SHEFFIELD Wednesday made it six home league wins in a row for the first time in 20 years with a hard-working display against Chesterfield.
Goals from Lewis Buxton, Gary Madine and Ben Marshall moved the Owls up into second position in League One. Former Wednesday player Leon Clarke had made it 2-1 late in the second half but Marshall sealed the points in the 87th minute.
Any hopes that Leon Clarke may have had a decent reception from Owls fans on his return to Hillsborough were soon dashed.
The striker was booed every time he touched the ball and soon heard chants of Paolo Di Canio coming from the North stand - a taunt extending from Clarke’s well publicised bust up with the Swindon Town manager and former Wednesday star.
There was a warm welcome for Spireites boss John Sheridan, who’s name was chanted by fans in the stands and on the Kop. A terrific volleyed pass by Lines sent Marshall away and was followed by an interception by Holden from the wingers cross.
Wednesday were getting in to there stride, looking stronger, quicker and more creative than The Spireites and it was no surprise when they took the lead in the 17th minute.
From a right side corner from Marshall towards the edge of the six yard box, BUXTON, leapt at the far post area to direct a header in to Fleming’s bottom right hand corner.
The goal, Buxton’s first of the season, gave the Owls a solid platform and there was no immediate response from Chesterfield.
There was a big appeal from Chesterfield fans for handball against Buxton in the area but the full back had chested the ball. Maybe it was frustration when seconds later, centre-back Downes clattered in to Madine and earned himself a booking for his troubles.
Wednesday were under threat through a one-two between Mendy and Talbot and the ex-Owls man fired a low ball across the penalty area, which was helped on its way with a touch by Bywater only for the ref to give a goal kick instead of a corner.
There was real quality in a forward ball by Marshall and the run to receive it by Buxton into the Chesterfield box. The defender’s low cross would have been converted by O’Grady had not the defender Downes made a fine challenge.
Madine was winning plenty of headers and this was another area in which the Owls were on top but they were given a reminder about the dangers of being unable to add a second goal when in the 41st minute Chesterfield had a good chance.
Mendy and Westcarr did well down the left and when the ball came across Jones half cleared it to the edge of the area well it fell invitingly for Randall who mis-hit his shot and saw it go well wide.
Up front for Chesterfield, Clarke had been having a lean time but there was a much better moment for him with a dummy and a run behind the defence which resulted in a Chesterfield corner but still Wednesday kept in control and cleared the ball away from danger.
Some neat passing and movement coupled with some untidy play by Wednesday put the Owls under pressure. Buxton had to clear after midfielder Semedo got in a tangle in the area.
A free header from Clarke from around the penalty spot which he put well wide. After that opportunity, Chesterfield still probed, helped by a second mistake by O’Connor in quick succession as he lost possession.
He gave chase, brought down Talbot and was booked for the foul. Only two minutes, in the 53rd minute, O’Connor made way for Jermaine Johnson on the left side of midfield and was soon taking on Talbot. The full back was up to the challenge and dealt with everything the winger could offer.
Wednesday needed a second goal and they got it in the 59th minute in spectacular fashion. O’Grady played the ball to MADINE, who was around 25 yards out and beyond the right hand corner of the box.
The striker produced a terrific low strike that flew past the keeper into the bottom right hand corner despite Fleming getting a touch on the ball.
The power was too much for him as Madine got his 10th goal in his last nine league matches.
Almost straight away, he could have grabbed his 11th, waiting in space in the centre of the area to receive a pass by Buxton. His shot was on target, but Holden blocked the effort.
Clarke was having an unhappy afternoon and when he attempted an ambitious long range volley, he sliced it out for a throw in.
There seemed no way the Owls could lose their grip on the game. The took off O’Grady, replaced by Sedgwick and pushed Johnson up front in the 72nd minute.
Wednesday had generally defended solidly but they were caught out in the 79th minute. A right wing corner by Randall saw CLARKE getting on the end of it unmarked, at the near post, to side foot home from close range and notch his 6th goal for Chesterfield since joining them on loan from Swindon.
Suddenly the outcome looked in question but in the 87th minute, the Owls struck again. After a build up involving Johnson and Sedgwick, MARSHALL made a run from the left side of the box, cut inside and from 10 yards out clipped a shot into the keepers bottom left hand corner.
Teams: Sheffield Wednesday: Bywater, Buxton, Batth, Jones (R), Bennett, O’Connor, Lines, Semedo, Marshall, O’Grady, Madine. Subs: O’Donnell,Johnson Sedgwick,Reynolds,McGoldrick.
Chesterfield: Fleming, Talbot, Holden, Downes, Grounds, Allott, Randall, Morgan, Mendy, Westcarr, Clarke. Subs: Ford, Whitaker, Bowery, Clay, Smith.
Refree: Kevin Wright, Cambridgeshire.
For a full report, plus match pictures, see the Green’Un.