WHAT a miserable night for Gary Megson’s misfiring Owls.
They were dismantled as League Oner new boys Stevenage dominated them - it was a five-star home showing with goals from Carl Reid, John Mousinho, Michael Bostwick, Lawrie Wilson and Darius Charles. Gary Madine bagged a late consolation, but this first ever meeting between the two clubs will live in the memory for all the wrong reasons for Megson and his men.
And if the night hadn’t been bad enough, sub Jermaine Johnson was sent off with four minutes to go after an off- the-ball incident.
Chants of “You’re not fit to wear the shirt” and “We want our money back” came from the Owls’ fans. It even got comical later on when they chanted “Easy, easy” when Madine netted. Megson made one change to the side which beat MK Dons on Saturday. It was teenager Liam Palmer who got the nod and was promoted from being a weekend substitute to a role wide on the left. Jermaine Johnson was dropped to the bench.
But the Owls, unbeaten in their last two outings, were reeling after 11 minutes when they went 2-0. Megson looked shell-shocked on the touchline as his side capitulated. The hosts could have been five goals to the good by the break.
As early as the second minute the Owls conceded a needless corner wide on the left. Full-back Scott Laird whipped in a dangerous left-foot delivery and Owls keeper Richard O’Donnell was forced to produce a fine save from Bostwick’s header.
Centre-back Danny Batth did well to charge down a powerful shot from midfielder Stacy Long, before Mousinho shot inches wide of the left upright with a sweet 25-yard strike. The pressure was too much though and after Bostick had seen a right-foot firecracker brilliantly saved one-handed by O’Donnell, it was Reid who put the home side ahead.
O’Donnell could only parry a powerful low drive from Ronnie Henry and there was Reid to mop up as he rifled into the roof of the net.
Four minutes later and Borough had doubled their lead when Mousinho latched on to some sloppy work in the middle of the mark, racing clear before lashing a fierce right-foot strike past O’Donnell and into the bottom right-hand corner.
At the other end Owls skipper Rob Jones headed over the bar from a Ben Marshall corner from the right, only for Borough to break up the other end and scored their third goal of the night.
The ball fell kindly to Bostwick after a corner and the midfielder fired hopefully towards goal, his shot cannoning off the right post and beyond O’Donnell. Wilson nearly made it 4-0 but for a fine save from O’Donnell – and that was after only 20 minutes.
Ben Marshall was unlucky not to pull a goal back for the Owls but for a fingertip save from Borough keeper Chris Day.
Batth made a last-ditch tackle on Reid as the striker raced through on goal, before Lewis Buxton produced a fine block to deflect Jon Ashton’s shot over the bar.
Palmer came to life in the 33rd minute and was unlucky with a left-foot strike which flew over the bar, but the fourth goal came seven minutes before the break when Wilson - somewhat comically – saw the ball deflect off his right boot and beyond O’Donnell. 4-0 and it summed up a calamitous first half.
Megson rung the changes at the break with Jones replaced by Reda Johnson, James O’Connor introduced for David Prutton and, with Palmer dropping to right-back, Johnson moved into right midfield and Julian Bennett made way. That meant Buxton moved from right-back to left-back.
But the pressure didn’t relent as the hosts had the majority of the play.
Goalscorer Reid had a shot saved by O’Donnell ten minutes after the resumption and then Mark Roberts poked agonizingly wide of the far post after another attacking break.
However, in the 66th minute Charles found time and space to fire past O’Donnell and cap a five-star performance from Borough.
Leading scorer Madine pulled a consolation goal back for the Owls with 17 minutes left, the striker’s sixth goal in his last five league games, but it was little too late to effect a miserable evening for the misfiring S6 club.
Stevenage (4-4-2): Day 6; Henry 6, Ashton 6, Roberts 6, Laird 7; Wilson 8, Bostwick 9, Mousinho 8 (Walker 55, 7), Long 8 (Myrie-Williams 66, 6); Reid 8 (Edwards 76), Charles 8.Subs (not used): Julian, Beardsley.
Wednesday (4-4-2): O’Donnell 7; Buxton 4, Jones 4 (R Johnson 45, 5), Batth 5, Bennett 4 (J Johnson 45, 3); Marshall 4, Prutton 4 (O’Connor 45, 5), Semedo 4, Palmer 4; Madine 5, Morrison 4. Subs (not used): Jameson, Lines.
Red card: Johnson 86 (Wednesday).