NEIL Mellor hit his target of 20 goals for the season yesterday and helped to provide further evidence that the Owls’ Hillsborough hoodoo is a thing of the past.
After being so edgy and ineffective at home for so long, Wednesday have now run up four successive wins on their own patch.
They saw off bottom club Swindon comfortably thanks to Mellor’s superbly-taken double and a firm strike from Darren Potter.
It was a satisfying way for the club to follow up the mathematical clinching of safety when they earned a point on Saturday at Walsall.
Megson made five changes for the second game in three days.
In came Nicky Weaver, Daniel Jones, Darren Potter, Reda Johnson and Jermaine Johnson.
Out went Richard O’Donnell, Tommy Miller, Gary Teale, Giles Coke and an unwell Danny Batth.
The Owls surged towards the Leppings Lane to make a chance in the second minute.
Potter made an interception and sent Jermaine Johnson away down the right. The winger played a low ball to Neil Mellor and the striker set himself for a 19th goal of the season but sidefooted wide from 15 yards.
Mellor consoled himself by setting up the first goal after 16 minutes.
Johnson ran at defenders on the left then slipped the ball inside to the striker, who rolled it into the path of Potter for the midfield man to drive home a low shot from 25 yards with the aid of a deflection.
Swindon, in a precarious position, came to have a go and fielded a 4-3-3 formation. That meant some defending at times for Wednesday, and they were opened up once by Matt Ritchie, only for Weaver to mark his return with a save at the striker’s feet.
Seven minutes later it was 2-0 thanks to a splendid goal. Jon Otsemobor, out on the right, struck a great ball into the box. Mellor lost his marker to score with a perfectly judged header, and was just to the left of the penalty spot when he placed it over the keeper for his 19th goal of the season and fifth in his last six games.
Swindon’s small following began to chant for Paul Hart’s head but could have seen some hope for their team soon afterwards as Weaver made an amazing double save. A deflection on a shot by left-back Michael Rose looked like beating him but he stopped the ball with his foot, then blocked Elliot Benyon when the striker seemed certain to score.
Daniel Jones, who had swapped flanks with Jermaine Johnson since the start, threatened to carve out an opportunity with a powerful run down the right but failed to pick out Gary Madine.
It was almost too easy for the Owls, but they were jolted with an outstanding goal in the 42nd minute, a first one too for Robins captain Jonathan Douglas since he joined them from Leeds at the start of last season.
After Wednesday only half cleared a right-wing corner, the midfield player sank a right-foot volley into Weaver’s top left-hand corner from a good 25 yards. “We were there when Douglas scored,” sang the away fans.
Mellor was not to be outdone, however. His 20th of the season came in the 53rd minute. Jermaine Johnson chested down a long ball from his namesake and saw his close-range effort blocked by Phil Smith. Mellor twice exchanged passes with Madine then placed a right-foot shot inside the keeper’s right-hand post from 10 yards.
Wednesday already had Miller and Chris Sedgwick ready to come on before Madine limped off in the 64th minute.
Sedgwick replaced Johnson, and Mellor became the sole striker in a switch to 4-5-1, but both Jones and Sedgwick looked to get forward on the left and right respectively.
The Owls stayed comfortably in control.
Wednesday were a bit too casual at times; Megson did not look too pleased when slow passing in the visitors’ half gave away possession and sparked a counter attack.
Wednesday had some late defending to do, but victory was emphatically theirs.
OWLS: Weaver 8; Otsemobor 7, R Johnson 7, R Jones 7, Buxton 7; J Johnson 6 (Sedgwick 64, 7), O’Connor 6, Potter 7, D Jones 6 (Palmer 83); Mellor 8, Madine 6 (Miller 64, 7). Unused subs: O’Donnell, Heffernan, Teale, C Morrison.
ROBINS: Smith 7; Caddis 8, Frampton 6 (Cuthbert 36, 6), Jean-Francois 7, Rose 7; Ferry 7, Douglas 7, Prutton 6; Benyon 5 (Bodin 71), N’Diaye 5 (Andrew 77), Ritchie 5. Unused subs: Jesionkowski, McGovern, Timlin, Sheehan.
Goals: Potter (16), Mellor (27, 53) for Wednesday; Douglas (42) for Swindon.
Referee: Geoff Eltrincham (Tyne and Wear).
Bookings: Swindon - Caddis (61), foul; Wednesday - O’Connor (79), foul.