Date: 17th August 2008 at 11:31am
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Wednesday came crashing back down to earth with a bang at Molineux on Saturday as they saw a reverse of their opening day 4-1 scoreline against Burnley in a lacklustre performance against Mick McCarthy’s men.

The Owls had looked good in the first half, Etienne Esajas continuing his fine form by opening the scoring for the visitors with a fine goal before Chris Iwelumo towered over the Wednesday defence to head the hosts level going in to half time.

But the substitution of Esajas at half-time, with some strange decisions from Owls boss Brian Laws, saw Wednesday crumble in the second half to a defeat which leaves a lot to be worked on on the training pitch this week.

Laws made a number of changes to the side that fell to defeat against Rotherham in the Carling Cup in midweek.

Richard Hinds returned to start at right-back in place of Peter Gilbert who dropped to the bench, while Laws went with a midfield five of Esajas, Steve Watson, Sean McAllister, James O’Connor and Jermaine Johnson, leaving Deon Burton as the lone striker.

Wolves, one of the pre-season favourites to bag a play-off spot this term, made the brighter start in their first home match of the season as Matt Jarvis saw his powerful header well saved by Owls’ stopper Lee Grant for an early corner.

The hosts were dealt an early blow when former Sunderland man and captain Jody Craddock hobbled off with an injury.

And in reply to Wolves’ early attacking play, Wednesday looked just as, if not more, dangerous gong forward, particularly through Jermaine Johnson who ran at the Wolves defence at every possible opportunity.

Esajas carved out the first chance for Laws’ men, backed by a healthy following support, as he got on the end of a McAllister through ball before sending his effort wide of goal.

And Wednesday’s impressive early attack saw their hard work pay off after just 15 minutes as Deon Burton picked out Esajas on the right, before the Dutchman turned inside his marker and smashed a low shot by Wayne Hennessey in the Wolves goal to give Wednesday the early advantage.

Deon Burton came close for the Owls minutes later as the goal visibly gave the visitors a lift, Johnson and Esajas continuing to baffle the Wolves full-backs, with the midfield trio of Watson, McAllister and O’Connor thwarting the hosts in the middle of the park.

It was looking good for Wednesday, with chants of ‘we are top of the league’ ringing from the away end at Molineux.

But those chants were soon dimmed when Wolves bagged their leveller just befor ethe half hour mark through former Charlton and Colchester man Chris Iwelumo.

Iwelumo’s marker, Mark Beevers, had been dragged out to the left-back position, leaving the lanky hitman un-marked inside the Owls box to power a header by Lee Grant and give the hoem fans something to cheer about on 28 minutes.

The hosts had another chance through the lively Michael Kightly minutes later which was brilliantly tipped over the bar by the Owls’ stopper.

But Wednesday striker Burton will have been kicking himself that he didn’t put Wednesday back in to the lead going in to the break as he missed a golden opportunity at the other end minutes later.

The former Derby man was left unmarked inside the box and just had to power a volley in to the back of the net, but he sliced his effort harmlessly in to the arms of a greatful Hennessey.

Half-Time: Wolves 1-1 Wednesday

The travelling Wednesday fans will no doubt have been happy with their sides performance at half-time/

But there was cause for concern on the restart with the news that key man Esajas was to be substituted and replaced by Leon Clarke, a change which could have only been down to a knock or lack of fitness of the Dutchman, who was returning from a long lay-off.

Despite the change, Wednesday came out with their heads up after the break and Johnson fired the first warning shot of the match, which flashed harmlessly wide of Hennessey’s goal.

But Owls boss Laws, depsite a fine attacking performance from JJ, was left to put the blame at the Jamaican internationals feet just minutes later when his ‘fancy dan’ routine left the Owls in all kinds of trouble which lead to a Wolves spot kick.

Johnson lost the ball easily and failed to make any attempt to recover the ball, which led to Wolves storming down the other end and winning a weak penalty after Jarvis was felled inside the box under a McAllister challenge on 53 minutes.

Sylvan Ebanks-Blake stepped up for the hosts and made no mistake with the spot kick to give Wolves the lead.

Wednesday never recovered from the goal, with their heads dropping and passes going astray, allowing McCarthy’s men to steal in for another goal which all but wrapped up their first three points of the season.

It was Ebanks-Blake again who fired his effort against the woodwork, but Iwelumo was well-placed, and unmarked, to top the rebound back in to the empty net with Grant sprawled on the floor to make it 3-1 to Wolves.

Johnson was hauled off the pitch by Laws minutes later to be replaced by Luke Boden, a move which baffled most Owls fans inside the ground, with JJ offering the only attacking threat towards the Wolves goal.

Needless to say Wednesday looked lacklustre in attack thereafter, with Hennessey’s goal not being threatened for the remainder of the match.

Jimmy Smith also came on to replace Steve Watson, but it was too little too late for Wednesday, and it could have been Wolves who added the next goal with Iwelumo coming close to bagging his hat-trick, only to send his effort wide of goal.

But there was still time for another goal for the hosts, substitute David Edwards bagging a goal in injury time to wrap up the scoring and give the hosts a comprehensive win, and the Owls boss a lot to think about ahead of next week’s home clash with in-form Preston.

Full-Time: Wolves 4-1 Wednesday

Wolves: Hennessey, Elokobi, Stearman, Craddock (c) (Collins 8), Kightly (Edwards 86), Henry, Jones, Jarvis (Keogh 75), Foley, Ebanks-Blake, Iwelumo. Unused substitutes: Ikeme, Vokes.

Owls: Grant, Hinds, Beevers, Wood (c), Spurr, Esajas (Clarke 46), Watson (Smith 68), O’Connor, McAllister, Johnson (Boden 69), Burton. Unused substitutes: O’Donnell, Gilbert.