SHEFFIELD Wednesday drew on their professionalism and staying power to surge into the second round of the FA Cup with a deserved victory at the Globe Arena.
Controversy - a second-half penalty decision that gave Morecambe some hope - failed to derail the Owls after they led with goals from Chris Lines and Chris O’Grady.
Gary Megson’s men were the better side and homed in on a Hillsborough tie against Maidenhead or Aldershot, despite referee David Webb giving the Shrimps a hotly contested spot-kick which made it 2-1 and upped their challenge in the last half hour.
But the award, for handball harshly given against Lines, came moments after the Owls were denied a penalty in similar circumstances.
The ball hit Lines as he blocked a cross. At the other end, a Gary Madine header had hit a defender.
Megson said: “To be honest, I don’t think either should have been given, but if he’s going to give one, I can’t see how he can not give the other.”
The Owls long periods were in control, and should have had a bigger lead than 1-0, at half-time, with a side showing five changes.
Richard O’Donnell and Jermaine Johnson came in for the ineligible Stephen Bywater and Ben Marshall.
Julian Bennett replaced Mark Reynolds at left-back, Reda Johnson returned from injury in place of Rob Jones, who has had minor surgery on his nose, and Gary Madine took over from Ryan Lowe after his two-match ban. The captain’s armband passed from Jones to Lewis Buxton.
The deputy skipper threatened to give Wednesday a fourth-minute lead, shooting wide from just inside the box after he had sent O’Grady on a run and the striker’s cross was half cleared.
That preceded a spell where Wednesday were control and never under pressure, and might have been able to virtually
put the game to bed inside a few minutes.
A one-goal lead was significant in itself, the ball side-footed into the keeper’s bottom left-hand corner by Lines from the edge of the area after a one-two with O’Grady and a fine run by the midfielder. in the 18th minute.
But a minute later, after incisive stuff from James O’Connor and Jermaine Johnson, Madine almost cashed in from JJ’s ball into the box.
At first glance it looked like a penalty as he was challenged - but TV replays showed that the striker fell as he tried to take evasive action and stay on his feet to reach the ball.
Morecambe were bound to offer some kind of threat at some stage and when they did the Owls defended solidly. Wednesday indeed were strong right down the middle, with Jose Semedo a commanding presence in midfield alongside the creative Lines, and Madine and O’Grady a handful for the home centre-halves.
Madine would have been in for a far-post goal in the 38th minute but O’Connor over-hit the low ball and the striker let his frustration show.
O’Donnell had been given nothing to do until he easily caught an ambitious 30-yard shot from McDonald.
But the keeper turned creator a couple of minute before
half-time. His long clearance saw Madine almost touch the ball past Roche, it came back off the keeper, and O’Grady lofted a good chance past the angle.
A two-goal lead would not have flattered Wednesday - and their fans would hope they would not end up regretting their inability so far to get a second goal.
It was only to be expected that the home side would come at them in the second half. Morecambe duly applied pressure, and left-back Laurence Wilson brushed the top of the bar with a terrific strike from 30 yards.
However the Owls held firm, and grabbed that second goal in the 52nd minute, with O’Grady nodding home from O’Connor’s lofted cross.
There was also the penalty appeal from Madine just before that, after his header from a Lines corner hit centre half Chris McCready; maybe the ref ruled any handball was accidental.
But Wednesday were not given the benefit of any doubt when Morecambe were given their award. Lines slid into a routine challenge on McDonald on the byline to cut out a cross. Lines and the Owls were horrified when Mr Webb pointed to the spot - the players presumably feeling, with justification, that there had been no intentional offence.
Wilson smacked the spot-kick into the bottom corner and suddenly Morecambe and their crowd were roused.
But Wednesday negotiated a tricky hurdle in fairly convincing fashion and earned the reward of a home tie in the second round.