SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY moved up to second in League One with a 1-0 home win over Leyton Orient. Reda Johnson hit the winner but it could have been many more as the Owls dominated throughout
After the Owl’s influx of loan signings, the question of which one of them would have to be absent from today’s 16 under league rules had been a big talking point, but absenteeism of a different sort had been an issue in the build up to the game after news leaked out that Gary Madine has been in hot water.
It understood that Madine was away from the training ground for two days earlier this week though he had been expected to report at Middlewood to do some fitness work of the sort njured players undergo as part of their rehabilitation.
Manager Gary Megson admitted “We had an issue for 48 hours. It’s been dealt with and now we move on.”
Ryan Lowe, Madine’s replacement in the starting line up, almost got clear as Wednesday attacked the Leppings Lane end but was thwarted by a defender.
Tavernier showed his pace to take up a good ball from Lines but the Owls first real threat was a long throw by Marshall which brought a chance for Johnson at the near post and the defender headed over the bar.
Orient, unbeaten in 10 games and were clearly intent on shutting Wednesday out, were playing 4-5-1 and a holding midfielder, Spring, in front of their back four.
Megson had said how important it could be if his team scored the first goal and the opposition had to do more than play with caution. Brentford, with a negativeapproach managed to escape with a point in the previous home game but today Megsons men made a breakthrough in the 19th minute.
Lines played a diagonal cross forwards from left to right to the far post where JOHNSON continued his eventful start by leaping to head into the keepers bottom left hand corner. Wednesday had a sniff of a second when O’Connor threaded a pass down the inside left channel to Lowe who had run in behind the defence but Alnwick was out to narrow the target and deflected the ball for a corner.
Johnson was inches away from making contact as he was challenged in the air by a defender.
Wednesday 1 Leyton Orient 0
Orient took off Mooney for the second half, replacing him with Laird in the centre of midfield and pushed Smith to the right where Mooney had a torrid time against Johnson in the first half. Wednesday attempted to carry on where they left off, with Marshall delivering an excellent corner and Johnson winning it but this time not able to keep the ball on target.
Tavernier took the eye with another surging run which pulled Lowe into space but the striker’s cross was cut out by the chest of a defender. Johnson showed great strength in winning the ball and holding off an opponent in the middle of the field which had the fans chanting his name.
O’Connor was taken off in the 52nd meeting and replaced on the right side of midfield by Palmer. A terrific lay off by O’Grady made the most of a ball from Lines but Lowe’s final ball went across the area. A mishit cross by Johnson almost brought a freak goal with the ball flying into the side netting.
Excellent work from Marshall on the left set up a chance for O’Grady at the far post but he miskicked. When the ball back to him, a firmer shot was blocked.
A goal then in the 62nd minute would have put the Owls in a powerful position but they kept pressing for it with Llera next to have a goal with a header that sailed across goal after a cross from Lowe.
Cook was taken off in the 65th minute t. The sub soon showed pace in a promising run but was halted by a brilliant ball winning tackle by Batth.
The Owls just needed that second goal to confirm their superiority and they almost got it after Marshall beat his man with ease and crossed to their far post. O’Grady got in a good header back across goal but Spring cleared.
The Owls striker may have collided with a post and there was concern as he lay motionless and received attention from the physio and club doctor as the stretcher bearers moved up to the corner flag.
After a two minute hold up, O’Grady was able to continue and it was Lowe who was soon to go off, with Morrison taking over in the 78th minute.
Smith and threw men forwards. They almost got their reward with a long cross to the far post from the left and Porter eluded Johnson for a free header which he sent across goal.
It was a clear cut chance but an equaliser would have been cruel on Wednesday.
It was no doubt an attempt to bottle things up when Megson sent on an extra midfield player, Prutton coming on for O’Grady near the end.