Owls hit four and are back in play-offs

Wednesday moved back into the play-off places with a somewhat flattering 4-1 win over Cheltenham at Hillsborough this afternoon.

Two late goals, one of them a first-ever for the Owls by Jack Hunt, eased the concerns after the visitors had looked likely to get an equaliser during a nervy second-half spell for Wednesday.

The victory takes us up to sixth place on 69 points, two clear of Sunderland and level on points and games played with Oxford in fifth.

Fourth-placed Plymouth’s excellent run ended in a 1-0 loss at Ipswich today, leaving us five points behind them but with a game in hand.

We trailed after just four minutes against Cheltenham when Alfie May beat the offside trap and fired high into the net with the aid of a deflection.

However, Wednesday were back on level terms within two minutes, Harlee Dean heading Barry Bannan’s corner goalwards and Massimo Luongo hooking the ball home from inside the six-yard box.

Cheltenham caused occasional scares going forward but we began to take a hold on the game, without managing to find the finishing touch in the rest of the half.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing just failed to connect with Lee Gregory’s low cross, Marvin Johnson saw a fierce long-ranger come back off the chest of keeper Owen Evans and  Luongo headed off target after finding space in the box.

It was a similar story at the start of the second half, George Byers heading over the bar and suffering a cut to the head into the bargain.

We continued to dominate and Lee Gregory sent us into the lead on 58 minutes when his well-struck low 25-yarder found the bottom corner of the Kop net.

However, any thoughts we might have had of quickly building on that lead were soon dispelled with Cheltenham suddenly bouncing back for a period to cause more problems at the back.

Bailey Peacock-Farrell dived to save at the feet of George Lloyd, Elliot Bonds cracked an effort against the woodwork from the edge of the box after slack marking from a corner and then Dean came to the rescue with a vital block on May as the visitors sensed an equaliser was on the cards.

At the other end, Cheltenham somehow managed to keep us out as Gregory and Byers looked sure to convert from close-in but the third goal did come with seven minutes remaining and with Hunt the unlikely scorer.

Johnson picked him out with a ball to the far post and Hunt volleyed home in style from eight yards out for that maiden goal for the club.

Four minutes later, the points were ensured when Luongo found Byers in space in the penalty area and he turned back inside a defender before his shot deflected past Evans to complete the scoring.

Peacock-Farrell, Hunt, Storey (Iorfa 83), Dean, Hutchinson, Johnson, Byers, Luongo, Bannan, Mendez-Laing (Sow 65), Gregory (Paterson 89). Unused subs: Wildsmith, Dunkley, Dele-Bashiru, Kamberi. Att: 21,925.

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