Palace 2-1 Wednesday
Selhurst Park, London
15/12/07 - 15:00
SUPER-SUB Sean Scannell nicked a dramatic late winner to give Palace all three points and leave Wednesday with a long trip back up to South Yorkshire, with Neil Warnock getting one over his former rivals at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
The Owls will have felt they deserved a point on their second half performance, which saw a number of chances come and go in front of goal, but were left to return to the drawing board following their last minute defeat.
Owls boss Brian Laws was hoping for strike pair Akpo Sodje and Deon Burton to both pass late fitness tests, but the duo were unable to make the trip to the capital, leaving Jermaine Johnson in an attacking role alongside Marcus Tudgay up front.
The Eagles had seen their fortunes changed under the guidance of Warnock in the last few weeks and their in-form confidence was there for all to see as the started the brighter of the two teams, Clinton Morrison forcing Lee Grant in to a comfortable first save of the match.
But despite Palace's early pressure on the makeshift Owls' defence, it was Wednesday who broke the deadlock after just 11 minutes through Richard Hinds' second goal of the season.
It was Frank Simek, making his 100th start in the famous blue and white strikes who saw his effort from the edge of the box well saved by Julian Speroni, but Hinds followed up in the right place at the right time to find the back of the net at the second time of asking and send the travelling Wednesday fans in to hysterics.
The goal came very much against the run of play and Palace continued to push for the leveller after Hinds' strike, although Wednesday's case wasn't made any easier after Frank Simek was taken off with a bad injury to be replaced by Lee Bullen at right-back.
But the turning point in the clash came in three first half minutes when Wednesday failed to take the chance to double their advantage and the hosts immediately went down to the other end and levelled.
Marcus Tudgay broke free of the Palace offside trap and was storming towards the Palace goal before hesitating and attempting to square the ball to the on-coming Glenn Whelan who saw his resulting effort well blocked and cleared to safety by the Palace defence.
And from the break, Clinton Morrison re-directed a bullet header by the helpless Grant to level for the hosts with five minutes still to spare in the first half.
Half-Time: Palace 1-1 Wednesday
The scoreline was perhaps a fair reflection on the first half proceedings, but Wednesday will be left wondering how they didn't get anything from the long journey south as they improved for the second 45 and enjoyed the better of the play.
The restart saw a relatively slow opening from both sides but it was Wednesday who enjoyed the first clear-cut chance in front of goal as Speroni was forced in to a superb save to deny sub Bullen.
The neat one-two between Bullen and Tudgay sparked some new life in to the Owls, and they had an even better chance to regain their advantage minutes later as Jermaine Johnson saw an effort scrape the Palace bar and go to safety as the stubborn Palace defence held firm.
The chances brought the Owls' best spell of pressure in the game, but it wasn't long before Warnock's Eagles found a way back in to the game with 20 minutes remaining.
David Martin forced Grant in to a fine save on 71 minutes while at the other end Wednesday still posed a threat with Steve Watson having a good effort on goal after some neat build-up play.
Wednesday felt they could have stepped up and won the game in the dying minutes as the Owls waved for a penalty for a foul on Burton O'Brien, but the referee waved on and ultimately saw Palace go down the other end and bag all three points.
Tom Soares found a way through the Wednesday defence and forced a fine save from the in-form Grant between the sticks, before substitute Scannell popped up to make sure at the second attempt.
Full-Time: Palace 2-1 Wednesday
Wednesday: Grant; Simek (Bullen 28), Hinds, M Johnson, Spurr; Whelan, Watson, O'Brien; J Johnson, Tudgay, Small (Esajas 90). Subs not used: Beevers, Folly, Lunt.
Palace: Speroni; Buttefield, Lawrence, Hudson, Hill; Soares, Derry, Watson (Martin 69), Songo'o (Scannell 57); Morrison (Fletcher 90), Scowcroft. Subs not used: Freedman, Hills.