What a day for Birmingham striker Jesse Lingard who hit all four goals in the demolition of Sheffield Wednesday.
Roger Johnson was given a mixed reception on his return to St Andrews.
There were some cheers and boos for Wednesday’s new centre-half, who helped the Midlands club lift the Capital One Cup in 2011, when his name was read out before kick-off.
But it was Johnson who was nearly celebrating in the fifth minute as the Owls made a positive start to proceedings. Prutton fed Antonio and he cut in from the right flank and unleashed a low left foot shot that lacked the power and accuracy to seriously trouble the highly-rated Randolph.
The hosts struggled to string anything together in the early skirmishes and Wednesday created another decent opportunity in the 14th minute thanks to some good play on the left by Antonio. He outmuscled Bartley, a former Sheffield United loanee, and then found Maghoma who freed Palmer but the young midfielder dragged his shot wide.
Against the run of play, Birmingham broke the deadlock five minutes later through debutant LINGARD. The lively Burke jinked his way past Owls skipper Reda Johnson and tried his luck from distance. His effort was parried by Kirkland straight into the path of Lingard who tapped in from close range.
All of a sudden, Birmingham had momentum. It took a fine stop from Kirkland to keep out Adeyemi’s fierce half volley after Wednesday only half-cleared Burke’s free kick.
It got even worse for Wednesday just before the half hour mark when Birmingham doubled their advantage. Elliott, an assured presence in the middle of the park throughout, charged forward at pace before sliding an inch-perfect pass into LINGARD, who beat the offside trap and coolly fired a shot past Kirkland.
In an attempt to stem the tide, Jones made a tactical substitution immediately after the Blues second strike, taking off Palmer and throwing on Nuhiu to try to give the visitors more of a physical threat in the final third.However, LINGARD, an England under-21 international, completed his 13-minute treble in emphatic fashion, placing a lovely right foot effort out of Kirkland’s reach after the Owls had given him far too much room on the edge of the box.
Not surprisingly after a poor first-half showing, Wednesday were sent out early after the re-start.
But the visitors simply could not contain Burke and Lingard who combined brilliantly for Birmingham’s fourth goal.
Burke drifted past Helan with ease on the right flank, raced to the byline before teeing up LINGARD and the 20-year-old, on a month’s youth loan deal from the Red Devils, fired home inside the six-yard box.
Having lost five out of their opening seven league fixtures and made their worst start to a league season in 25 years, you would have thought the Blues would have been low on confidence.
Far from it.
Indeed, they looked anything but a side languishing in the lower reaches of the division while Wednesday’s search for a first clean sheet during the 2013/14 campaign continues.
Maghoma almost reduced the deficit in the 56th minute following a pacy, mazy run but he lost his composure when it mattered and blazed over from an acute angle
Maghoma almost reduced the deficit in the 56th minute following a pacy, mazy run but he lost his composure when it mattered and blazed wide.
It proved to be his last meaningful contribution as Jones brought on Jermaine Johnson.
Wednesday, still looking for their first league win, pulled one back with 24 minutes left courtesy of ZAYATTE, who glanced in McPhail’s inviting set-piece. It was the defender’s second goal in Wednesday colours.
Lingard was given a standing ovation by the Birmingham faithful when he was taken off in the 71st minute. It was an outstanding individual performance from the forward and a day he will never forget.
Jermaine Johnson caught the eye with his dribbling skills after coming on and he tried to curl a shot past Randolph from distance but the goalkeeper was equal to the task, tipping his venemous right foot drive over the top.