The streak is over.
Wednesday brought to an end their 51-year wait for victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Hillsborough in fine style.
Goals from Fernando Forestieri (2), Daniel Pudil and Gary Hooper ensured the Owls secured maximum points at the 17th time of asking in their own backyard against Wolves.
When the Owls last defeated Wolves, Sir Alec Douglas-Home was Prime Minister, Liverpool were the dominant force in English football and Manchester pop band Herman’s Hermits topped the charts with ‘I’m Into Something Good’.
Head coach Carlos Carvalhal called for a strong reaction after their lack-lustre performance at MK Dons last week.
His players duly responded as Wednesday sealed their biggest win of the campaign and first victory over Wolves in nine years.
“Today was a challenge after the last game,” he said. “Groups can get down, but champions are different.
“The challenge was to have a strong and fast reaction after the last game and we did that. The players gave me a fantastic answer.
“We didn’t start well but after the opening 15 minutes we started to control the game. It was a fantastic performance. We controlled a difficult and organised opponent.”
Nobody could accuse Carvalhal of being conservative with his team selection. He fielded an attack-minded side, pairing Hooper and Lucas Joao up front, with Forestieri also named in the line-up. Modou Sougou and Atdhe Nuhiu dropped to the substitutes bench.
With Michael Turner and Alex Lopez sidelined with injuries, Sam Hutchinson returned at centre-back while Ross Wallace was also recalled.
It was Wednesday who created the first meaningful opportunity following a bright, purposeful run by Joao. The Portugal international glided past several defenders before feeding Forestieri, who saw his weak right-footed curler comfortably gathered by Carl Ikeme.
The hosts looked edgy in the opening skirmishes and were guilty of overplaying deep inside their own half. James Henry almost capitalised on their sloppiness, robbing Wallace before seeing his cute lob drop on to the top of the net.
It came as no surprise when Wolves broke the deadlock after Wallace tripped the overlapping Jordan Graham. It was a clear spot-kick and Afobe, who struggled on loan at Wednesday during the 2013/14 season, made no mistake from 12 yards, coolly sending Keiren Westwood the wrong way.
Try as they might, the Owls seem incapable of shedding their ‘slow starters’ tag. It was the seventh time in their last eight matches Carvalhal’s men had gone behind.
Carvalhal said: “I would get frustrated if we were losing. We could be losing 4-0 but I don’t care if we win 5-4. That’s not important to me.
“Of course, we don’t want this to keep happening, but that’s football. Anything can happen.
“We showed a fantastic reaction after going behind.”
Afobe’s penalty was the first of three goals in a mad nine minutes.
Forestieri levelled things up from the spot after a combination of Danny Batth, a key member of Owls’ promotion-winning side in 2012, and Ethan Ebanks-Landell brought down Joao as he broke clear. Amazingly, not even a yellow card was given to either Batth or Ebanks-Landell following the incident.
The equaliser rocked Wolves, disrupting their rhythm and pressing game.
All the momentum swung Wednesday’s way and Forestieri smashed in his second, with the aid of a delection, after Batth, under pressure from Joao, had failed to effectively clear Wallace’s delivery.
It is not Christmas yet, but Wolves kept giving Wednesday defensive presents.
Things could have got even better for the hosts in the 39th minute after a superb move. Joao raced on to Bannan’s raking pass, shrugging off the attentions only to be denied by the agility of Ikeme.
The Wolves goalkeeper then thwarted Forestieri with his feet and the loose ball dropped invitingly to Wallace, who curled narrowly off target.
On the stroke of half-time, the visitors had another lucky escape aftert Ebanks-Landell was penalised for playing a back-pass to Ikeme. Wallace’s drive was blocked by Wolves’ wall, with Joao seeing his follow-up strike headed on to the crossbar by Henry, who was stationed on the goalline.
Wolves looked ragged defensively and Ikeme had to be alert to keep out Forestieri’s rasping low effort after the restart.
Carvalhal’s charges deservedly claimed a third just before the hour mark when Pudil rifled an unstoppable left-footed shot into the top corner after Matt Doherty had only partially dealt with Bannan’s centre.
Pudil’s second goal for the club gave the Owls a healthy cushion and Forestieri could have added extra gloss to the scoreline, but the former Watford player drilled agonisingly over after a neat one-two with Hooper with Ikeme stranded.
It was not all one-way traffic and Kieran Lee produced an important block to deny Graham a sight at goal.
Moments after Forestieri had blazed off target from an acute angle, skipper Glenn Loovens cleared away Ebanks-Landell’s header from near his own goalline as Wolves threatened to pull one back.
While some of the defending from both sides left a lot to be desired, Wednesday always seemed to carry the greater attacking threat and Forestieri spurned another great chance to claim the matchball, shooting over from 15 yards after being fed by Wallace.
As Wolves committed more players forward late on, they left themselves wide open to the counter-attack and Hooper capped his tireless display by grabbing his second goal in as many appearances after Nuhiu slipped him in.
Wednesday: Westwood 7; Hunt 7, Loovens 7, Hutchinson 8, Pudil 8; Wallace 7, Lee 7, Bannan 8, Forestieri 8 (Nuhiu 84); Hooper 7, Joao 7 (Helan 58, 6). Substitutes: Wildsmith, Semedo, Wiggins, Sougou, McGugan.
Wolves: Ikeme 7; Iorfa 6, Batth 6, Ebanks-Landell 5, Doherty 6; McDonald 5, Price 5, Byrne 6 (Holt 63, 5), Henry 6, Graham 7; Afobe 6. Substitutes: McCarey, Golbourne, Edwards, Wallace, Coady, Le Fondre.
Referee: Mark Brown (East Yorkshire).