Wednesday 1-0 Aldershot (FA Cup)
3/12/11 - 3pm
WEDNESDAY eased through to the next round of the FA Cup as Ryan Lowe's second half strike proved enough for the Owls against their npower League Two opposition at Hillsborough.
Lowe got on the end of a long Richard O'Donnell kick to produce a clinical finish and send Wednesday into the third round of the prestigious competition against an Aldershot side that at least kept in touch with the Owls throughout.
Owls boss Gary Megson was forced into a host of changes for the cup contest. Danny Batth was suspended and loanees Ben Marshall, Stephen Bywater and Sanchez Watt weren't allowed to play as part of their loan deals. Miguel Llera was cup-tied. It meant O'Donnell played in goal, Reda Johnson moved into centre-back to accommodate Julian Bennett at left-back and Chris Sedgwick and Liam Palmer also came in. Gary Madine and Lewis Buxton were sidelined through injury.
The Owls made a bright start and Chris Lines sent a low free-kick straight into the arms of visiting goalkeeper Jamie Young just two minutes in while Lowe saw a half chance come and go.
Aldershot arrived at Hillsborough with some higher-division scalps in cup competitions this season already under their belts, including wins over West Ham, Carlisle United and Rochdale, despite their mid-table position in League Two. Their first chance came through Luke Guttridge but returning captain Rob Jones blocked his effort.
Chances at both ends were at a premium in a dull first half but O'Grady sent a long-range effort just over the bar and Lines also saw an effort blocked as the hosts edged proceedings.
Half-Time: Wednesday 0-0 Aldershot
With respect to Aldershot, the Owls will no doubt have been keen to tie up their progression to the next round on the day and not take it to the replay, especially with the hectic festive period coming up.
And they got the decisive breakthrough just four minutes into the second half. It was route one, nothing pretty about it, but Lowe got on the end of a big kick forward by O'Donnell and took his chance to fire the hosts ahead.
The Owls were boosted by the breakthrough and kept the pressure in the Aldershot half, without really carving anything in the way of good chances in front of goal.
And with just a goal the difference between the two sides the visitors will have known they were still in with a shout of getting something from the game. Michael Rankine, especially, should have done better with a header at the back post which went harmlessly wide.
It was to be a tense last 15 minutes for the Owls, even though O'Donnell didn't have too much to do in goal. The one shot he did have to deal with, a long range Adam Smith attempt, he parried to safety.
And while Aldershot were pushing forward in search of the leveller, Wednesday could have wrapped the game up at the other end. Lowe wasted a good chance to double his tally for the afternoon, while O'Grady forced Young into a good save.
O'Grady and substitute Jermaine Johnson had other decent chances to seal Wednesday's progression but the Owls didn't need a second as the referee blew time on a pretty lacklustre FA Cup meeting, which at least sees Wednesday progress into the third round alongside Championship and Premier League opposition.
Full-Time: Wednesday 1-0 Rochdale
Wednesday: O'Donnell, Tavernier, Jones, R Johnson, Bennett, Sedgwick (J Johnson 86), Semedo, Lines, Palmer (Prutton 86), Lowe (Morrison 80), O'Grady. Unused substitutes: Jameson, Reynolds, Otsemobor, Coke.
Aldershot: Young, Herd, Straker, Guttridge, Jones, Collins (Davies 80), Rankine (McGlashan 77), Hylton, Rodman (Pearson 77), Morris, Smith. Unused substitutes: Worner, Brown, Pulis, Vincenti.