Date: 5th April 2009 at 9:00pm
Written by:

Wednesday continued their impressive form on the road of late with victory over relegation threatened Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Jermaine Johnson’s deflected second half effort was the difference between the two teams, although the hosts were left to rue a controversial late decision to rule out what would have been a leveller for the hosts – it’s safe to say boss Bryan Gunn wasn’t best pleased.

Nevertheless, Wednesday were well worthy of all three points, missing a hatful of chances and playing some good football against a pretty poor looking City side.

Owls boss Brian Laws made just the one change to the side that drew 0-0 with Swansea City last time out, with loanee Luke Varney getting his first start in the blue and white stripes, James O’Connor dropping to the bench.

Richard Hinds was rewarded for his fine displays at the back by keeping his place at the expense of Mark Beevers, who again started on the bench alongside the returning Akpo Sodje.

City were desperate for all three points, especially from their home matches, as they look to fend off relegation to League One – and recent results for the Canaries proved victory was going to be no easy feat for the Owls.

But Brian Laws and his troops were in no mood to lie down and die in the closing stages of the season, despite looking comfortable in mid-table going into the clash.

And they proved just that with an impressive opening at a sun-drenched full house at Carrow Road.

The Owls made the early in-roads into the Norwich defence, forcing a number of early corners to put the hosts on the back foot from the word go – and continuing it throughout the half.

Midfielder Darren Potter enjoyed one of his better games since his loan move from Wolves, pulling the strings and being involved throughout in the centre of midfield, and forming a good partnership with the battling Sean McAllister.

Jermaine Johnson, although to prove the hero, didn’t enjoy one such day, having a tough time against the home defence.

But in Luke Varney, the Owls have another player in the mould of Marcus Tudgay who can play out wide or in attack, and this attribute, as well as being impressive in his passing, heading, and shooting up front, proved key.

His partnership with Francis Jeffers too, although Jeffers not enjoying much luck, looked promising in spells with some neat one-two touches and intelligent play which caused a number of problems to the Norwich back four.

Varney indeed found the back of the net, only for the effort to be ruled out for an earlier infringement, while Tudgay also came close as Wednesday started the stronger.

Sammy Clingan had the best early chance for the hosts, with chances coming few and far between as Lee Grant looked relatively comfortable in between the sticks for Wednesday.

The best chance for the visitors came from Tudgay, playing out wide on the right, when he forced David Marshall to brilliantly tip his effort just wide of goal in emphatic style.

Wednesday were producing some of the best passing seen from Wednesdayites this season in an encouraging first half, and Brian Laws may well have been disappointed that his men didn’t take the lead into the half-time interval.

Half-Time: Norwich 0-0 Wednesday

With chances coming few and far between to a Norwich side that were desperate for maximum spoils, it seemed almost inevitable that the Canaries would get more into the game on the resumption.

But Wednesday continued to control in the opening exchanges of the second 45.

And that was repaid when, on 48 minutes, Johnson found some space at the edge of the box to fire Wednesday into an advantage they deserved before City could get into their stride.

A deep cross found the Jamaican international unmarked at the edge of the box and he stepped inside his men before lashing an effort which deflected by Marshall and into the back of the net.

The goal gave Wednesday an even bigger confidence lift and they could, and should, have doubled their lead to make things a lot more comfortable for the 1400 travelling army of fans.

Varney, who continued to impress with his skill and work ethic, came closest to that second goal for the Owls when he flashed an effort just wide of goal just after the hour mark.

City had to have a spell of pressure at some point and that came as the game came into its final 20 minutes, with the visitors pretty comfortable on their lead beforehand.

Former Blackpool loanee Alan Gow saw a good effort loop just over the Wednesday defence and crossbar, and the introduction of Alan Lee gave the crowd, at least, a timely boost.

The former Rotherham United man, on loan at Carrow Road, threw his weight around immediately after his introduction and got the home crowd going for the first time in the match, and in turn raising the performance of the men in green and white on the pitch.

Lee had claims for a penalty kick waved away before a Norwich player got involved with Richard Wood, with the Owls skipper seemingly pushing a Norwich forward to the ground, causing a mini skirmish.

Indeed, City thought they’d levelled with the game drawing to a close when Mooney looked to have headed the effort over the line, but the linesman and referee adjudged Lee Grant to be fouled in the build up.

That was to be the hosts final push on goal, despite four minutes of added time, and despite a late blow to the visitors in the sending off of Tommy Spurr for a second, and deserved, bookable offence in the last minute of play.

Full-Time: Norwich 0-1 Wednesday