Date: 31st January 2006 at 11:16pm
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Wednesday again failed to turn possession in to goals as Luton Town ran out 2-0 winners on a cold Tuesday night at Hillsborough.

The referee was certainly no help to the Owls’ cause after giving a dubious penalty to the visitors after Rowan Vine fell in the box. As the Owls went forward for the equaliser the Hatters scored their second on the break through Vine.

Paul Sturrock was forced to throw in new signing Yoann Folly after Glenn Whelen was forced out with an injury. Folly sgned on loan for the Owls from Southampton until the end of the season. Leon Best also signed on transfer deadline day on loan until the end of the season. Best was only a substitute as Tudgay and Burton continued in the Owls attack. David Lucas returned in goals after Nicky Weaver’s loan deal ended after the Leeds match.

Paul Sturrock said pre-match that draws are killers in the Championship, and the Owls look to have set their stall out early on when Marcus Tudgay fired wide from the edge of the box within the first couple of minutes.

Luton have been the surprise package of the Championship so far this season, and Mike Newell’s men were certainly giving as good as they were getting. Former Wednesday targets Steve Howard and Carlos Edwards tested the Owls goal before John Hills blocked a Paul Underwood effort.

Wednesday were playing the better football though, and some neat interplay outside the visitors box resulted in a dangerous cross from John Hills which found Richard Wood unmarked in the box. But the defender could only manage a tame effort towards goal.

Hills then nearly saw an effort of his own hit the back of the net but it drifted just over Beresford’s goal. The effort was to be his last impact on the game though, after being forced off with an injury. Loanee Leon Best came on to replace him, with Marcus Tudgay moving on to the wing and Best partnering Burton in attack. Richie Partridge must certainly have been bemused as to why he wasn’t given the opportunity down the wing.

Just before the break Deon Burton had a golden opportunity to put the Owls in front but his tame effort drifted wide of goal.

Wednesday had certainly been the better side in the first half, but Luton game out all guns blazing in the second. They were taking the game to the Owls, and opened the scoring in controversial style.

Rowan Vine seemed to have made a meal of a challenge by Richard Wood when through on goal, but the referee pointed to the spot and Kevin Nicholls put the Hatters 1-0 up.

The goal prompted Sturrock to adapt a more attacking style in a bid to turn the game on it’s head, but the Owls were caught on the counter attack when Vine made it 2-0 with a neat finish.

The Owls were left chasing the game for the remainder of the 90 minutes, and were not helped by some dubious offside decisions – not least when Leon Best found himself through on goal.

Paul Sturrock said it was going to be a dog fight at the start of the season, and sure enough it is. Wednesday fans will be surely looking forward to the return of Steve Maclean and JP McGovern, and wil be hoping the new loanees settle in during the next few weeks.

Player Ratings

Lucas 6
Couldn’t do much for the Luton goals, but obviously needs some time with his back four.

Simek 6
Not one of Frankie’s better games for the Owls.

Gilbert 5
His poorest game in a Wednesday shirt to date. Looked over powered in some situations and his positioning was poor.

Coughlan 7
Owls man of the match.

Wood 6
Made the foul on Vines which gave Luton their opening goal, but coped well with Howard.

Folly 6
Didn’t have much time to gel with his team-mates and you could tell, although he does look like a good prospect.

Brunt 6
Not in the game enough and played out of position for the first half.

O’Brien 5
Too many mis-placed passes, and can only use his left foot!

Hills 6
Didn’t have much time to impress before his injury but created an opportunity and nearly scored one himself.

Tudgay 6
Did OK when played on the right wing.

Burton 6
Desperate to open his account for the Owls, and a neat touch.

Best 6
Needs some matches to get match fit, but looked pacy and strong.

Corr 5
Not much time to impress. Had one chance but took too many touches and shot straight at Beresford.