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Owls overcome Blues

21 August 2012

Wednesday continued their encouraging start to the Championship season with an impressive 3-2 home win over Birmingham.

First half goals from Reda Johnson – his second in as many games – and debutant Rodri put the Owls on the road to victory and although Nikola Zigic struck a late goal for the Midlanders, Jermaine Johnson broke free at the death to maintain the two-goal cushion.

Marlon King then scored a last-gasp penalty but it was too little too late and  the points stayed at Hillsborough.

The Owls entered the contest looking to build on the 2-2 draw at Derby on Saturday and with
Spanish striker Rodri making his debut, the feelgood factor was high at Hillsborough.

And it was almost the perfect beginning for the loanee from Barcelona.

With just three minutes on the clock, Reda Johnson burst into space down the left and played a neat ball into the path of Rodri but the youngster sidefooted narrowly wide.

In an open start, Birmingham responded with skipper Steven Caldwell forcing a super save from Chris Kirkland at his near post but it was Wednesday that stole into the lead on 14 minutes.

Michail Antonio played a deep ball into the danger zone that somehow slipped the grasp of Jack Butland and Reda Johnson was on hand to nod into the net.

Nathan Redmond aimed a dipping shot that Kirkland safely saw over the bar as the visitors sought a route back into the game only for the Owls to go within a whisker of doubling their advantage.

Rhys McCabe – making his home debut after signing from Glasgow Rangers over the summer – floated an accurate corner into the mix but the onrushing Reda Johnson headed just wide.

The Owls had their tails up and Antonio went close with a daisycutter before Rodri made it 2-0 on 40 minutes.

The nippy frontman motored into space down the left side of the penalty area to take a Reda Johnson feed into his path and hit hard and low across Butland.

Birmingham needed a positive start to the second half and Kirkland had to be on his toes to divert a King strike moments after the restart.

Giant striker Zigic – on target at the weekend against Charlton from the bench – was introduced but it was wideman Chris Burke that should have halved the arrears just before the hour.

Burke sped into space down the right side of the box but with the goal at his mercy fired across Kirkland and wide.

Rodri left the field to a standing ovation but the next action came at the other end when Kirkland came to the rescue on 62 minutes, parrying superbly to deny King.

Jermaine Johnson then bore down on goal in trademark style but was thwarted by a last-ditch tackle before the flying winger thumped a rasping drive wide after some trickery on the edge of the box.

But with seven minutes to go, the Blues pulled one back.

Redmond swung a probing ball into the heart of the area and Zigic nipped in at the back post to finish into an empty net.

But the Owls’ response was the perfect one, Jermaine Johnson bearing in on goal with a minute to go to fire calmly past Butland and put Wednesday almost out of reach.

Still there was time for King to drill home a penalty after Reda Johnson felled Burke but it was not enough to prevent Dave Jones extending his unbeaten run at the S6 helm to 15 games.

Owls: Kirkland, Buxton, R Johnson, Semedo, Antonio (Maguire 90), J Johnson, O’Grady (Pecnik 81), Rodri (Madine 60), McCabe, Beevers, Llera

Unused substitutes: Bywater, Madine, Mattock, Prutton, Coke

Birmingham: Butland, Murphy, Caldwell, Davies, Burke, Mullins, King, Ambrose, Elliot (Zigic 46), Redmond, Spector

Unused substitutes: Doyle, Ibanez, Lovenkrands, Morrison, Gomis, Packwood

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