Sheffield Wednesday vs Hartlepool: Owls embarrassed at home in Papa John’s Trophy

A disastrous display saw Sheffield Wednesday exit the Papa John's Trophy after falling to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of League Two side Hartlepool United.

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 7:16 am

With the lure of a trip to Wembley further down the line, the Owls could not have chosen a worse time to serve up their poorest display of the season at Hillsborough.

Both sides made eight changes for the last 32 tie, yet there was still more than enough quality in the home side’s starting XI, on paper at least, to see them through.

Not even the second-half introduction of key trio Barry Bannan, Josh Windass and Jack Hunt could save Wednesday from a defeat made all the more embarrassing by the manner in which it came.

Sign up to our Sheffield Wednesday newsletter

A disastrous display saw Sheffield Wednesday exit the Papa John's Trophy after falling to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of League Two side Hartlepool United.

The bulk of the damage was done in the opening 15 minutes after the Owls gave themselves a mountain to climb by giving away two cheap goals.

The first saw Pools midfielder Mark Shelton find the back of the net with a close-range header at the back post after the home side initially failed to clear a corner.

Then, in a passage of play fit for a Christmas bloopers DVD, stand-in centre-half Jaden Brown misplaced his pass to Joe Wildsmith while under pressure from a Hartlepool attacker and saw the ball roll into the back of the net.

Wednesday were lucky not to see themselves fall further behind when several more unforced errors allowed rank outsiders Hartlepool, who presumably couldn’t believe their luck, more opportunities to add to their lead.

New Hartlepool manager and former Sheffield Wednesday favourite Graeme Lee watched on from the stands, having been officially appointed on Wednesday morning, and must have been rubbing his hands together.

Ciaran Brennan wasted a glorious chance to half the deficit just before the break when the ball fortuitously fell to his feet from a free-kick, but he fired wide from eight yards.

Just under 5,000 hardy souls in the home end grew increasingly frustrated with mistake upon mistake in the first period from an Owls XI who proved why they are second string.

A triple switch at the start of the second half saw Bannan, Hunt and Windass replace George Byers, Sylla Sow and Olamide Shodipo.

Despite the introduction of the big boys, it took the Owls almost 15 minutes to carve out their first clear chance of the half when Bannan fed Theo Corbeanu out wide, whose cross found Saido Berahino in the box.

He could only find the arms of goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell, however.

Just moments later a corner kick caused havoc for Wednesday’s defence, who wasted several chances to clear, which allowed striker Will Goodwin to poke the ball home for the Pools’ third

After that the game became more of a training exercise, with the home side dominating possession but the visitors holding their shape well to limit chances to efforts from distance.

With the clock ticking, Windass fired over from close range to cap off a calamitous evening before Bannan and Callum Paterson both went into the referee’s book as tempers frayed.

Teams:

Sheffield Wednesday: Wildsmith, Brown, Brennan (Adedoyin, 84), Paterson, Corbeanu, Shodipo (Hunt, 46), Byers (Bannan, 46), Dele-Bashiru, Wing (Agbontohoma, 69) Sow (Windass, 46), Berahino

Hartlepool: Mitchell, Sterry, Odusina, Shelton, Goodwin (Fondop-Talom, 86), Grey (Olomola, 80), Jones, Smith, Crawford, Francis-Angol, Hendrie