Scunthorpe United 1-3 Wednesday
Glanford Park, Scunthorpe
24/01/12 - 7.45pm
Wednesday moved level on points with Huddersfield Town and Sheffield United in joint second by winning their game in hand 3-1 at Scunthorpe United.
A first-half brace from Chris O'Grady got the Owls going before Jermaine Johnson added a third early in the second half. The Iron pulled a goal back through former Blades product Jordan Robertson but the result never looked in doubt.
Owls boss Gary Megson made five changes to the side that drew with Hartlepool United at the weekend with Stephen Bywater, Miguel Llera, Daniel Jones, Jermaine Johnson and Liam Palmer all handed starts.
It was simply a must win for Wednesday to keep pace with Town and the Blades in the hunt for promotion while for Scunthorpe, three points were required to help them battle against relegation.
The Owls couldn't have asked for a better start as the 2,000-plus travelling Owls fans gathered in two stands barely had time to settle into position when O'Grady fired them ahead.
It came after just 47 seconds as Llera produced a pin-point pass to find O'Grady, whose neat first touch allowed him to steer his shot beyond Iron goalkeeper Sam Slocombe and into the back of the net to set the blue and white ball rolling.
The goal gave the visitors, without a league win in two games, a vital boost and the enjoyed the majority of the early possession. Andy Barcham saw a chance come and go for the hosts but it was Wednesday who went on to bag the next goal and double their lead through that man O'Grady.
The Owls won a corner and Chris Lines floated a dangerous ball straight onto the head of O'Grady, who thumped his effort into the back of the net to double Wednesday's lead and put them in cruise control.
The recalled Bywater hardly had a save to make as the Owls pushed forward in search of more goals to cement their dominance. Liam Palmer struck one effort wide from a corner while O'Grady came close to registering a first-half hat-trick when he turned his marker before seeing his effort bounce off the post and behind.
Half-Time: Scunthorpe 0-2 Wednesday
Gary Megson will have no doubt asked for more of the same at the interval and he got exactly that.
The Owls mirrored their impressive start to the match in the second half when jet-heeled Johnson beat his marker before slotting his finish beyond Slocombe to almost put the game beyond doubt.
The match looked over as a contest but, less than ten minutes later, Alan Knill's men pulled a goal back. Robertson, the former Blades man, swooped to head home a Josh Walker corner and give the Iron a lifeline in the 55th minute.
It forced the game to be much more open, something that probably suited Scunthorpe in their search for a leveller but something that gave the Owls a chance to hit their hosts on the break, especially with the pace of Johnson.
The Jamaican was proving a problem for the United defence throughout and he'll have more likely than not won over Megson with his performance.
It was O'Grady, however, who nearly netted the Owls' fourth and his third. This time Slocombe produced a good diving save to deny the former Rochdale man the match ball .
Wednesday had to hold off a few dangerous raids from the hosts late on but Bywater was never really truly threatened and Wednesday comfortably clung on for a big win.
Full-Time: Scunthorpe 1-3 Wednesday
Scunthorpe: Slocombe, Nolan, Togwell, O'Connor (Grant 53), Robertson, Thompson, Walker, Reid, Canavan, Barcham (Duffy 53), Ribeiro (Wright 4). Unused substitutes: Lillis, Mozika.
Wednesday: Bywater, Otsemobor, Batth, Llera, D Jones (Beevers 38), J Johnson (M Jones 90), Lines, Semedo, Palmer, O'Grady, Madine (Morrison 89). Unused substitutes: Weaver, Lowe.