Wolves 2-1 Wednesday
29/01/08 - 19:45
Wednesday slumped to a crushing last-minute defeat against promotion-hopefuls Wolves on Tuesday night as Sylvan Ebanks-Blake bagged a last-minute winner in a drab affair at Molinuex.
Owls boss Brian Laws made just the one change to the side that crashed out of the FA Cup on penalties to Derby County last week, with the then cup-tied Ronnie Wallwork coming back in to the centre of the Wednesday midfield alongside Glenn Whelan with Steve Watson out with a hamstring injury.
Although Wednesday had a free weekend, Wolves came in to the clash on the back of a superb 4-1 victory away at promotion hopefuls Watford in the FA Cup on Saturday and their renewed confidence showed in the early exchanges.
Former Scunthorpe man Andy Keogh, who worked under Laws at Glanford Park, bagged a brace at the weekend with a top-notch performance and the forward hit the woodwork twice in as many minutes as the hosts got off to a blistering start and Wednesday were left wondering what hit them.
But the Owls did get back in to the clash after the early Wolves on-slaught, and carved out a chance of their own on five minutes as Wade Small broke free of his marker and sent an effort crashing just wide of Wayne Hennessy's goal.
But it was the hosts who made the early breakthrough through that man Keogh, who made no attempt with his third attempt at Lee Grant's goal as he played a neat one-two with new signing Sylvan Ebanks-Blake before firing home after eleven minutes to the delight of the Molinuex faithful.
As if the Owls weren't already under the cosh, the goal gave Mick McCarthy's men a further confidence boost and it was a case of all hands to the pump for the relatively inexperienced Wednesday defence, who coped relatively well with all the hosts had to throw at them.
And Wednesday were rewarded just eight minutes later as a rare Owls attack resulted in a defensive error at the back to allow Marcus Tudgay to steal in an grab a somewhat unexpected leveller for the Owls and give them the boost they desperately needed on a previously lacklustre night.
But the Owls' attack failed to carve out any further chances hot on the heels of Tudgay, and it was the hosts who got straight back on the front foot as David Edwards forced Grant in to two strong saved from powerful efforts.
The Owls' will no doubt have been the happier of the two sides going in to the break, although Laws will have had a lot to say to his troops if they were to continue to withstand the hosts' pressure.
Half-Time: Wolves 1-1 Wednesday
Burton O'Brien was brought on to replace Jermaine Johnson at the interval, a move defensive approach from the Owls gaffer it seemed, and the second half started with chances coming few and far between for both sides.
Maybe the Owls will have been happy with the slow first 15 minutes of the second half and they could, and probably should, have been a lot happier as Akpo Sodje raced by Hennessy in the Wolves goal after latching on to a Small pass, but he lost his footing and somehow the Wolves stopper was able to gather the ball.
Former Luton man David Edwards was causing Wednesday problems at the back and he almost put the hosts back in front when the Owls defence looked to be sleeping when he broke through but his tame effort was easily collected by Grant.
But 20 minutes in to the second half Wednesday suffered a further blow when Akpo Sodje was stretchered off the pitch to be replaced by Deon Burton, with the former Derby man desperate to prove his worth alongside Tudgay in the Owls' attack.
The second half was much of a drab affair for both sets of fans in the 22,000-plus crowd, but Wade Small almost gave the travelling army of Wednesday fans something to cheer when he fired a powerful shot at Hennessy in the final minute.
But the Owls' travelled back north with nothing to show for their efforts after Ebanks-Blake fired home from close range after Jay Bothroyd headed back Michael Gray's corner to give the hosts all three points.
Final Score: Wolves 2-1 Wednesday
Wolves: Hennessey, Ward, Collins, Henry, Keogh, Jarvis, Elliott, Edwards, Ebanks-Blake, Foley, Gray. Substitutes: Stack, Bothroyd, Edwards, Potter, Jones.
Wednesday: Grant; Bullen, Hinds, Beevers, Spurr; Johnson, Whelan, Wallwork, Small; Sodje, Tudgay. Substitutes: Gilbert, Wood, Burton, O'Brien, Boden.