Lingard downs Owls
The Owls went down to a comprehensive 4-1 defeat at the hands of Birmingham at St Andrews on Saturday.
Manchester United loan striker Jesse Lingard did the damage, firing all four goals on his debut, including a 13-minute first half hat-trick that effectively put the game
Kamil Zayatte headed a second half consolation for Wednesday after Lingard struck again but it proved academic as the Midlanders emerged comfortable winners.
Dave Jones handed an instant debut to Stephen McPhail, who joined SWFC on a free transfer earlier in the week.
Fellow new recruit Roger Johnson also made his first appearance and against his former employers.
Unbeknown of the whirlwind to follow, Wednesday were first to show when Michail Antonio tested Darren Randolph with a long ranger before Liam Palmer screwed wide following a neat three-man move.
But just as the Owls seemed the more likely, Birmingham scored from their first attack of real purpose on 20 minutes to open the floodgates.
Chris Burke drilled in a low shot from distance that brought a fine save from Chris Kirkland but Lingard was on the spot to smash home inside the six-yard box.
The strike was a shot in the arm for the home side, who threatened to double their lead moments later, this time when Matt Green burst in on goal but Kirkland was off his line swiftly to deal with the danger.
Kirkland again came to the rescue just before the half-hour when Lingard hit a fierce drive goalwards that the Owls’ keeper tipped over the crossbar.
But Kirkland could do nothing on 29 minutes as Lingard jinked his way into the penalty area and finished hard and low to put the Blues squarely in the driving seat.
Things went from bad to worse for the visitors on 33 minutes when Lingard found space on the right edge of the area to unleash an unstoppable shot that completed his quickfire treble.
The shellshocked Owls needed the interval to regroup – only to meet with dangerman Lingard still in scoring mood.
And on 51 minutes, after Burke did well down the right to pull back for the young Red Devil, Lingard drilled hard into the far corner out of Kirkland’s reach.
From that juncture, it was a matter of keeping Birmingham at bay and launching sporadic counters, as was evidenced when Jacques Maghoma went on a mazy run upfield then ended with a blistering shot that flew past the post.
The Owls did find a way through on 67 minutes, though, when McPhail floated an accurate set piece into the mix and Zayatte got the merest of touches to guide past Randolph.
At the other end, Tom Adeyemi went close with an angled drive before the Owls responded with Jermaine Johnson forcing Randolph into a flying save.
Shane Ferguson broke free on goal as the clock ticked down only to shoot wide but it mattered not for Birmingham, who eased to their first home victory of the season.
Birmingham: Randolph, Murphy, Robinson, Bartley, Bun, Burke, Lingard (Ferguson 71), Elliot, Spector, Adeyemi, Green (Lovenkrands 84)
Owls: Kirkland, Spence, Roger Johnson, Zayatte, Reda Johnson, Palmer (Nuhiu 30), Prutton, McPhail, Helan, Maghoma (Jermaine Johnson 61), Antonio