Report: Brighton 3-0 Wednesday
The Amex Stadium
14/9/12 - 7.45pm
Wednesday slipped to their second Championship defeat on the spin as Brighton and Hove Albion put the below-par Owls to the sword at the Amex Stadium on Friday night.
Wayne Bridge had fired the Seagulls into a first-half lead before two goals in four minutes, from Craig Mackail-Smith and Will Buckley, sealed the win for Gus Poyet's men to send them top-of-the-table and leave the Owls with a long journey back to South Yorkshire.
Dave Jones's men were second best throughout and the Owls boss will be looking for a big improvement when Huddersfield Town make the trip to Hillsborough for a Yorkshire derby next Wednesday.
Jones included new signings Martin Taylor and Jay Bothroyd in the starting eleven while Joe Mattock was given his first competitive start for the Owls against his former club.
Wednesday started brightly enough, and tested Brighton goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak early on with Jermaine Johnson and Rhys McCabe having long-range efforts dealt with.
But the hosts soon started to stamp their authority on the game and should have taken the lead in the 15th minute only for Chris Kirkland to come to Wednesday's rescue with a fine save to deny Buckley when through on goal.
Their next real chance came ten minutes later and it resulted in a goal, albeit in somewhat fortunate circumstances.
Former Chelsea and England full-back Wayne Bridge lofted in a free-kick and it took a wicked deflection off McCabe, wrong-footing Kirkland and finding its way into the back of the net.
Goals change games, and the Seagulls built on their opener by controlling possession and limiting Wednesday to any chances on their goal to level the scores.
The floodgates didn't open - Wednesday defended well as the hosts looked to add a second, but Brighton were in full control.
They could have doubled their lead before half-time but Kirkland again produced a good save, this time to deny Ashley Barnes.
Half-Time: Brighton 1-0 Wednesday
Jones made his first change at the interval, eager to change the flow of the game, with Rodri being replaced by new signing Ross Barkley, who arrived from Everton earlier in the day.
His impact was immediate, with the highly-rated youngster forcing an early save from Kuszczak, an early warning shot as the visitors looked to grab the next crucial goal.
But Poyet's men hit Wednesday with a sucker-punch of two goals in four-minutes to all-but seal the points.
First, Bruno Salter provided former Peterborough man Mackail-Smith with an easy tap-in on 54 minutes then, just minutes later, the same provider put Buckley in to make it 3-0 to the hosts and leave the Owls wondering just what had hit them.
Things could have got worse for Wednesday with Kirkland producing another top-drawer save to deny Mackail-Smith his second of the night.
The Owls did at least have the chance for a consolation goal, and a first for the on-loan Bothroyd, but the QPR man saw his powerful header superbly saved by Kuszczak to keep the Brighton clean sheet in tact.
Full-Time: Brighton 3-0 Wednesday
Brighton: Kuszczak, Saltor, Greer, Hammond, El-Abd, Barnes (Lopez 81), Mackail-Smith (Dobbie 70), Dicker, Bridcutt, Bridge, Buckley (Orlandi 76). Unused substitutes: Ankergren, Dunk, Calderon, LuaLua.
Wednesday: Kirkland, Mattock, Taylor, Llera, Beevers, Antonio, Semedo, J Johnson (Pecnik 61), Rodri (Barkley 46) Bothroyd (Madine 87). Unused substitutes: Bywater, Lee, Maguire, O`Grady.