JAY Rodriguez’s double either side of half-time condemned Sheffield Wednesday to a 2-0 defeat at Southampton in the third round of the Capital One Cup tonight.
The Owls, who had knocked out Oldham Athletic and Fulham, have now lost five in a row in all competitions.
Owls chief Dave Jones made seven changes from the side narrowly beaten by Bolton Wanderers at the weekend, handing starts to Stephen Bywater, Mark Beevers, Miguel Llera, Jose Semedo, Paul Corry, Chris Maguire and Gary Madine.
Southampton, back in the Premier League after a seven-year absence, made nine alterations.
It was the hosts who came closest to opening the scoring in the early skirmishes. Rodriguez, a £7m summer signing from Burnley, tried his luck from the edge of the area but was foiled by Bywater.
Minutes later, Michail Antonio, against his old club, was unlucky to not put Wednesday ahead as his clever chip landed agonisingly on the top of the net.
It took another fine stop from Bywater to deny Guly Do Prado but Southampton broke the deadlock on the half hour mark courtesy of the lively Rodriguez, who turned sharply before firing home after neat build up play.
At the other end, Madine headed over a half chance as the Owls kept plugging away.
The visitors had a major left off just before the interval when Do Prado’s header from Steve De Ridder’s centre struck the post and the loose ball was hacked away by Kieran Lee.
Lee picked up a knock, prompting Jones to put on Joe Mattock in the second period. Clearly Jones didn’t want to take any chances with Lee’s fitness as Wednesday travel to Wolves on Saturday.
Nejc Pecnik raced on to Chris Maguire’s through ball in the 57th minute but his effort was comfortably kept out by Paulo Gazzaniga.
Llera was yellow carded for a foul on Do Prado and Jones made a double substitution just after the hour mark, throwing on Jermaine Johnson and Chris O’Grady in search of an equaliser.
But Southampton doubled their advantage with 12 minutes remaining when Mattock brought down De Ridder in the penalty area and Rodriguez duly converted the spot kick.
Jermaine Johnson nearly grabbed a late consolation after a mazy run but Gazzaniga, at full stretch, pulled off a superb save to thwart the unpredictable Jamaican ace.
Read tomorrow’s Star for Paul Thompson’s match report and analysis.
SAINTS: Gazzaniga, Richardson, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Seaborne, De Ridder, Cork (Robinson 81), Ward-Prowse, Chaplow, Do Prado (Reeves 71), Rodriguez (Hoskins 85). Subs: Davis, Butterfield, Gape, Sinclair.
OWLS: Bywater, Lee (Mattock HT) Llera, Beevers, Jones, Antonio, Semedo, Corry (J Johnson 66), Pecnik, Maguire (O’Grady 66), Madine. Subs: Jameson, Mayor, Rodri, Lavery.
Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).
Attendance: 9,860 (698)