesday had plenty of the ball but didn't really threaten the home goal, while at the other end Anthony Sweeney headed the first chance of the game just wide.
Wadsworth's side started to gain the upper hand, although Stephen Bywater in the Owls goal was relatively untroubled, but it was the visitors who found the breakthrough after the half-hour mark.
After defending well at the back, it was an Owls defender who provided what was to be the decisive goal. Ben Marshall hauled a long throw into the box and Reda Johnson rose high to head the ball beyond Scott Flinders, the United goalkeeper, and into the back of the net.
Just as Wednesday wanted to keep their lead in tact, the hosts almost got level immediately after the goal but Rob Jones was alert to block an effort from Gary Liddle inside the box.
It was as close as Hartlepool had come, but it was Wednesday who could have edged further ahead going into half-time.
Marshall saw a free-kick comfortably saved before the tricky winger then had another great chance to double Wednesday's lead. But 'Pools managed to hold out until the interval.
Half-Time: Hartlepool 0-1 Wednesday
And the hosts, not in the habit of losing games so far this season, upped their gear at the start of the second half, with Wednesday's defence having to show their mettle in the opening exchanges of the restart.
The Owls back four were holding firm though, and 'Pools only had a Sweeney effort, which he headed wide from a glorious position following a Nolberto Solano cross, to show for all their possession.
At the other end Gary Madine, in-form of late and eager to continue his goalscoring spree in the north east, had a good chance to extend Wednesday's lead but he fired his shot over the bar.
The hosts were still a threat and they came a lick of paint away from the leveller when Andy Monkhouse saw his powerful effort come crashing back off the woodwork.
It was a warning of what was to come from the hosts, who poured men forward for the equaliser. Wednesday's defence had to be in top form and they were just that, with Bywater enjoying a second clean sheet since his arrival at the club on loan from Derby County.
Liam Palmer did have a chance to add some gloss to the Owls' result, but he failed to find the back of the net from an acute angler after rounding Flinders.
Full-Time: Hartlepool 0-1 Wednesday
Hartlepool: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Humphreys (Poole 71), Solano, Murray (Horwood 46), Liddle, Sweeney, Nish, Boyd (Monkhouse 61). Unused substitutes: Rafferty, Lyuscombe.
Owls: Bywater, Buxton, Batth, Jones, R Johnson, Semedo, Lines, O'Connor (Sedgwick 84), Marshall, McGoldrick (O'Grady 59), Madine (Palmer 67). Unused substitutes: O'Donnell, Reynolds.