How ruthless Sheffield Wednesday put Nottingham Forest to the sword
Sheffield Wednesday are on the march.
Their comprehensive victory over Nottingham Forest lifted Garry Monk's up to fifth in the Championship and extended the club's unbeaten run to five matches.
They blew promotion hopefuls Forest away at the City Ground, romping into a four-goal lead before the interval.
Fox-in-the-box Jordan Rhodes notched a hat-trick and fellow forward Steven Fletcher netted the fourth in added on time to seal Wednesday's ninth win from their last 10 meetings with Forest.
There is the threat looming on the horizon of their English Football League charge and a possible points deduction if they are found guilty by an independent disciplinary commission of Championship breaking spending rules.
But things are progressing well on the pitch, with the Owls just one point adrift of third-placed Fulham.
Rhodes, who spent last season on loan at Norwich City, said: "I really enjoyed it. It was nice to be out there playing football, scoring goals and winning games.
"As a striker and footballer, it is what you live for."
The Rhodes and Fletcher combination terrorised Forest's feeble back four as Wednesday recorded their biggest win of the season. They never looked back after Rhodes' well-taken ninth minute opener.
Liam Palmer and Morgan Fox acquitted themselves well in the full-back positions, Tom Lees and Dominic Iorfa marshalled the defence superbly, Massimo Luongo and Barry Bannan dictated proceedings in midfield while Adam Reach and Kadeem Harris offered plenty of energy and threat on the wings.
After Rhodes headed in Reach's delightful centre, Ben Watson blazed over with the goal at his mercy after the ball broke kindly to him in the box. It was a key moment, with Rhodes completing the perfect hat-trick in the 37th minute with a spectacular overhead kick.
Fletcher prodded in the fourth to take his goal tally to 12 for the season.
The second half was relatively subdued as Wednesday produced a professional, disciplined display to see the game out.
"It is great to come to such a difficult place and get three points," said Rhodes. "Now the attention turns to a busy period and let's see how we get on."