What a day to remember for Liam Palmer. The Owls’ longest-serving player posted his 350th senior appearance at Bolton, captained his boyhood team to mark the occasion, then promptly scored a rare goal to help Wednesday to victory.
The contest finished 2-0 in the visitors’ favour and served as the perfect response to midweek defeat at Peterborough.
Palmer’s strike followed a George Byers hit to give the Owls a comfortable advantage at half time that they never looked like relinquishing after the break.
And on a day for statistics, Wednesday ended Bolton’s unbeaten start to the season whilst leapfrogging the hosts in the table to head back towards the summit.
It was no more than deserved overall.
Lee Gregory had the first sight of goal, heading a Byers cross wide, as Darren Moore’s men found their stride with the opening period unfolding.
The Trotters had plenty of the ball without asking too much of a backline that included debutant Mark McGuinness.
Conor Bradley looked to change that on the half-hour, slaloming into the penalty area, but was stopped in his tracks emphatically by Michael Ihiekwe as he pulled the trigger.
Just four minutes later, Bradley spurned a golden opportunity to break the deadlock.
Nicking possession 40 yards out, the frontman motored in on goal but failed to find the target past the outrushing David Stockdale.
As so often the case in football, that profligacy was punished and not once but twice.
On 35 minutes, after keeper James Trafford spared the blushes of Ricardo Almeida Santos with a last-ditch clearance off the line from a wayward backpass, Wednesday took the lead.
Barry Bannan picked up the loose ball, looked up, and calmly played in Byers to slot home from 10 yards.
Three minutes later, and with the 5,500 travelling Wednesdayites still celebrating, it was 2-0.
Josh Windass sprayed a fine diagonal to the right of the penalty area, where Palmer collected and finished with some aplomb across Trafford.
Windass almost went from provider to scorer right at the start of the second half, when the Owls could have been out of sight.
A smart link between Palmer and Byers saw the latter tee up Windass from close range but the connection wasn’t quite true and the ball looped over the crossbar.
Bolton battled to find a route back into the game – Jack Iredale brought Stockdale into action and Kyle Dempsey flashed wide – but Wednesday were in no mood to release their grip on the points.
Ian Evatt made a triple substitution in the closing stages in a bid to turn the tide but it was to no avail and the Owls headed back over the Pennines with a comfortable win.
Wednesday: Stockdale, Palmer, Iorfa, Ihiekwe, McGuinness, Johnson, Byers, Bannan (Vaulks 90), Bakinson, Windass (Adeniran 83), Gregory