DAVE Jones has suffered the first fall of his Wednesday reign and still come up smiling.
When he tumbled down a 12-inch drop from the Huddersfield dugout platform to pitch level it was the only mishap on a happy outing for him and his team.
“Did you not see the roll? Brilliant; that’s the beauty of learning to fall off a horse,” he said, with the Owls firmly in the saddle if not in the lead in the chase for second spot thanks to a convincing triumph.
Jones was not the only one to draw on experience: Miguel Llera’s stunning free kick, the breakthrough moment in the game, was the sort of thing he practises in training.
Lewis Buxton said: “Everybody knows the quality he’s got with the free kicks. We see him do it every day; it was no fluke that he scored.”
Llera hones his shooting by placing mannequins as a wall and then going for goal.
Huddersfield’s flesh and blood was no match for the cultured defender when he smacked the ball into the bottom corner - his first goal for Wednesday, on top of a commanding defensive display.
Jordan Rhodes must have been envious. He had been the talk of the Town, and rightly so, after setting a club scoring record last week, but on Saturday he hardly had a kick.
Wednesday either shut off the service to him and Alan Lee or shut them down when they did get it.
The Owls had all the attacking aces: movement from midfield men and strikers, including notable pace and penetration from Jermaine Johnson and Michail Antonio, and two centre forwards who were a handful.
Gary Madine’s only regret probably was that he was unable to join in the scoring. He took up the right positions at times but did not receive the ball, except when Danny Batth flicked on an Antonio long throw and Madine headed on to the bar, in the second minute.
Huddersfield’s only opportunity, and a slight one, in a very tight first half was driven across goal by left winger Danny Ward during what Dave Jones regarded as his team’s only loose spell of the game, the 15 minutes before half time.
Defensively, the Owls stayed strong as well. It is a credit to Mark Beevers that he never looked out of place after having to take over at left back because Reda Johnson limped off with a thigh injury in the 17th minute.
About the stifling of Rhodes, Jones said: “It’s down to the lads. We spoke about it. We worked at it. What we also spoke about was what we were going to do when we we’d got the ball.”
Buxton was more specific: “Danny Batth kept Jordan Rhodes really quiet. It’s down to the central defenders. Danny won the ball off him five or six times. They dealt with him very well. We kept our shape. It was a good defensive play. We work well as a unit.”
Llera was not far away with a first-half free kick from 35 yards. His second attempt, aimed for the same corner, arrowed home from around 30 yards.
“It was top drawer and would have graced any level,” said Jones.
Although a set piece provided the breakthrough, it was Wednesday’s passing and movement that could have put them on course for an even more comprehensive victory.
Keeper Alex Smithies - who maybe got his fingertips to the Madine header that hit the bar - stopped a shot from Antonio and blocked the follow-up from Nile Ranger.
When there came a couple of misses from the Owls, I began to wonder whether they would regret it. Ranger, sent clear by a superb ball from Chris Lines, could only hit the bar, and when the ball came out to Antonio he fired miles off target.
But Ranger’s confidence had not suffered, judging by the way he took another lovely pass, from Jermaine Johnson, to outrun his marker and calmly place a shot into the bottom corner. Just before that, Stephen Bywater was right behind a long-range volley from Lee Novak, and in the 88th minute sub Danny Cadamarteri hooked a chance straight at Bywater on the volley.
But on the whole Huddersfield were outplayed, their big guns silenced, their defences often shredded by the Owls.
The Owls have dropped only two points in seven games under their Manager of the Month. Now there are only five more hurdles to clear and, one way or the other, it is going to be an exciting finish to the season.