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16:53 1th October 2011

Owls' joy at the Pools

A first half headed goal from Reda Johnson sealed the points for the Owls at Hartlepool on Saturday as Wednesday move up into the play-off picture.

The 1-0 success was the Owls' third league win on the bounce - incidentally bringing Hartlepool's unbeaten league record to an end.

Wednesday made a bright start in the glorious sunshine at Victoria Park with Ben Marshall causing the Pools' backline problems from out wide on the right.

But the first opportunity of note came at the other end after seven minutes when Nolberto Solano looped his cross into the danger zone for Anthony Sweeney to head wide from six yards.

That chance lifted the home side as Hartlepool enjoyed a spell of possession in the Owls' half, delivering a flurry of crosses from wide positions, but the Wednesday defence held strong to clear any danger.

It was turning into a lively contest with chances at both ends but it was Wednesday who edged their noses in front after the half hour mark.

Marshall's long throw into the area from the right was met by Johnson who glanced his header into the far corner beyond Scott Flinders.

Hartlepool almost responded within minutes when Gary Liddle found space to line up a strike in the area but Owls skipper Rob Jones was well-placed to make a crucial block.

Marshall then tested Flinders with a free kick from all of 40 yards before the same man almost doubled Wednesday's lead with a vicious strike from the right moments later.

Hartlepool were finding it tough to win the midfield battle with Jose Semedo and Chris Lines dominating proceedings in the centre.

In a bid to restore parity, Hartlepool upped the ante after half time and enjoyed further spells of possession, albeit with no real penetration.

That was until Sweeney wasted another golden chance from a Solano cross, as the midfielder put his free header wide of the target from close range.

Wednesday responded through Gary Madine who jinked his way into the area before firing just over the bar.

Hartlepool were prematurely celebrating an equaliser just after the hour mark as Andy Monkhouse's arrowed drive came back off the upright, with Wednesday able to clear the danger.

Johnson almost grabbed a second in bizarre circumstances when the acting left back delivered a testing cross that required a smart save from Flinders.

Hartlepool heaped the pressure on Wednesday with the best of the chances falling to Neil Austin but Danny Batth produced an outstanding tackle to thwart the danger.

A quick break from Wednesday could have settled it at the death as Liam Palmer rounded Flinders but couldn't find the target from an acute angle in added time.

But the Owls held on for the hard-fought victory as Gary Megson's men rise into the play-off positions.

Hartlepool: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Humphreys (Poole 71), Solano, Murray (Horwood 46), Liddle, Sweeney, Nish, Boyd (Monkhouse 61)

Unused substitutes: Rafferty, Lyuscombe

Owls: Bywater, Buxton, Batth, Jones, R Johnson, Semedo, Lines, O'Connor (Sedgwick 84), Marshall, McGoldrick (O'Grady 59), Madine (Palmer 67)

Unused substitutes: O'Donnell, Reynolds

    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.