DAVE Jones made a flying start to his Hillsborough reign as Wednesday scored their biggest win of the season.
Jones, in charge fully for the first time after his watching brief at Rochdale, saw a double from Michail Antonio and goals from strike pair Gary Madine and Ryan Lowe crown a constructive and crowd-pleasing performance.
The new manager was introduced to the fans beforehand and received a warm reception. Then they lapped it up as Wednesday extended Bury’s lean run to nine games without a win.
Jones had promised a clean slate for all the players and was true to his word when he handed starts to Mike Jones and Lowe. It was the first time Jones had been in the side since his two opening appearances against Charlton and Hartlepool in January. Lowe was recalled after being dropped to the bench by Chris Evans at Rochdale. It was also the first time that the two former Bury colleagues had started together for the Owls.
There was no place for David Prutton or Sheffield derby star Chris O’Grady, who had played in every league match since Chesterfield at home in October.
Lowe was the provider when the Owls scored in the 11th minute from their first real attack.
Madine lobbed the ball down the inside left channel to his strike partner; Lowe went around the keeper, looked up and played a pass in low for Michail Antonio to bag his first goal for the club by slamming a left-foot shot into the roof of the net.
Bury, in danger of going a ninth game in succession without a win, showed some enterprise, as they had to do; they were not afraid to shoot from medium to long range, albeit waywardly, and made a chance when striker Andy Bishop headed wide from a corner by Peter Sweeney.
The first save by either keeper was a cracker and it stopped Wednesday from going 2-0 up in the 28th minute.
Antonio cut in from the right and played a neat ball in to Madine; the 12-goal centre forward took a touch then tried to pick his spot from 17 yards but saw Trevor Carson spring to his left to touch the shot wide.
With just over half an hour gone the contest was a bit short of notable incident but it brought a cheer from the crowd when Lewis Buxton slid into a tackle on the touchline and his follow-through sent the linesman crashing.
A minute after that, terrific work by Chris Lines and Madine almost engineered a second goal.
Lines sprinted forward in the inside left channel and knocked the ball inside to Madine; the striker found Lowe with a fine diagonal pass to his right and the ex-Bury star just had Carson to beat but saw his close-range effort deflect off the keeper for a corner, in the 34th minute.
At times the thought was right for the Owls even if the execution was not - and some good, though patchy play resulted in applause from the crowd at half time.
They appreciated another lovely move less than two minutes after the restart.
Buxton took a return ball from Antonio and crossed to the near post but Lowe headed wide.
Then Madine notched the goal that he and they deserved.
Buxton launched a long free kick beyond the far post; Rob Jone headed back toward goal, Lowe got a touch and was denied by the keeper, but the ball ran for Madine to tap home his 13th of the season from a couple of yards.
Madine was having by far his best game since he returned from injury, with his sure touch, control, awareness and passing.
The third biggest cheer of the night came when Walsall 1 United 0 flashed up on the scoreboard - but seconds later it was followed by a bigger one as the Owls scored again in the 58th minute. A peach of a cross by Mike Jones to the far post allowed Antonio to place home a right-foot volley from around eight yards.
Lowe, set up by Madine scuffed another opportunity at the keeper, but three minutes after that the ex-Gigg Lane forward got his goal at last: his 13th of the season (including seven for Bury) and his first since Boxing Day. Antonio made it, running half the length of the field down the middle in a counter attack before playing the ball to Lowe, who placed his shot into the roof of the net in a one-on-one then looked up and raised his hands to the heavens in relief.
Bury had nothing to lose and threw men forward to good effect: Lateef Elford-Alliyu hit the bar and Bywater saved the follow-up from Worrall.
Steven Schumacher volleyed a 72nd-minute goal after a corner was cleared to the edge of the box, and sub Mike Grella drove a chance wide.
Then Wednesday steadied themselves again, and even Bury’s little flurry failed to take much shine off a happy night for the Owls and their fans..
OWLS: Bywater 7, Buxton 7, Batth 7, R Jones 7, Bennett 7, Antonio 8, Semedo 7, Lines 7, M Jones 7, Lowe 7 (Prutton 81), Madine 8 (O’Grady 87). Subs not used: Jameson, Morrison, Llera.
BURY: Carson 7, Picken 5 (Sodje 67, 7) Hughes 6, Eastham 6, Skarz 6, Worrall 7, Schumacher 7, Sweeney 7, Amoo 6, Bishop 5 (Grella ht), Elford-Alliyu 6. Subs not used: Branagan, Jones, Harrop.
Bookings: Worrall, 43.