Owls edged out
Wednesday’s dismal run of results continued on Saturday as Bolton went back over the Pennines with a win by the odd goal in three.
Goals from Marcus Alonso and Mark Davies either side of a converted Ross Barkley penalty saw the Owls slip to a fourth successive defeat.
Dave Jones’ men now head to Southampton on Tuesday night hoping that the respite from the league in the Capital One Cup will help end the slump in their Championship form.
The Wednesday chief made six changes to the team that went down to Huddersfield in midweek for the visit of Bolton.
Kieran Lee was handed his first starting shirt for Wednesday, while Anthony Gardner and Daniel Jones also came into the rearguard.
Rhys McCabe partnered Ross Barkley in the engine room, Nejc Pecnik came in on the left of midfield and Rodri was recalled up front alongside Jay Bothroyd.
And the Owls made a bright start to the game, with Michail Antonio looking dangerous down the right flank – one pinpoint delivery in the early exchanges fizzed into the heart of the six-yard box but the Wanderers’ defence was able to clear.
At the other end, Mark Davies sent a powerful header into the midriff of Chris Kirkland as both sides sought the early advantage.
The breakthrough almost came Wednesday’s way on 15 minutes when Barkley drilled a fierce goalbound free kick that hit the foot of the post via a deflection off the Bolton wall.
Antonio went close moments later following some neat footwork from Rodri that saw the young Spaniard leave two markers trailing in his wake, but on 27 minutes, the visitors could and should have taken the lead.
A smart three-man move ended with Chris Eagles scuffing wide from close range when the former Owls loanee had the goal at his mercy.
Eagles tried to make amends with a clever chip that dropped just over the crossbar before David Ngog missed the target with a clear header from eight yards.
But two minutes before the break, Bolton got their noses in front.
Eagles swung a corner into the mix and Alonso was on hand to glance deftly past Kirkland and into the far corner.
The Trotters came out for the second period looking to finish the job and came within a whisker of doubling their lead ten minutes in.
Alonso found space down the left wing and delivered a telling cross that somehow evaded the onrushing Kevin Davies almost on the goal line.
But then on the hour, Wednesday hit back.
Anthony Gardner was tripped in the box by Keith Andrews, the referee pointed to the spot and up stepped Barkley to coolly dispatch the penalty.
The Owls’ lead, though, lasted only four minutes.
Mark Davies took possession 25 yards from goal and rode two challenges before firing an unstoppable shot in the top corner to send the pendulum back Bolton’s way.
Barkley sent a daisycutter just wide and Antonio mistimed a header after finding space in the area as Wednesday pressed for a second equaliser.
But the visitors looked lively on the break and Andrews brought a fine save from Kirkland with a wicked drive from distance that was curling in.
The hosts finished the game in the ascendancy, albeit without calling keeper Adam Bogden into action, and must now regroup ahead of the long trip south to St Mary’s.
Owls: Kirkland, Lee, Taylor, Gardner, Jones, Antonio, Barkley, McCabe (Semedo 46), Pecnik, Bothroyd (O’Grady 75), Rodri (J Johnson 57)
Unused substitutes: Bywater, Beevers, Llera, Madine
Bolton: Bogdan, Mears, Alonso, Mills, Eagles, Andrews (Pratley 90), Ngog (Afobe 66), Knight, M Davies, K Davies, Spearing
Unused substitutes: Lonergan, Petrov, Warnock, Ricketts, Lee