Sheffield Wednesday were briefly held by non-league Macclesfield Town, tonight, before cruising into control. They were pulled back to 1-1 before banging in three more.
Stand-in boss Stuart Gray had made two changes to his starting line-up for their FA Cup third round replay.
He rested Chris Kirkland, handing a start to Damian Martinez, on loan from Arsenal, in between the sticks.
With Connor Wickham not given permission to play by parent club Sunderland, Jeremy Helan was given the nod in midfield, allowing Chris Maguire to play in his more favoured central position.
It took Wednesday less than three minutes to break through, as Chris Maguire latched on to Reda Johnson’s piercing through ball and the diminutive Scot cut inside and unleashed a low right foot which gave Rhys Taylor no chance.
It was Maguire’s third goal in his last four outings.
Maguire, oozing confidence after his classy opener, flashed an effort from distance narrowly wide in the 20th minute after being fed by Helan, with the hosts dominating possession. Taylor, formerly of Rotherham United, then managed to block Maguire’s dangerous free kick with his feet to further frustrate Wednesday.
Moments later, Kieran Lee freed Nuhiu on the right flank and the big forward’s cross picked out Maguire and his left foot drive from an acute angle was hacked off the line by Joe Connor as the non league side survived again.
Macclesfield, the lowest ranked team left in the competition, gradually started to find their feet and Jack Mackreth tried his luck after drifting past Reda Johnson but his effort was comfortably gathered by Martinez.
Just after the half hour mark, Wednesday could have doubled their lead when Liam Palmer fed Maguire, who dragged his shot wide when he should have done better.
The Silkmen almost made the Owls pay for that miss through Danny Whitaker but the ex-Chesterfield midfielder, playing in the hole just behind lone striker Scott Boden, saw his long range strike bounce just in front of Martinez and go agonisingly wide.
Jacques Maghoma threatened to put the tie out of Macclesfield’s reach eight minutes after the interval after Taylor denied Maguire but his delicate chip floated over.
A loose back pass by Andy Halls nearly let in Maguire in the 55th minute and it took a good reflex save from Taylor to prevent Wednesday from extending their lead.
Against the run of play, Macclesfield levelled things up in the 63rd minute after Joe Mattock, a half time replacement for Owls skipper Reda Johnson, was adjudged to have handled substitute Chris Holroyd’s centre.
Scott Boden stepped up and coolly slotted in.
Visibly lifted by the equaliser, Macclesfield should have then taken the lead only for Scott Kay to spurn two glorious opportunities. His half volley was brilliantly kept out by Martinez and he somehow hit the follow up against the crossbar.
And with 12 minutes left, Wednesday regained the advantage with Jacques Maghoma drilling in a fierce left shot after Jermaine Johnson opened up Macclesfield’s back four.
Maguire, an impressive figure, particularly in the first half, saw his left foot piledriver superbly palmed to safety by Taylor after latching on to Nuhiu’s clever flick.
Wednesday extinguished any prospect of another Macclesfield comeback when Jermaine Johnson lashed in a stunning right foot shot from 25 yards with five minutes left.
In added on time, Wednesday grabbed a fourth as Miguel Llera, with the aid of a deflected, headed in Rhys McCabe’s corner.
Wednesday will now travel to League Two Rochdale in the next round.
Martinez; Palmer, Loovens, Llera, Reda Johnson; Maghoma, Lee, Semedo, Helan; Nuhiu, Maguire.
Substitutes: Kirkland, Jermaine Johnson, McCabe. Mattock, Corry, McPhail, McKenzie.
Taylor, Connor, Andrew, Boden, Turnbull, Williams, Kay, Whitaker, Halls, Mackreth, Winn.
Substitutes Martin, Bolton, Holroyd, Kissock, Lewis, Branagan.
Ref: Nigel Miller
Read Paul Thompson’s analysis in Wednesday’s Star.