SHEFFIELD Wednesday returned to the Championship on a glorious afternoon at Hillsborough before the biggest crowd outside the Premiership this season - Michail Antonio and Nile Ranger scoring the goals.
Expectancy was high along with the crowds around Hillsborough and its shopping centre long before this afternoon’s game began.
That was nothing compared to the atmosphere inside the stadium as 37,000 Wednesday fans found their voices. There were choruses of “We Are The Owls” and “Singing The Blues” and the big Wednesday flag made a tour of the stands.
The team were given a tumultuous welcome and fans sent blue and white balloons in to the air before the was ever rendition of “Hi-Ho Sheffield Wednesday”.
Wednesday were soon into their stride and in the 16th minute Madine found Antonio down the right and the winger looked up to pick up Semedo who volleyed a good chance over the topt.
Twice in the 19th minute Wednesday could have taken the lead. Beevers headed the ball across goal and a then a great save from Bull on the line from a Llera volley denied the centre half his fifth goal in six games.
A goal had been coming and arrived in the 25th minute. A ball down the middle was helped on to ANTONIO who bustled past the last defender and slotted the ball past the keeper. Hillsborough erupted.
All four sides of the ground were bouncing and two minutes later there was another massive roar when the scoreboard flashed up the score Exeter 1 Sheffield United 0.
It looked as if a second goal had come in the 44th minute when a shot by Antonio came back to Ranger off Bull and the striker headed home only for the offside flag to go up. Then came a half chance in the last minute of normal time in the first half, with Antonio once again showing great persistence and footwork before playing a short ball to Treacy who fired wide from the edge of the box.
TV evidence at half time suggested that Ranger was not in an offside position in the movement that Antonio struck his shot and before the ball came back off the keeper for Ranger to score.
Wednesday applied pressure from the start of the second half, with Ranger winning a free kick headed by Llera, half cleared to Batth, who was tackled as he shot which should have been a corner but the referee gave a goal kick.
The respite for Wycombe was brief as the Owls grabbed their second goal their play deserved in the 52nd minute. Lines delivered a free kick form the left and RANGER found space for a free header from six yards which he played low to the keeper’s right. The striker took off his shirt and received the mandatory booking
Milan Mandaric was the subject of a chant followed by applause as promotion inched nearer for the Owls. The third goal almost came in the 65th minute.
Ranger chased down a long ball by Beevers towards the left corner flag and did well to beat Doherty before finding Madine who mis-hit his shot to the near post and saw Bull fumble it away.
Wednesday were spending a lot of time keeping possession in the Wycombe half and there was no threat from the visitors.Jermaine Johnson came on for Treacy in the 79th minute. Once again the chant “We are we going up” rang around the ground with the Owls completely comfortable and in control.
Llera slipped as he took a long range free kick and the shot was harmless but he brought another great save from Bull with a header from a Lines corner.
With only a few minutes left the fans were singing and bouncing in all four sides of the ground.