Wednesday 1-0 Hull City
22/09/07 - 15:00
It was lucky number seven for Wednesday as Francis Jeffers' long-range effort bagged the Owls their first points of the season against a lacklustre Hull side at Hillsborough on Saturday.
Wednesday were desperate to put an end to their disastrous start to the season which had seen them lose a record-breaking six games on the bounce, and Jeffers' strike was enough against an in-form Hull side which included former Bolton man Jay Jay Okocha in their starting eleven.
Owls boss Brian Laws made a number of changes to the side that lost against Burnley in midweek following the loan arrivals of Graham Kavanagh from Sunderland and Michael Johnson from Derby.
The duo both went straight in to the starting line-up as the expense of Wade Small and Kenny Lunt respectively while Akpo Sodje lost his place to Deon Burton in the Wednesday attack.
The Tigers came in to the clash on the back of a superb victory over Wolves at Molineux in midweek and they made the more impressive start to the local derby as Bryan Hughes saw his cross turned out for a corner by Owls stopper Lee Grant before the same player headed over from an Okocha cross.
The Owls boss had decided to start with the experienced Steve Watson on the right hand side of midfield despite the availability of Wade Small, and the decision was to prove fruitful as the Owls midfield limited time on the ball for the creative flair of Okocha in the middle of the park.
Phil Brown's men continued to push forward but the Owls defence held firm for the first time this season as Dean Marney saw a long-range effort comfortably held by Grant before Whelan cleared a Hughes header off the line to the relief of the majority of the near 22,000 crowd at S6.
And the Owls fans were to play a major part in the victory by acting as a 12th man and getting behind the team throughout the match.
Probably the best chance for the hosts in the first half came through 'fox in the box' Jeffers after Frank Simek went on a typical mazy run towards the goal and was brought down on the edge of the box under a challenge from Ian Ashbee.
Jeffers stepped up to take the free-kick but he sent his effort just wide of Boaz Myhill's goal.
And Simek was again the creator as he took on two City players en-route to goal and launched a powerful effort straight down the throat of the City stopper as the Owls looked for a first-half breakthrough.
And that came just before the break through the best link-up play of the match.
A neat one-two between Jeffers and strike-partner Burton saw the former Everton man latch on to the ball at the edge of the box and launch a superb effort over the hapless Myhill and in to the back of the net to the delight of the Scouser who promptly got booked for taking his shirt off.
The goal couldn't have come at a better time for the Owls as they took their slender advantage in to the break.
Half-Time: Wednesday 1-0 Hull
Owls boss Laws, subject of some abuse from the visiting fans for his association with near neighbours Scunthorpe, was forced to change his hand at the break with former Hull utility man Richard Hinds come on to replace Tommy Spurr, with Richard Wood moving to left-back.
And the confidence taken from Jeffers' first-half strike gave a visible lift to the Owls, with Graham Kavanagh firing an effort high and wide of Myhill's goal minutes after the restart.
The game was being played in the middle third for the majority of the second half with the Owls looking towards passion and determination to get them through to the final whistle.
Marcus Tudgay came on to replace winning goalscorer Jeffers just after the hour mark while Steve Watson also went off, and handed the captain's armband to Wood, to be replaced by Wade Small.
Hull were being limited to long-range efforts and it was no surprise that Okocha was the man to fire a low effort which was comfortably saved by Grant.
Stephen McPhee came closest for the Tigers as the substitute saw his effort brilliantly blocked by Johnson after a neat through-ball by Okocha.
And the Derby loanee showed the passion that got the Owls through, with a lunging header where others wouldn't usually put their foot to clear the danger as Hull upped the gear to try and get something from the match.
Wednesday did have the chance to make the game safe as Small's powerful effort came crashing back off the woodwork but Wednesday held on to bag their first points of the season.
Full-Time: Wednesday 1-0 Hull
Wednesday: Lee Grant, Glenn Whelan, Francis Jeffers (Tudgay 61), Deon Burton, Etienne Esajas, Richard Wood, Steve Watson (Small 77), Frank Simek, Michael Johnson, Tommy Spurr (Hinds 46), Graham Kavanagh. Subs: Robert Burch, Richard Hinds, Marcus Tudgay, Wade Small, Akpo Sodje.
Hull: Boaz Myhill, Sam Ricketts, Michael Turner, Wayne Brown, Damien Delaney, Richard Garcia, Ian Ashbee, Dean Marney (McPhee 66), Bryan Hughes (Livermore 84), Jay-Jay Okocha, Michael Bridges (Pedersen 58). Subs: Tom Woodhead, Andy Dawson, David Livermore, Henrik Pedersen, Stephen McPhee.
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