Date: 3rd May 2009 at 4:59pm
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Wednesday finished the season with a win and ended Cardiff’s play-off hopes in a scrappy game at Hillsborough on Sunday.

Jermaine Johnson’s second half strike was enough to seal the points for the Owls and push them up to finish the campaign in the top half of the table above near rivals Doncaster Rovers.

The Owls had nothing but pride to play for going into the game and all the pressure was on the Bluebirds – who needed just a point to secure a play-off finish.

But Dave Jones’ men have suffered an almost catastrophic collapse, after being within a shout of an automatic spot on Easter Monday before enduring a terrible spell which eventually saw them slip out of the top six on the final day.

Brian Laws was forced into changes from the side that drew at Bristol City last weekend with Jermaine Johnson and James O’Connor replacing the injured Leon Clarke and Etienne Esajas respectively.

Laws also put Luke Boden and Nathan Modest on the bench with his resources stretched, with both making an appearance in the season finale.

The scene was set for a day to remember, with the sun shining on the near-sell out home crowd, and a decent following from Wales making for a good atmosphere at Hillsborough.

A rallying call from chairman Lee Strafford came prior to kick-off, with season ticket sales the subject of his speech, but the next 45 minutes that followed would surely have failed to give any Wednesdayites much reason to stump up the cash for next term.

The Owls struggled to create many clear-cut chances, with the Bluebirds understandably looking the more dangerous, although Lee Grant was also a relative spectator for much of the first half.

Richard Wood was forced to slice a Peter Whittingham cross behind for a corner as the visitors looked the more lively in the opening, which Dave Jones’ men had the majority of the possession in.

The Owls struggled at the other end, but in Jermaine Johnson have an attacker who can always cause the opposing defence problems in abundance.

His turn and run towards the Cardiff goal resulted in the Jamaican international being hauled down en route to goal to give the Owls good position which Darren Potter duly wasted from the resulting free-kick.

The first clear-cut chance of the half came 20 minutes in when Richard Wood mis-judged a long ball forward and former Newcastle United hitman Michael Chopra found space to flash a shot straight at Grant.

Wednesday were able to create a few half chances in attack but more often than not the Owls’ frontmen were being caught offside to the frustration of the majority inside S6.

The Owls’ first real chance came when top scorer Marcus Tudgay took advantage of some hesitancy from Cardiff ‘keeper Tom Heaton and saw his powerful effort turned behind for a corner.

Wednesday fans had a scare minutes later when they thought the referee had pointed to the spot for an alleged foul inside the box, but instead the man in black pointed for a goal-kick despite protests from the visitors.

The Bluebirds had a golden opportunity to take the lead at just the right time on the stroke of half-time when tall defender Roger Johnson saw his header come back off the woodwork and Darren Purse smashed the rebound over the bar when he should have done better from six yards out.

Half-Time: Wednesday 0-0 Cardiff

The Owls made one change at the interval with Mark Beevers coming on to replace Richard Hinds in the centre of defence.

And, although coming on to shore up the defence, his powerful run down the pitch resulted in Francis Jeffers teeing up Tudgay who fired his effort just over the bar.

Cardiff only needed a point from the game to secure their play-off spot but they started to up the tempo shortly after the resumption in a bid to take the lead and avoid any potential upset at missing out of the top six.

City had their best spell of the match for a good 15 minutes when they were almost camped in the Wednesday half and the Owls wasted chance after chance to relieve the pressure.

Chopra and Jay Bothroyd both saw chances come and go for Dave Jones’ men as the Wednesday defence coped relatively well with all the visitors had to throw at them.

Wednesday weathered the storm, and in turn started to cause some problems of their own at the other end.

Of course, some Owls’ fans thoughts were elsewhere with Sheffield United in with a chance of promotion should they win at Crystal Palace and Birmingham fall to defeat at Reading, and the Hillsborough scoreboard was keeping the fans entertained with score updates.

The biggest cheer of the match so far came with the news that Birmingham were leading 2-1 at Reading and the good vibes in the stands almost seem to inspire the team.

Tudgay had Wednesday’s best chance of the match when Johnson’s deep cross found his head but the Owls’ top scorer headed agonisingly across the face of goal when he should have at least tested the goalkeeper.

But while Wednesday failed to look as though they were going to find the decisive goal, along came Johnson with what surely must be the best finish of the season.

With all respect to the jet-heeled winger, his efforts seemed to have found the back of the stands rather than the back of the net this season.

But he saved his best for the last game of the season, firing a half-volley by Heaton and into the back of the net on 71 minutes after the Cardiff defence failed to deal with a Luke Boden cross.

The Owls’ tails were up and it could have been 2-0 not long after after Johnson was felled outside the box and Potter drifted a free-kick just over the bar.

Substitute Boden also had a good chance to seal the win for the hosts when Johnson’s far-post cross found the youngster unmarked but his effort also went agonisingly across the face of goal and just wide.

Cardiff looked to have nothing left in the tank, but hesitancy at the back from the hosts almost gifted them a leveller when Grant was caught off his line but Roger Johnson lifted his lob too far over the bar to the disappointment of the travelling Cardiff fans in Leppings Lane.

And the somewhat strange five minutes of added time given by the fourth official failed to bring any further cause for concern for Wednesday as they saw out stoppage time to finish the season on a high and leave the Bluebirds with their heads in their arms.

Full-Time: Wednesday 1-0 Cardiff

Wednesday: Grant, Buxton, Hinds (Beevers 46), Wood, Spurr, McAllister (Modest 83), Potter, O’Connor, Johnson, Tudgay, Jeffers (Boden 53). Subs Not Used: O’Donnell, Simek.

Cardiff: Heaton, McNaughton, Purse, Roger Johnson, Kennedy (Comminges 50), Burke (Owusu-Abeyie 74), Rae, McPhail, Whittingham, Bothroyd, Chopra (McCormack 67). Subs Not Used: Eddie Johnson, Scimeca.