MATCH REPORT: Sheffield Wednesday 0 Blackpool 2

Setback: Thomas Ince scores against the Owls last night.                            Picture: Steve ellis
Setback: Thomas Ince scores against the Owls last night. Picture: Steve ellis
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SHEFFIELD Wednesday were given a lesson in finishing as Blackpool prevented them from notching a third win in a row.

Lack of quality in the attacking third was a familiar failing for the Owls during their bad run and it returned to undermine their efforts last night.

A cleverly created and clinically taken early goal by England Under-21 winger Tom Ince put the Seasiders in the driving seat.

But the Owls had a significant amount of possession and attacking play, only to be let down by the final ball or finish.

They were killed off by a late goal from midfielder Ludovic Sylvestre, as the visitors, with caretaker boss Steve Thompson still in charge after the exit of Ian Holloway, bounced back from a 4-1 defeat at Derby last Saturday and showed some of the ability that put them top of the table in the early part of the season.

The Owls obeyed Dave Jones’s orders to start quicker than in the 2-1 win against Peterborough on Saturday.

A typical run by Michail Antonio took him to the byline to play a good cross that was cleared for a corner.

Then in the fourth minute Antonio raced in behind the defence to go around the keeper on the left side of the box at the Kop end. But this time his final ball was awful as Jay Bothroyd supported in the middle.

Blackpool looked equally keen to go forward at speed and the front three of Ince, Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Matt Phillips produced some slick interchanges, which foundered on sound defending.

It was a near miss, however, when ex-United loan man Phillips grazed the bar with a powerful strike from 25 yards.

And there was no denying the quality of the opening goal.

Phillips played Elliott Grandin through to the byline on the left, the midfielder pulled the ball back and Ince swept a left-foot shot low into the net for his eighth goal of the season.

Wednesday’s passing and movement began to look less impressive than the visitors’, and a tendency to either play ineffective long balls or give possession away irritated their fans at times.

With half an hour gone, however, Blackpool had not exerted any pressure or made more than the one chance from which they scored.

A lack of a cutting edge going forward was more of pressing problem for the Owls.

Some offside decisions added to the frustration. There was no controversy when the flag went up as Antonio took a through ball before scoring in unhurried fashion past a keeper who made no attempt to save. But TV replays apparently showed that the forward had been level with the last defender and therefore onside.

Blackpool also defended in numbers when necessary.

Wednesday did threaten as Llera released Antonio with a crossfield ball to the corner flag. After cutting inside, the winger went down as he tried to go past right-back Neil Eardley, but from afar it did not look like a penalty.

Then McCabe was the supplier before Antonio again came inside: he shot and Matt Gilks saved at his near post.

Jones introduced the pace of Jermaine Johnson for the second half, with the sub going to the right flank, Chris O’Grady being taken off and Bothroyd moving up front.

But it was Antonio who should have equalised in the 49th minute. He found a way through the defence with pace, power and skill but, having done so well to get himself into a shooting position and left defenders trailing, he blasted the ball way off target.

McCabe had almost as good chance a few minutes later but sidefooted it just over the bar from a little further out, 18 yards, after a final ball from Ross Barkley and a run from Antonio in which he beat two men to reach the byline on the right.

There was some interchanging between Johnson, Bothroyd and Antonio as the Owls sought a way through.

Wednesday continued to do most of the pressing. Alert defending stopped Barkley from connecting with an Antonio cross, Johnson failed to hit the target after hurtling into the box, and the keeper was right behind a 30-yard volley by Rhys McCabe.

Another counter-atack by the visitors killed the game. Sub striker Nathan Delfouneso cut inside from the left.

His shot was saved by Chris Kirkland, but the ball came out for Ludovic Sylvestre to knock it home from close range.

WEDNESDAY: Kirkland 7, Buxton 7, Llera 7, Gardner 7, Jones 7, Semedo 7, Bothroyd 6, Barkley 7, McCabe 6 (Rodri 75), Antonio 6, O’Grady 6 (Johnson h-t, 6). Subs: Davies, Taylor, Madine, Mattock, Rodri, Pecnik.

BLACKPOOL: Gilks 7, Eardley 7, Baptiste 7, Cathchart 7, Crainey 7, Basham 6, Sylvestre 6, Grandin 7, M Phillips 7,

Taylor-Fletcher 7 (Delfouneso 77), Ince 7. Subs: Halstead, Gomes, Martinez, Harris, Dicko, Delfouneso, Broadfoot.

Bookings: Buxton (Owls), Basham (Blackpool).