Saints sink Wednesday
Sheffield Wednesday exited the Capital One Cup on Tuesday evening at the hands of Premiership outfit Southampton.
Goals in either half from Jay Rodriguez were enough to see Saints through in what was a relatively even encounter at St Mary’s, despite the scoreline.
Michail Antonio and Nejc Pecnik both went close for the Owls but the hosts held firm to inflict a third round defeat on Wednesday.
Both sides rang the changes for the cup clash, fielding contrasting starting line-ups from their last respective league games.
For the Owls, Dave Jones handed a debut to Irish youngster Paul Corry, who sat in the heart of the midfield alongside skipper Jose Semedo, but it was at the back where Wednesday had to be alert just after the 15-minute mark.
Frazer Richardson sent a piercing through ball down the middle to Rodriguez and Saints’ record signing went scampering in on goal but Stephen Bywater was off his line swiftly to divert the danger.
Antonio tried his luck with a chipped effort moments later after keeper Paulo Gazzaniga spilled a Miguel Llera cross before the winger then had a better chance and should have given the visitors the lead.
Antonio skilfully killed a deep Lee feed on his chest and clipped over the advancing Gazzaniga but also the crossbar eight yards from goal.
Play swiftly switched to the other end and Bywater was again called into action, rushing out to save from Guly Do Prado after the striker found space in the penalty area.
But Bywater could do nothing to prevent Southampton breaking the deadlock on the half hour.
The dangerous looking Rodriguez took possession on the edge of the box and cleverly created space to turn and thump an unstoppable drive into the back of the net.
Eight minutes before half time, Saints almost doubled their lead when Steve De Ridder sent an accurate cross into the mix and Do Prado headed on to the foot of the post, leaving the Owls with a fighting chance for the second half.
Pecnik fired a dipping volley over the bar just after the restart and the Slovenia international went closer still ten minutes in when he took a delightful pass into his stride before hitting a low drive that Gazzaniga did well to parry around the upright.
The Owls made a double substitution in a bid to up the ante in the final third, with both Jermaine Johnson and Chris O’Grady entering the fray – Corry and Maguire made way.
But 12 minutes from time, Southampton put the game to bed – albeit in fortunate circumstances.
Substitute Joe Mattock tangled with De Ridder a yard inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot.
Rodriguez drilled hard and low to Bywater’s right and the keeper appeared to have pulled off a fine diving save – only for the ball to somehow spin back and over the line to sum up the luckless Owls’ night.
Southampton: Gazzaniga, Richardson, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Seaborne, Cork (Robinson 82), Ward-Prowse, Prado (Reeves 71), De Ridder, Chaplow, Rodriguez (Hoskins 85)
Unused substitutes: Davis, Butterfield, Gape, Sinclair
Owls: Bywater, Lee (Mattock 46), Llera, Beevers, Jones, Antonio, Semedo, Corry (J Johnson 66), Pecnik, Maguire (O’Grady 66), Madine
Unused substitutes: Jameson, Mayor, Lavery, Rodri