Owls FT: Sheffield Wednesday 4 Birmingham City 1

The message from Caolan Lavery
The message from Caolan Lavery
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Caolan Lavery scored twice as Sheffield Wednesday gained revenge for their defeat at Birmingham in September.

Wednesday had a bellyful of dodgy refereeing at Wigan and today it took only a few minutes for anger to explode in the crowd and the Owls technical area.

Owls celebrate Leon Best's goal

Owls celebrate Leon Best's goal

It was not a huge issue but annoying nonethless after Best used his strength to bustle past his marker on the touchline only to be penalised unfairly for a foul.

Home fans were appreciative, however, of some probing by their team towards the Kop end.

A great ball by Lavery set Nuhiu free on the left-side byline and his cross was a good one, about which left back Blackett knew little as it hit him and bounced away from the danger area.

Gray clearly intended to have a real go, though Afobe was on the bench yet again.

Owls v Birmingham City

Owls v Birmingham City

His 4-1-3-2 system had the two strikers, Best and Nuhiu, supported by the attack-minded duo of Maguire, on the left, and Lavery, on the right, plus the midfield creativity of the recalled Lee. Hutchinson had the more defensive midfield role.

It was the not the first precise pass of the match by Lee when he found LAVERY on the right side the box. The youngster controlled it neatly, then whipped an excellent left-footed finish into the far bottom former, for his third goal for the Owls, in the 16th minute.

He stripped off his shirt - which brought the mandatory booking - to reveal a blue vest underneath bearing some kind of message, and therefore made a similar gesture to the one from Nuihu after his penalty against Middlesbrough.

Lavery it was who helped to force the second goal five minutes later. His header from a right-wing corner by Maguire was stopped by Randolph, and BEST tapped home the loose ball, to earn himself a boost after his penalty at Wigan was saved.

Both goals had come from the right flank, so maybe it was dissatisfaction on the part of Blues boss Lee Clark that resulted in left back Blackett being taken off. Spector switched from right back to left, and his previous spot went to sub Caddis.

The Owls kept the initiative, though not helped by a worn and bobbly pitch, admittedly the same for both sides.

The Blues struggled to find any kind of momentum. When a long ball threatened to give Novak, their central striker, an opportunity, Loovens made ground smartly to make a fine tackle on the edge of the box.

As if spurred on by that, the visitors managed to put some passes together without causing any damage in the final third.

It was a scrappy affair on a difficult surface. In stoppage time, a Buxton cross was dummied by Lee, Nuhiu, tightly marked, controlled it and stabbed the ball into the net.

But the ref ruled that Nuhiu had fouled his marker - putting the crowd in a sour mood once again.

The ref was given a hostile reception as he walked off.

TV replays at half-time suggested that the disallowing of Nuhiu’s goal, for an alleged push on centre half Packwood, was harsh.

A photograph on social media spelled out the message on Lavery’s shirt after he scored. It said: “Get well soon mum.”

Blues captain Robinson was obviously still unwell, though, after a nasty bang on the head in a first-half aerial clash with Lavery, and was replaced at centre back by Martin for the second half.

Nuhiu should have set up a third goal in the 53rd minute but tried to go for goal instead of seeing Lavery, who was unmarked at the far post. But it became 3-0 in the 57th minute. Helan showed scorching pace to beat his man and reach the byline; he crossed, PACKWOOD stuck out a leg, and the ball looped softly into Randolph’s top left-hand corner for a peach of an own goal (though the announcer credited it to Helan).

It was a kind of justice, with Packwood having been the defender involved in Nuhiu’s disallowed goal.

Then came a stunning strike from LAVERY to make it four in the 68th minute. Nuhiu crossed from the left to the far side of the box, Maguire feinted to shoot but cleverly switched the ball inside, and Wednesday’s Northern Ireland Under 21 forward whacked a right-footer into the keeper’s top right-hand corner.

Wednesday were gaining ample revenge for their abject 4-1 thrashing in September.

Macheda, on as a a sub, crossed for NOVAK to side-foot a close-range consolation goal in the 80th minute.