VIDEO: Gray delighted as Owls hit right notes

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Arctic Monkeys front man Alex Turner will be able to sing Wednesday’s praises after one of the best performances of the season.

The vocalist of Sheffield’s Owls-supporting band and guitarist Jamie Cook watched from an executive box as their team destroyed Birmingham.

Caolan Lavery hits the first of his two goals

Caolan Lavery hits the first of his two goals

Caolan Lavery topped the bill with two cracking goals and was supported by quality in every department.

It was a great way for Wednesday to avenge a 4-1 hiding at St Andrew’s in September and obscure the memory of the sickening defeat at Wigan last week.

Stuart Gray compared the team’s standards with those of the Leeds game - and this certainly could have been another feast of six goals or even more .

The Owls boss always directs all the credit to his players, but he deserves plaudits as well.

His selection and tactics proved to be spot-on, with a refreshed midfield and forward line and four changes to the side that started at Wigan.

Kieran Lee came in to bring quality passing, Sam Hutchinson to break things up. With Chris Maguire recalled on one flank and Caolan Lavery keeping his place on the other, and with two up front, Leon Best and the recalled Atdhe Nuhiu, it was an attack-minded line-up.

With the back four performing solidly as well, aided by sheer class from Glenn Loovens, before he went off as a precautionary measure with hamstring tightness, it was all too much for the very same Blues side who had drawn 3-3 at Burnley three days earlier.

It was unusual for Lee Clark to picked an unchanged side; he thought his team were jaded after their efforts at Turf Moor. Maybe so, but even he had to admit that Wednesday were very good.

The Owls were on top from start to finish and coped pretty well with a bobbly pitch showing a winter’s wear.

There is no denying Lavery the spotlight after his best game for the club. to follow his headline-grabbing two goals as a sub in the Leeds game, and dejection of the Wigan game, in which he was harshly penalised for the Latics’ penalty winner.

“He’s had a great week, in that he put in an unbelievable performance for the team on Wednesday,” said Gray. “There was nobody more disappointed than him, because he thought he’d let the team down, which he hadn’t; Perch (Wigan right back) just old-pro’d him when going into the box.

“I said to him: ‘Keep believing.’

“I thought we could get at Birmingham’s back four, so my team had four centre forwards really. We put them on the back foot.”

Lavery’s first goal, whipped into the bottom corner with his left foot, stemmed from his perfect touch and a sublime ball from Lee. Off came Lavery’s shirt to reveal the ‘get well soon mum’ message to his mother after her operation in Canada.

His second goal, struck into the top corner with his right foot, came via a cross from Nuhiu and an assist by Maguire, who also took the corner that was smartly headed by Lavery, saved, and brought a tap-in goal for Best - a soother for him after his penalty failure at Wigan.

It should have been 3-0 in first-half stoppage time: a good ball from Lewis Buxton was dummied by Lee, and Nuhiu was too strong and clinical for Will Packwood in snapping up the chance. The ref was far too fussy in ruling that there was a push on the defender.

It was justice of a kind when Packwood’s outstretched leg sent the ball floating into the top corner for a lovely own goal - courtesy of a sizzling sprint and a cross by another excellent performer, Jeremy Helan, who reached another precise ball by Lee and left right back Paul Caddis floundering. Helan was the only one of Saturday’s side who started the game at Birmingham.

“Once he’s one v one, nobody can beat Jeremy, with his pace,” said Gray, who also described Loovens and Oguchi Onyewu as a fantastic partnership.

He added: “It’s helped having Kieran Lee and Sam Hutchinson in there: Sam is probably a bit like Semedo: he breaks things up; he can get about the pitch; you pass the ball to Kieran and he can make things happen.

“I’m really delighted that everybody has put in a shift. It’s great to perform in front of your own fans.”

Chris Kirkland was on the original team sheet but broke down with his calf problem in the warm-up. Damian Martinez stayed in and had an easy time; he had no chance with Lee Novak’s late consolation goal, which came after Loovens’ replacement, Miguel Llera, was dispossessed and the ball was fed to Federico Macheda for him to cross.

The Blues played the last few minutes with 10 men after they had used all their subs and Emyr Huws went off injured.

“I’m just disappointed we conceded a goal,” said Gray. “We dominated the game. I’d like to have won 4-0.

“I’ve said to the players that on Tuesday we’re playing a team of unbelievable ability. But as we’ve shown, you have to put the hard work in. We’ve done that again.

“But we’ve got to go again on Tuesday. Whatever team I put out, we’ll give QPR a good game.”