Wednesday moved through to the last 32 of the Papa John’s Trophy with a 4-0 win over Harrogate Town at Hillsborough this evening.
We also finish up topping Group H, meaning we will be given a home tie against one of the northern section runners-up – not including Harrogate who finished second in our group – when the draw for the knockout stages is made on Sky Sports Football on Saturday afternoon, following the live screening of the division two game between Port Vale and Bradford City.
However, the scoreline at S6 tonight hardly tells the story of the first 55 minutes of the game, when keeper Joe Wildsmith was arguably our man of the match.
It took three Wednesday goals inside 10 second-half minutes to finally see off a Harrogate side with their manager Simon Weaver, a former Owls youngster, no doubt rueing the form of Wildsmith and his side’s lack of a killer instinct in front of goal which didn’t quite match some of their impressive build-up play in the first hour.
Wildsmith had been called into action almost from the start of the game, saving from Danilo Orsi and Jack Diamond before the returning Massimo Luongo hit a post on six minutes.
Then Wednesday took a somewhat surprising lead on 17 minutes, Mide Shodipo finding Jack Hunt in the box with a cross from the left and, although Hunt failed to make decent contact for a shot, he still had time to set up Saido Berahino with a tap-in from six yards.
Undeterred, Harrogate hit back on 24 minutes via a storming run from midfield by Alex Pattison, he laid off the ball to Diamond and when his effort was blocked by Ciaran Brennan, Orsi struck an upright from the rebound.
Two minutes later, the visitors looked to have won a penalty when Simon Power went down under a challenge from Liam Waldock but referee Trevor Kettle thought differently.
Wildsmith came to the rescue again with saves from Aaron Martin and the impressive Pattison and the half time statistics showed us having had six shots with two on target while Harrogate boasted 10 efforts and six on goal.
The second half began in similar fashion with Diamond bursting clear and seeing his low shot saved by Wildsmith.
However, Wednesday again struck against the run of play on 57 minutes, sparking a three-goal spree inside 10 minutes.
The move for the second goal began when Brennan opened up Harrogate with an excellent crossfield ball to Shodipo and his cross from the left was met with a fine glancing header into the far corner by George Byers, another back from a long injury lay-off.
Harrogate twice went close to halving the deficit almost immediately, Wildsmith saving from Warren Burrell and then Pattison.
And they were made to pay again with a third Wednesday goal on the hour, Sylla Sow cutting in from the left and shooting into the far corner of the net from just inside the box.
Seven minutes later Wednesday made it four from the penalty spot, Korede Adedoyin was brought down by Connor Hall, with the Harrogate defender also red-carded, and Adedoyin got up to convert the spot kick for his first senior goal for the Owls.
That fourth goal and the sending off finally ended any Harrogate resistance while Sow will have been disappointed not have added to the scoreline when he failed to beat keeper Mark Oxley in a one-on-one.
Wildsmith, Hunt, Agbontohoma, Brennan, Brown, Waldock, Byers (Adeniran 72), Luongo (Dele-Bashiru 72), Shodipo, Sow, Berahino (Adedoyin 60). Unused subs. Render, Paterson, Wing, Corbeanu. Attendance: 5433.