Wednesday will have to settle for the play-offs despite a 3-0 success at Shrewsbury this afternoon.
Victories for promotion rivals Plymouth and Ipswich means that, although our success takes us onto the 93-point mark, we will finish in third place and face the play-offs for the second successive season, with a two-legged semi final against the eventual sixth-placed team to follow.
With one league game to play that could be any of three clubs – Derby, Peterborough or Bolton – the away leg on Friday, May 12, kick off 8pm, and the home game at Hillsborough on Saturday, May 20, kick off 12.30pm. If successful, then we will be in the final at Wembley Stadium on Monday, May 29, kick off 3pm.
The three-goal win at Shrewsbury today came courtesy of a Michael Smith hat-trick as Wednesday showed flashes of the form that made us overwhelming favourites for automatic promotion before our alarming dip in form in recent weeks which ultimately handed the top two spots to Plymouth and Ipswich.
Smith struck first on just seven minutes to complete an excellent Wednesday move from the back, taking Lee Gregory’s neat backheel on the edge of the box and expertly sidefooting high into the net.
We were the team who created the best chances of the first half, Barry Bannan testing home keeper Marko Marosi from 20 yards and then Smith knocking the ball wide from close range after a goalmouth scramble when he looked sure to score.
It was a similar story after the break, Gregory immediately seeing his effort deflect wide off team-mate Callum Paterson before we doubled our lead soon afterwards, Bannan finding Marvin Johnson down the left-hand side and his cross into the box was headed clinically into the corner of the net by Smith.
Shrewsbury went close when Cameron Dawson saved a header from ex-Owl Chey Dunkley and then Luke Leahy saw a curled effort hit the bar.
However, Wednesday had the final say 10 minutes from time when Smith outmuscled a home defender to latch onto Bannan’s through ball and slot past Marosi to complete his hat-trick.
Dawson, Adeniran (Bakinson 75), Iorfa, Ihiekwe (Flint 75), Palmer (Brown 88) Johnson, Vaulks, Bannan (Windass 88), Paterson, Gregory, Smith (Dele-Bashiru 84). Unused subs: Stockdale, Shipston.