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21:39 14th February 2012

Owls slip up to Stevenage

The Owls went down to a second successive defeat on Tuesday night as Stevenage carried out the proverbial smash and grab at Hillsborough.

Wednesday enjoyed the lion's share of the ball throughout almost the whole of the game but were undone by a Scott Laird sucker punch at the end of the first half.

Visiting keeper Chris Day produced a string of fine saves - primarily from Owls dangerman Jermaine Johnson - and Gary Smith's side rarely ventured from their own half but Laird's strike was sufficient to take the points back to Hertfordshire.

Having suffered a disappointing reverse at Exeter on Saturday, Wednesday were out to produce a positive response and started the game exactly with that mindset, Chris O'Grady sending in a fierce drive from distance inside two minutes that Day acrobatically tipped over.

But top-six Stevenage were always going to give Wednesday anything but an easy ride, and they defended in numbers, countering only occasionally.

Joel Byrom went close with a rasping 20-yarder on the ten-minute mark but by and large, the onus was with the hosts.

Owls v Stevenage Lewis Buxton 320

Jermaine Johnson showed flashes of the blistering recent form that has seen the Jamaican international plunder four goals in six games and the promise of danger was invariably at his feet.

And, inevitably, it was Johnson that came close to breaking the deadlock five minutes before half time as the home side posed almost all of the questions.

Little seemed on for the pace ace as he picked up possession 25 yards from goal but Johnson promptly took two defenders out of the game and unleashed a ferocious drive that Day did well to avert from the target.

But for all their possession, Wednesday could not make it count - and paid right on the half time whistle.

Byrom sent an accurate corner over to the back post and Laird climbed the highest to nod a firm, low header into the back of the net.

The goal was a bitter pill for the Owls to swallow after bossing proceedings from the first whistle and they needed an early kickstart for the second period.

That man Johnson almost provided it moments after the resumption, comfortably outpacing his marker before delivering a teasing ball into the danger zone that just evaded the onrushing Gary Madine.

O'Grady then picked out Prutton with a piercing ball on the edge of the six-yard box and the midfield man was favourite to score but Day somehow kept out the close range shot.

Wednesday continued to press forward and Stephen Bywater was virtually a spectator as all the action unfolded at the other end of the park.

But the evening was one of frustration for the Owls, as was evidenced when Chris Lines flashed a piledriver narrowly over the bar with the clock counting down and that proved the last real action of note.

Wednesday: Bywater, Otsemebor, R Jones, Batth, Buxton, Prutton (M Jones 74), Lines, Semedo, J Johnson, Madine (Morrison 67), O'Grady

Unused substitutes: Weaver, Beevers, Bennett

Day, Wilson, Laird, Charles (May 69) Ashton, Byrom, Roberts, Freeman (Long 79), Beardsley (Edwards 88), Bostwick, Henry

Unused substitutes:
Julian, Cowan

    Data provided by Press Association


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