The Owls slumped to their first away defeat of the season in Paul Sturrock’s 100th game in charge of Wednesday with a 2-1 defeat at a rejuvinated Hull City on Friday night.
Barnsley-born Jon parkin netted both goals for the Tigers in a frantic start to the match which saw Wednesday take the lead through a dubious Deon Burton spot-kick in front of the travelling Wednesday fans.
Owls boss Paul Sturrock reverted to the same starting line-up from the Southend United match last weekend by dropping Chris Brunt to the bench on place of Steve Adams, who returned to partner Glenn Whelen in the centre of the Owls midfield. Deon Burton continued alongside Marcus Tudgay in attack.
Paul Sturrock’s men got off to a superb start as they attacked towards the travelling Wednesday army with some neat passing which kept the hosts penned back in their own half. And after two successive corners the Owls won a penalty to open the scoring.
Burton O’Briens in-swinging cross was met by a swarm of players at the edge of the box. And new-signing Danny Mills jumped with Deon Burton when an arm hit the ball and the referee had no hesitation in pointing the spoint.
But replays showed it wasn’t Mills who was the guilty party, but in fact Burton had handled. Neverthless, Burton was in no mood to look the gift horse in the mouth and smartly slotted the ball by Boaz Myhill to give the Owls the lead after four minutes.
But the Owls lead didn’t last for long as the penalty decision spurred on the Tigers to continue their impressive week with another three points, their first of the season on home soil, against their rivals.
Craig Fagan picked up a loose ball at the edge of the box and looped a dangerous cross on to the head of Jon Parkin who got in front of Madjid Bougherra and smashed the ball by Brad Jones to level the scores for the hosts.
And Wednesday could hardly catch breathe as the goal spurred Hull on to push forward and trap the Owls inside their own half. Craig Fagan again provided the ammo and Parkin doubled his tally for the evening as he turned and smashed home a superb volley to turn the game on its head.
Wednesday were finding it hard going in the first half against a Hull side full of character and confidence. Youngster Tommy Spurr was having an especially hard time against the experienced Fagan on the Owls left-hand side, and the Owls only route from defence to attack seemed to be the long ball.
And Michael Bridges nearly topped his brilliant midweek winner at Leciester City when his neat footwork saw him pass three Owls defenders before letting the Owls off the hook by firing over Brad Jones’ goal.
Wednesday were thankful for the half-time whistle, but with the introduction of Kenny Lunt for Steve Adams at the break the Owls were a different team in the second half.
The started in similar fashion to the first half by pushing Hull back with some good pressure and neat passing. But despite lots of Wednesday possession play they failed to create any real clear-cut chances for Boaz Myhill to deal with.
Marcus Tudgay saw a powerful left-footed volley turned away by Myhill. And the introdcution of Chris Brunt with 20 minutes to go kept the highly-rated Hull stopper on his feet with a number of long-range efforts on goal.
The Owls were getting closer and it was a case of all hands to the pump for the Hull defence as the minutes ticked by. Marcus Tudgay came inches away from levelling for Wednesday with a superb over-head kick which left Myhill rooted to the spot.
As 90 minutes approached many Hull fans could have been forgiven for thinking their side had picked up their first three points of the season on home soil but after the fourth official put up five minutes of stoppage time the Tigers fans soon took their seats again.
And Wednesday continued pressing for the equaliser, and Tudgay had the best chance of the game with minutes remaining on the clock. The Hull box was crammed full of players but the former Derby man somehow controlled it and sent a left-foot effort towards goal only for Myhill to produce a fine save.
It was to be the Owls final effort, and the hosts could have wrapped up the victory as Danny Mills broke free on the counter-attack with sub Nicky Barmby, but the latter’s shot was well saved low from Brad Jones.
The defeat leaves the Owls too near the relegation zone for comfort after picking up no wins in four matches. And with derby County up next week to Hillsboorugh, followed by a daunting trip to face Roy Keane’s Sunderland, it was a match the Owls could have really done with the points from.
After starting his SWFC career well, he fills fans with fear whenever a cross comes near him. Looks to flap everytime, or punch.
One of the few Owls to come through the game with any credit. Man of the match.
His poorest game for the Owls thus far. Really struggled against Fagan on the right and was often caught dozing when the rest of the defence would push for offside.
Partly at fault for Hull’s first goal when he let Parkin shuffle in front of him. Showed better promise in the second half with some cool play.
Tried his best to hold the defence together, but not a night to remember for the Owls defence.
Burton O’Who? I didn’t even notice he was on the pitch until he switched to left back late on!
Linked some of the Owls play well but never came up with an end product – too many long balls forward.
Looked to struggled on his return from injury but I’m sure as his fitness improves he will become a valuable member of the squad.
Looked the one Owls player capable of breaking down the Hull defence with his fast-paced mazy runs.
Threatened Boaz Myhill with a few half chances in the second half including a cracking left-footed volley from the edge of the box. Had the Owls’ best chance late-on but his effort was well saved.
Scored his first of the season from the spot but never looked a threat to the Hull defence against a tough Danny Mills. Held the ball up well on occassions but still need full fitness.
Looked a tidy player when he came on and linked the play up well.
Played a lot better than of late, with a few decent efforts on goal. Linked the play up well.
Did little to change the game.
Paul Sturrock told the official SWFC site:
‘Our defence has been our pride and joy but tonight, for the first 45 minutes, they didn’t come to the show. For the first goal our central defender waited for the ball to come to him and for the second we left their striker in acres of space. It’s so unlike us.’
Phil Parkinson told BBC Sport:
‘That was the best all-round performance I’ve seen from Jon. People look at him and think he’s just a good 6ft 4in target man – but technically he’s very good as well.
‘His two goals were outstanding and then he was playing in defence at the end and closing people down. That typified him. and there’s no way I can drop him now.’