sheffield WEDNESDAY moved back into second place in League One after a 1-0 victory at Leyton Orient.
Reda Johnson scored the only goal of the match in the 49th minute but the Owls could have, and maybe should have, won by a far greater margin as they squandered a host of good chances.
New loan signings Keith Treacy and Nile Ranger began their Wednesday careers on the bench as Dave Jones made four changes to the side that started Tuesdays 2-2 draw with Walsall
Ryan Lowe, one of the scorers of that game, was replaced by Chris O’Grady, who was selected for the first time by the new manager in what was perhaps the biggest surprise.
Reda Johnson also got his first game under Jones, taking over from Julian Bennett after shaking off his ankle injury. Miguel Llera came in for Danny Baath who missed a league game for the first time this season because of his hamstring injury while Jermaine Johnson was preferred to Mike Jones.
Orient watered the pitch with automatic sprinklers until a couple of minutes before the teams came out on a day more suited to sunbathing than playing football.
A first chance came in the ninth minute following a lovely cross from Lines on the left that set up a diving header by Jermaine Johnson which went wide of Rachubka’s right hand post.
A decent strike by Jermaine Johnson wasn’t far away and after a run down the middle from inside his own half, the Jamaican international played Reda Johnson into space but the left back played his low cross too close to the keeper.
Wednesday kept pressing for that elusive goal. Jones flicked on a Buxton cross to Madine who pulled the ball back from the left and only a fine tackle by Cuthbert prevented Llera from scoring.
Reda Johnson headed a long throw from Antonio at the keeper then Madine tried his luck from the right side of the box but the keeper was right behind it to deny the Owls a lead they would have deserved.
Wednesday went forward again right from the start of the second half and at last got a reward for their efforts in the 49th minute. Lines directed a free kick diagonally from the left, midway in the Orient half.
REDA JOHNSON made the most of a free downward header which was blocked by Rachubka but the ball came back out to the left back who slotted into the net for his 7th goal of the season. After O’Grady miscontrolled a long ball and it went out of play it looked as if Ranger was being prepared to come on but within seconds O’Grady nearly forced a goal.
The striker made space for himself on the left side of the area to get in a firm left foot shot. The ball came back off the keeper towards Madine but too little time to react and it bounced off him for a goal kick.
Ranger duly came on in the 61st minute but it was Madine who got the next strike on goal, taking a good ball from Antonio but shooting past the angle. That was a half chance that but the Owls looked well capable of adding to their lead.
The Owls had a great chance in the 70th minute when a nice flick by Nile Ranger found Madine which was followed by the latter sending Antonio clear down the right but the winger scuffed his shot across goal.
Ranger had a shot deflected for a corner and sent a header at the keeper from another Antonio cross. The loan signing also put a chance when the ball rolled to him on the edge of the box after a typical run by Jermaine Johnson threatened another goal with the wing scything through the defence but he was halted by a splendid tackle just as he shot.
Wednesday had never really come under concerted pressure from the home side as they closed in on a win that would see them return to second in the table.
A scuffle involving Madine and Orient’s centre half, Chorley, after they went to ground in a challenge was resulted in both players being lectured by the referee.
Soon afterwards, Madine was replaced by Lowe in the 88th minute.
In four minutes of added time, the Owls again pressed forward and tried to keep the ball in Orient’s half of the field.
Ranger looked set to score his first for the Owls but his shot was blocked by McSweeney as the clock ran down.
Leyton Orient: Rachubka, Forbes, Chorley, Cuthbert, McSweeney, Smith, Reed, Leacock, Cox, Lisbie, Campbell-Ryce. Subs: Ben Youssef, Porter, Laird, Andrew, Mooney.
Sheffield Wednesday: Bywater, Buxton, Llera, Jones (R), Johnson (R), Antonio, Semedo, Lines, Johnson (J), Madine, O’Grady. Subs: Jameson, Treacy, Beevers, Lowe, Ranger.
Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire)