Wednesday’s return to league action after almost three weeks of enforced inactivity ended in a 5-0 thrashing at Sunderland this evening.
The question of whether we would be raring to go or rather rusty following the ‘Covid lay-off’ was answered in worrying fashion as we turned in a shambolic team display, particularly in defence, and were taken apart by a Sunderland side who went to the top of division one with their victory.
For the Owls, the defeat leaves us in eighth spot, five points adrift of the play-offs and with our goal difference also taking a battering on the night.
We had begun the game promisingly, dominating the early possession and Lee Gregory going close with a flicked effort from Jack Hunt’s cross.
However, that was about as good as it got and the home side took the lead on 12 minutes with their first real attack. Ross Stewart, who looked as though he could have been offside, lost the attentions of Chey Dunkley as he strode clear onto a through ball and fired past Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
Dunkley, back from injury, was forced off again with a hamstring problem on 29 minutes and worse followed 10 minutes from half time, Alex Pritchard intercepting a pass from Hunt and sending Stewart clear to tuck away his second goal from inside the box.
It was 3-0 four minutes later when Wednesday failed to clear a corner and Callum Doyle headed home.
Elliot Embleton almost snatched a fourth goal before the break when his 20-yarder was tipped over by Peacock-Farrell and the keeper came to the rescue again just after half time when he saved Stewart’s point-blank header.
However, the striker was not to be denied his hat-trick, left totally unmarked in the box to head past Peacock-Farrell from six yards just before the hour-mark.
By this time it was just a matter of how many Sunderland were going to score, with Wednesday posing no threat at all, and the hosts got their fifth on 75 minutes, substitute Mbunga Kimpioka the latest home player left with time and space in the box to fire home from eight yards.
There was still time for Peacock-Farrell to deny Sunderland a sixth goal, saving from Kimpioka, and it was a relief when the final whistle was blown on a sorry night in Sunderland.
Peacock-Farrell, Palmer, Dunkley (Brennan 29), Johnson, Hunt, Wing, Dele-Bashiru (Corbeanu 59), Bannan, Mendez-Laing, Paterson, Gregory (Adeniran 76). Unused subs. Wildsmith, Shodipo, Sow, Berahino.