Wednesday went through the gears at Hillsborough and Sunderland saw their promotion push punted off course as they were soundly beaten 3-0.
Goals from Theo Corbeanu and Florian Kamberi gave the hosts a commanding first half lead and Lee Gregory completed the scoring after the break to cap Wednesday’s most impressive S6 display of the season so far.
The beleaguered Black Cats were simply outplayed in all departments and second best to an Owls side that posted a deserved and welcome win.
A Luke O’Nien side-footer that sailed wide was the opening and misleading gambit of a contest the Owls would essentially control from start to finish.
And after taking the game to Sunderland, Wednesday hit the front 13 minutes in courtesy of a precise Corbeanu finish. The Canadian perfectly judged Gregory’s clever feed to execute a low drive out of Thorben Hoffmann’s reach.
That was the platform on which the Owls would build a commanding lead by the break as the Black Cats struggled to make an impression beyond an engine room expertly marshalled by Barry Bannan.
The Owls skipper was at the heart of the action, prodding and probing, and Bannan was influential in a cutting move that ended with Corry Evans thwarting Kamberi at the back post.
Sunderland did have a rare burst forward on the half-hour and Chey Dunkley threw himself over an Aiden O’Brien hit that was heading for the bottom corner.
O’Brien found the net 10 minutes before the break only to look across and see a raised flag as Sunderland sharpened their tools in the final third.
But it was to no avail, Wednesday doubled their lead moments later. Corbeanu stood up an inviting cross for the loitering Kamberi and the big striker controlled to hit low past Hoffmann.
A scintillating first half belonged to the hosts and Bailey Peacock-Farrell got in on the act moments before the whistle, springing across his goal to beat out a fierce Tom Flanagan drive.
The challenge was for more of the same in the second half and after soaking up a brief bout of pressure, the Owls resumed their authority and extended the lead on 53 minutes.
Callum Paterson miscued a shot from the angle of the box but the ball landed kindly for the predatory figure of Gregory, who slammed home in front of the Kop.
The Owls were brimming with confidence – Kamberi tried his luck with a speculative half volley that wasn’t too far away – and Sunderland were fortunate to keep the score at 3-0 following a goalmouth scramble midway through the second period.
The visitors continued to have the odd burst forward but Wednesday were rarely troubled and managing the game to victory was the target for Darren Moore’s men.
The Wearsiders gave it their all to try and salvage something from a night to forget but with Wednesday on top of their game all over the pitch, there was to be no way through or back.
Wednesday: Peacock-Farrell, Palmer, Dunkley, Johnson, Paterson, Bannan (Dele-Bashiru 67), Wing, Adeniran, Corbeanu (Brown 83) Kamberi, Gregory (Berahino 85)