LEWIS Buxton sent Wednesday on the way to their best Hillsborough start to a season for 31 years.
When he headed home his first goal of the campaign from a corner he also kept himself in a job as a defender who goes up for set pieces.
For his failure to get off the mark had left Danny Batth wanting the role in banter between the two.
But the right-back’s breakthrough brought him another accolade in a personal season of success.
“That was Lewis’s last chance,” said a happy Gary Megson.
“In pre-season he was getting goals and looking a threat. He’s hit the post this season, but that was about it from set-pieces. Danny Batth has been saying he wants to go up there.
“He’s been pointing his finger at people when they didn’t score at set-pieces, and pointing his finger at Lewis.
“Lewis said before the last game that he’d score in the next two games.”
The goal duly came on Saturday and it was important because it gave the Owls early control of a derby that ultimately they deserved to win despite a late scare.
It is the first time they have won their first six home league games since the 1980-81 season.
You also have to go back to 1991-92 to find the previous period when they won six league matches on the trot at Hillsborough at any stage of a season.
Expecting Chesterfield to come at them, Wednesday’s plan was to make their own fast start - which they did with some of their most incisive football of the campaign, particularly down the right-hand side where Buxton and Ben Marshall linked up so well.
Megson said: “We could have scored before we did. We looked a threat from set-pieces.
“Chesterfield were a good side. They brought around 3,500, they had nothing to lose, with us having won five at
home on the spin. We had to make sure that mentally we were prepared. I was delighted with the start.
“We knew they would try to tear into us. We needed to tear into them.”
Buxton’s header into the bottom corner came from a Marshall corner. Wednesday looked a powerful, well-organised unit, with Rob Jones and Batth in rugged form at the back, and Gary Madine winning headers and working hard up front.
The Owls were comfortable until Chesterfield, who passed the ball well at times, made a
41st-minute chance that was scuffed wide from 18 yards by Mark Randall.
The Spireites seized the initiative from the start of the second half. Also aided by some untidy play from Wednesday, they had a chance when Leon Clarke put a header wide.
A diving header by James O’Connor cleared one dangerous ball from the six-yard box but a couple of errors by the midfielder were followed by him having to make way for Jermaine Johnson on the left flank.
“It’s not James’s position by a long chalk,” admitted Megson, who for the last two
games has now used O’Connor there to curb a specific threat from an opposing winger.
“We knew JJ would give us more threat with the ball at his feet; I’m not so sure he would have got that ball away from the six-yard box like James did.”
Madine also does his share of defensive duties, in closing down defenders in open play and helping out at the opposition’s set -pices, but of course his major talent is in scoring goals.
His 10th in his last nine league games put the Owls more firmly in command and came after he chested down a long ball, received a return pass from Chris O’Grady and then fired his shot into the bottom corner from almost 25 yards.
“Gary Madine looks an entirely different person,” said Megson. “It’s open to doubt whether after the first two games he would have got that ball out of his feet and shot from there.
“The lad’s confidence is quite rightly flowing. He’s doing brilliantly.”
Clarke, on the other hand, had been having a wretched time, and sliced one shot out for a throw-in, but took his goal smartly, sidefooting home a corner, unmarked, leaving defenders looking at one another and starting a rocky eight-minute spell for Wednesday.
Victory no longer seemed a formality but it was sealed by Marshall’s run and shot into the bottom corner in the 87th minute, and he and Madine had stoppage-time chances.
John Sheridan felt his team were hard done by: “We played really well. We dominated the game at one stage. That’s the way we’ve been playing, But we’re not winning games.”
Wednesday, happily, on the other hand do have that knack.