SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY progressed in the FA Cup thanks to a cooly-taken goal by Ryan Lowe.
There was a sombre atmosphere at Hillsborough on the occasion of a minute’s applause for Gary Speed.
Rain seemed to relent while the tribute was carried out by the players, who wore black armbands, and by the crowd with Owls supporters in the Kop and South stands and a small following from Aldershot in the lower West Stand.
When it was down to business, again, rain lashed down and was driven towards the Kop by a blustery wind.
Aldershot had talked about coming to the stadium aiming to enjoy the atmosphere, unworried by their status as underdogs and encouraged by wins in the Carling Cup against West Ham, Carlisle and Rochdale.
The football was undistinguished in the early stages.
A low free kick driven across the box by Lines as Wednesday attacked the Leppings Lane end was the onlything to get the crowd excited for quite some time and no Wednesday player could get on the end of it.
The Owls had Sedgwick on the right side of midfield and Palmer on the left. Reda Johnson, as expected, switched from left back to right side centre half.
Two examples of excellent defending by Johnson, one defensive challenge won powerfully and a terrific clearing header on the edge of the box, impressed the crowd but not much else did.
With a bit of pressure on, the Owls made their first chance in the 29th minute.
Johnson headed the ball forward towards Lowe who had his back to goal and swivelled in an attempt to hook home a close range shot but missed the target.
Aldershot were making a game of it and were not too far away with a shot in to the side netting and a header over the bar, though neitherwas a clear-cut opportunity.
The Owls needed a tremendous block by Jones on midfield player Gutteridge, around 14 yards out, to remove the danger.
Sheffield Wednesday 0
Wednesday managed the breakthrough that they were looking for and it was a timely one, coming in the 50th minute.
A ball down the middle was helped on by Chris O’Grady to LOWE who had foundspace and was faced by the keeper, but he showed typical composure in knocking the ball into the bottom right hand corner. The striker celebrated by running towards the corner flag and sliding on his knees after recording his first goal for the Owls at Hillsborough to add to two earlier ones for the club at Tranmere and Wycombe.
It took his tally to 10 goals, including the seven he scored for Bury prior to joining Wednesday.
Wednesday were given a scare, when a right wing cross found Rankine, getting in behind Bennett at the far post for a free header, which was sent tamely wide.
Soon after that, in the 66th minute, the Owls could have made the game safe.
A goal kick by O’Donnell somehow found its way through to Lowe, who was clear behind the defence andfrom just to the right of goal, 14 yards out, again had only Young in the Aldershot goal to beat but this time the shot was lashed way over the bar.
The Owls were given a huge fright in the 74th minute and as in the previous round at Morecambe, it was O’Donnell to the rescue. Smith beat Bennett and hammered in a shot from the right which was beaten away by the keeper but theball then rebounded off Lines over the bar.
Aldershot had nothing to lose and were forcing themselves back in to the game,throwing men forward.
For a full report, plus match pix, see the Green’Un