Wednesday were distinctly second best at promotion-chasing Southampton this afternoon and couldn’t argue with the 4-0 scoreline.
With bottom club Rotherham losing and 23rd-placed QPR not in action until tomorrow, the heavy defeat sees us staying in 22nd but now four points from safety after Huddersfield’s home draw with Plymouth.
We actually began the game in dangerous style with two openings falling to Bailey Cadamarteri inside the first three minutes. First, he failed to control the ball properly after Josh Windass forced an error from keeper Gavin Bakunu and then he nodded just wide after a headed assist from Michael Ihiekwe.
However, that was just about as good as it got for Wednesday in the first half and the Saints were far the better side for the rest of the game.
They took control after our initial double threat with the danger signs there when Michael Ihiekwe headed off the line from Ryan Fraser’s shot and it was no surprise when they took the lead on 35 minutes.
Poor defending was to blame with Marvin Johnson allowing Adam Armstrong to break free from a thrown-in down the right and when Bambo Diaby made a hash of a straightforward clearance from the cross, Che Adams took advantage to fire them in front from 10 yards.
Cameron Dawson then kept the score to 1-0 at half time when he pushed away Kyle Walker-Peters’ angled effort.
We began the second half in promising fashion with Ashley Fletcher bringing a diving save out of Bazunu and Windass missed two chances, heading wide from Barry Bannan’s cross to the far post before volleying over from close range.
And Southampton made us pay soon afterwards when Diaby lost the ball high up the field, allowing Stuart Armstrong to break free to set up Adam Armstrong and he converted with ease to double their lead, despite the efforts of Bernard on the line.
Windass tested Bozunu with a 20-yard free kick that was too close to the keeper but Fraser made it 3-0 with 15 minutes remaining, the midfielder in plenty of space to sidefoot home from 12 yards in another swift Southampton attack.
And defeat for the Owls was completed six minutes from time when the Saints opened us up down the right and Adam Armstrong supplied the cross for Sekou Mara to tap home from six yards.
Dawson, Palmer (Valentin 82), B. Diaby, Ihiekwe, Johnson, Bannan, Bernard (Famewo 82), Gassama, Musaba (Vaulks 46), Windass (Wilks 82), Cadamarteri (Fletcher 46). Unused subs: Beadle, James, M. Diaby, Smith.