‘Give the man the job!’ was one cry from an over-the-moon Wednesday fan at 4.50pm on Saturday – but as speculation grows over Brian Laws moving from Scunthorpe to S6, it looks like Sean McAuley’s latest Owls victory is to be his last.
Two superb Marcus Tudgay strikes helped the Owls to their fourth home victory on the bounce – and kept McAuley’s unbeaten record as Wednesday boss in tact as a lacklustre Leicester City fell 2-1 at Hillsborough on Saturday.
And in truth the scoreline flattered Rob Kelly’s men after the Owls were in cruise control after Tudgay’s second – but substitute Matty Fryatt still managed to reduce the deficit and keep tensions high amongst the Hillsborough faithful in the final quarter.
The Owls boss made one change to the side that beat Crystal Palace in midweek with club captain Lee Bullen coming in to replace the injured Graham Coughlan. Brad Jones was to play his final game for the Owls in goal.
Wednesday’s intentions were clear from the off. Forget tactics from the kick-off, just give the ball to Burton and run at pace at the Foxes midfield. And the frantic Owls start set to the tone for the next 89 minutes.
Tudgay had the opening chances for the Owls as he saw a powerful header go just over the bar from a Chris Brunt cross. And Tudgay was then on-hand again to power a low shot in to the arms of City stopper Conrad Logan.
At the other end loanee Brad Jones raced off his line to deny Leicester hitman Elvis Hammond after a neat through-ball found the Owls back line napping.
On 20 minutes Tudgay had another fine chance on goal after a scramble in the Leicester box saw the former Derby striker power an overhead kick in to the Leicester defence and behind for a corner.
Wednesday broke the deadlock just after the half-hour mark – and in fine fashion. Frank Simek launched a cross in to the box which was flicked on by Tudgay to the path of Burton, who expertly chested the ball back in to the direction of his strike partner Tudgay to make it 1-0 with a powerful low effort by Logan.
Half-Time: Wednesday 1-0 Leicester
Rob Kelly looked to change things for the visitors after a poor first-half with Matty Fryatt coming on to replace Elvis Hammond – who had a tough time against Madjid Bougherra.
But things got worse for the visitors just ten minutes in to the second half as Tudgay, and the Owls, doubled their advantage with another superb goal.
A superb cross-field ball found Deon Burton in space down the left wing. It looked as though Burton would be doing nothing more than holding the ball up for support – but he outfoxed defenders Darren Kenton and Paddy McCarthy before playing a neat-ball for Tudgay to produce a first-time finish.
The Wednesday pressure faded as they seemingly looked set to settle for the 2-0 victory. But further chances still fell to Deon Burton and Wade Small as the lead could, and probably should, have been extended.
Leicester needed to find a way back in to the game and they did, albeit rather fortunately, after Madjid Bougherra failed to clear the danger and sub Matty Fryatt pounced to reduce the deficit despite the best efforts of Jones in the Wednesday goal.
And the Foxes almost got a second slice of luck just minutes later as an attempted clearance cannoned off Fryatt and skimmed the Owls crossbar as nerves seemed to be getting hold of the Wednesday eleven.
Stephen Hughes and Richard Stearman both had late chances for the Foxes but a late goal would have been no reflection on a match which was dominated by the Owls. And the Owls hung on to claim their fourth home victory on the bounce and condemn Leicester to their first defeat in nine matches.
Rob Kelly told BBC Sport:
Sean McAuley told the official SWFC site:
‘The performance was very good and I’m really pleased. We created quite a few chances and we defended well. We looked to have a lot of energy.’
‘We’re getting a run together and it’s good for the players. I see that type of play in training every day. They’ve got belief in themselves.’
Marcus Tudgay tol the official SWFC site:
‘We are a team and have been training well, so my goals go to the boys. I’m happy to be getting the goals.’
‘When you’re buzzing and have scored in the game before it comes naturally. It goes in the back of the net and you can’t do anything wrong. I work well with Deon, we have an understanding and that’s working now.’
Rob Kelly told BBC Sport:
‘We’re disappointed; we were on a decent run recently, and our performances have been good.
‘We all know that now we have dropped below the standards we set ourselves.
‘We ignore it (the takeover talk) because we have got enough on our plate trying to win matches in this division.’