Wednesday’s three-match unbeaten run came to an end in a 3-1 defeat at Norwich City tonight.
The defeat leaves us in 23rd place, eight points adrift of Huddersfield in 21st and now facing an early relegation clash with QPR at Hillsborough on Saturday, the visitors sitting seven points ahead of us after a 0-0 home draw with Plymouth this evening.
While the end-of-game statistics showed we had 21 shots, only four of them on target, Norwich looked the sharper side overall and while we were threatening at times going forward, our defence and ageing midfield often struggled to cope with the home side’s speedy attacks.
Wednesday fell behind after just seven minutes, Borja Sainz firing into the top corner from 20 yards and, while it was an excellent finish, we failed to close down quickly enough in the build-up.
We were close to an equaliser when Bailey Cadamarteri’s shot from Liam Palmer’s cross appeared to hit Callum Paterson, Anthony Musaba then skewing the rebound wide under pressure from a Norwich defender.
Wednesday began to dominate for a period and threatened again on 21 minutes when Will Vaulks crossed from Barry Bannan’s short corner and Michael Ihiekwe’s header was pushed away by keeper Angus Gunn.
Ashley Barnes should have made it 2-0 when he cracked his shot against the bar from inside the box and Norwich soon paid for that with Wednesday grabbing a deserved equaliser just after the half-hour mark.
Ihiekwe flicked on a Vaulks throw and Cadamarteri was there at the far post to head back across goal and into the net, gaining a bloodied nose and mouth into the bargain.
Barnes missed another great chance to put the Canaries ahead within minutes, lofting the ball over the bar after breaking into the box, then only a great block from Paterson denied a close-range effort from Jonathan Rowe and Adam Idah’s six-yard header was thankfully straight at Cameron Dawson as the home side finished the half on top.
Norwich continued with that tempo at the start of the second half and were ahead within three minutes, Sainz given time and space to send in a low cross and Barnes turned it home from six yards.
Paterson raced clear down the left but fired into the side netting when he would have been better going for the far post and the Canaries scored the all-important third goal on 72 minutes.
Again it was courtesy of some poor defending from the Owls, Dimi Giannoulis under no pressure as he crossed to the far post where Rowe somehow managed to squeeze his header seemingly between Dawson and the upright, with Akin Famewo also failing to challenge the attacker.
Wednesday never looked like getting back into the game after that until the 10 added minutes when Paterson’s close-range header was too close to Gunn and then Ihiekwe nodded just over the top … but any hopes of a fourth game without defeat had all but disappeared long before the final whistle.
Dawson, Palmer (Valentin 73), Diaby, Ihiekwe, Famewo (Buckley 84), Vaulks, Bannan, Byers (Johnson 46), Paterson, Musaba (Fletcher 84), Cadamarteri (Gassama 73). Unused subs: Vasquez, Bernard, James, Bakinson.