Notts County 1-2 Wednesday
Meadow Lane, Nottingham
16/3/12 - 3pm
Wednesday enjoyed a great day at Meadow Lane as they left with three points against Notts County to move level on points with second-placed Sheffield United, who could only manage a draw at home against Tranmere Rovers.
Goals from Ryan Lowe and Gary Madine were enough to lead the Owls to a third win from as many games under the leadership of Dave Jones. Former Owls loanee Lloyd Sam pulled a goal back late on for the hosts but Wednesday held out for three crucial points.
Jones had enjoyed comprehensive home wins against Bury and Bournemouth before his first trip away with the Owls, and he named the same starting eleven for the third game on the spin against a County side that were in fine form going into the contest.
The game was, on paper, one of the Owls' toughest between now and the end of the season, something highlighted when Keith Curle's men carved out the first chance on goal just two minutes in, former Sheffield United man Jon Harley firing high over the bar.
Curle was unbeaten as Magpies boss before the match and the hosts were understandably buzzing early on, largely thanks to their impressive 4-2 win at leaders Charlton Athletic last weekend.
The Owls hit back and Rob Jones headed over the bar from a Mike Jones cross. It proved to be Jones's final contribution, however, with the defender being replaced by Miguel Llera after suffering an injury.
It was pretty even as the half progressed but Wednesday started to take some kind of control as the half drew to a close. Michail Antonio started to look more threatening out wide and he fired into the side netting after latching on to a long Gary Madine ball.
Julian Bennett then got on the end of the long Antonio throw but saw his shot blocked by a County defender as the referee called half-time.
Half-Time: Notts County 0-0 Wednesday
Wednesday needed to continue their momentum in the second half - and they did just that.
It resulted in the opening goal eight minutes after the restarted. Antonio carved out the chance, waltzing beyond his marker before providing the cross for Lowe to apply a delicate touch and see the ball nestle into the back of the net.
It sent the near-5,000 travelling Wednesdayites along the side of the pitch crazy and gave the visitors a huge lift.
Danny Batth had to deny Jeff Hughes a good chance immediately after the restart but Wednesday continued to be in control, Llera seeing a free-kick tipped wide before Madine doubled the visitors' advantage.
Lewis Buxton found the Owls leading marksman and Madine got beyond his marker at the edge of the box before firing a powerful low effort into the back of the net.
The Owls were cruising and it could have been game, set and match when substitute Chris O'Grady, on for Lowe, almost took advantage of a poor clearance from the County goalkeeper only to see his shot blocked by a defender.
In typical Wednesday fashion, the Magpies were to make it a tense finish when debutant Sam, on-loan from Leeds United, halved the deficit. But, despite four minutes' added time, the Owls held out for three points.
Full-Time: Notts County 1-2 Wednesday
Notts County: Nelson, Sheehan, Bishop (Bencherif 84), J Hughes, Judge, Forte, Freeman, Harley (Sam 58), Chilvers, Mahon (Burgess 67), Stewart. Unused substitutes: Burch, Pearce.
Wednesday: Bywater, Buxton, R Jones (Llera 17), Batth, Bennett, M Jones (Prutton 84), Semedo, Lines, Antonio, Lowe (O'Grady 75), Madine. Unused substitutes: Jameson, Morrison.