Wednesday 0-1 Charlton Athletic
14/1/12 - 3pm
Wednesday fell to their first home defeat of the season and slipped down to fourth in the npower League One table as leaders Charlton Athletic left fortress Hillsborough with all three points.
Johnnie Jackson's superb first-half free-kick was the difference between the sides in a tight match in chilly conditions in S6.
The Addicks became the first side to leave Hillsborough victorious this season and the win put them in pole position for automatic promotion, with second place very much up for grabs.
Owls boss Gary Megson rung the changes following the 1-0 FA Cup win over West Ham last weekend. Striker Gary Madine was a surprise starter after recovering from injury, while new signing Mike Jones started on the right wing. Ben Marshall played his last game, for now at least, on-loan from Stoke City.
It was an open start to proceedings, although the visitors got the first sniff of goal when Bradley Wright-Phillips, their biggest attacking threat, forced Owls goalkeeper Nicky Weaver into a save at his near post.
The Owls settled into gear and started to have more of the ball in the Addicks half but they could create little in the way of good chances in front of goal.
That was until the 15th minute when Chris Lines will have felt he should have done better with a glorious chance. Chris O'Grady did well down the left to get beyond his marker before producing a dangerous low cross that fell to Lines. He had the goal at his mercy but a Charlton defender got in the way of a tame shot to clear the danger.
It was a chance Lines, and the Owls, were to rue just before the half-hour mark when the visitors grabbed the lead somewhat out of the blue.
Reda Johnson gave away a careless free-kick outside the box and it gave Jackson the chance to step up and curl a superb shot into the top corner of Weaver's goal to give Chris Powell's men the lead.
Despite the setback the Owls continued to threaten in front of goal, and perhaps looked even more dangerous after going behind. Lines and Reda Johnson both saw chances go into the hands of Charlton stopper Ben Hamer.
The talking point at half-time was, however, a strike by Madine that found the back of the net on the stroke of the interval, but also found the linesman's flag raised, resulting in the referee chalking off the effort.
Half-Time: Wednesday 0-1 Charlton
The Owls finished the first half strongly and will have been keen to carry the momentum into the second period with the aim of getting on level terms as soon as possible.
Instead, the Londoners could have extended their lead just minutes after the restart when Wright-Phillips found himself in a great position.
The former Plymouth Argyle man shrugged off the challenges of two Wednesday defenders and was left with just Weaver to beat, but the Owls number one produced a brilliant save.
The game turned somewhat scrappy shortly after Charlton's chance, something which will have probably suited the visitors.
With that in mind, Megson made a double substitution just after the hour mark, bringing on Ryan Lowe and Miguel Llera for Madine and Jones respectively and switching to a 3-5-2 formation.
It didn't work, and while the Owls still pushed forward for the leveller they left themselves open at the back to the counter-attack. Charlton's pace in attack caused the Owls' defence problems throughout and Powell's men carved out a couple of good chances which went bagging.
The last throw of the dice saw Clinton Morrison come on for Ben Marshall, who had a relatively quiet game by his high standards. The winger clapped all sides of Hillsborough on his departure, and his final game for the Owls for now.
The Owls threw everything at their visitors in the last ten minutes but Charlton held firm - even when Morrison had a chance cleared off the line late on.
Full-Time: Wednesday 0-1 Charlton
Wednesday: Weaver, Otsemobor, R Jones, Batth, R Johnson, M Jones (Lowe 64), Semedo, Lines, Marshall (Morrison 74), O'Grady, Madine (Llera 64). Unused substitutes: Bywater, Prutton.
Charlton: Hamer, Jackson, Morrison, Taylor, Green (Russell 72), Wright-Phillips (Clarke 75), Wiggins, Pritchard (Cort 90), Solly, Hollands, Kermorgant. Unused substitutes: Sullivan, Stephens.