Sheffield Wednesday 4 Bury 1: Jones gets off to the perfect start with Owls win

Wednesday's new manager Dave Jones
Wednesday's new manager Dave Jones
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The King is dead. Long live the King.

Six days after the departure of Gary Megson, Sheffield Wednesday opened the Dave Jones era with a comfortable home win.

To add icing to the cake, Sheffield United lost at Walsall meaning the Owls are now just a point adrift of second spot in the League One table.

Things could hardly have gone better for Jones on his Hillsborough introduction.

Polite applause from home supporters before the game turned into a chant of ‘Jonesy, give us a wave’ before the final whistle.

The Owls nearly recorded their biggest victory of the season, too, but went to sleep after taking a four-goal lead with just over an hour gone.

Ironically, it was on-loan winger Michail Antonio – Megson’s last signing as Owls manager – who played a pivotal role in the victory, scoring two and setting up a third for striker Ryan Lowe.

The importance of three points should not be under stated.

It not only puts fresh pressure on the Blades but takes pressure off Jones and will silence any lingering unrest about Megson’s sacking.

The Owls made a nervy start but rarely looked back after taking an 11th-minute lead.

Lowe was sent clear by a ball over the top from Gary Madine and his pull-back found Antonio who smashed home.

Both Lowe and winger Michael Jones had been recalled to play against their former club.

The duo helped the Shakers win promotion last season and moved to Hillsborough in deals this season.

Jones, a natural winger, gave a balance to the Owls’ midfield which had been lost when David Prutton, a central midfielder, was employed out wide.

He had not started since making his debut against Charlton Athletic six weeks ago and looked to have grown in confidence.

Bury shook off the disappointment of Antonio’s goal and refused to make life easy for the Owls.

Defender Ashley Eastham headed just wide from a corner and the Owls looked ill at ease when runners burst forward from midfield.

But the home side began to get a grip on the game midway through the first half and it took a full length save from Trevor Carson to deny Madine.

Carson came to Bury’s rescue again in a one-on-one with Lowe although the striker may feel he should have done better.

After delaying his shot, Lowe hit the goalkeeper’s under-carriage and watched the ball roll wide of the post. Bury defender Phil Picken also headed off the line at a corner.

Assistant referee Ian Dudley hit the deck in the first half after a tussle between David Amoo and Lewis Buxton – sparking laughter in the crowd – but was soon back on his feet.

Referee Mike Russell was also grounded later on after feeling the full force of Chris Lines’s clearance.

All the while, Owls manager Jones patrolled his technical area – slightly less animated than his predecessor – but applauding his team’s efforts and cajoling match officials where necessary.

Madine should have had a penalty when his shirt was pulled by Eastham but the incident passed unchallenged.

Former Leeds United striker Mike Grella replaced Andy Bishop in Bury’s attack at the start of the second half and soon tested goalkeeper Stephen Bywater.

But Lowe spurned an opportunity to double Wednesday’s advantage as his header from Buxton’s cross missed the target.

The Owls doubled the lead and gained much-needed breathing space in the 51st minute and, again, Lowe played a key role.

Queuing up to meet a long freekick from Buxton, the striker’’s far- post shot was blocked on the line by Carson before Madine found the back of the net.

If Jones needed an insight into Steel City rivalry, it soon came his way.

News of the Blades going a goal down to Walsall was flashed on the electronic scoreboard and sparked an almighty cheer.

The noise had barely subsided before Antonio tucked home number three for the Owls. Antonio then turned provider to give Lowe the goal his performance deserved. Sprinting from the Wednesday half, the winger timed to perfection the pass needed and Lowe finished with real precision.

Bury were not finished, however, and a shot from Lateef Elford-Allyu struck the crossbar before Bywater saved the follow-up from Worrall.

Former Bradford City midfielder Steven Schumacher pulled a goal back at a corner before Elford-Allyu missed a golden opportunity to make it 4-2 when pulling a shot wide from 12 yards.

At the end of the night, the Owls were in celebratory mood. Panic over?

ian.appleyard@ypn.co.uk

Sheffield Wednesday: Bywater; Buxton, Batth, Jones, Bennett; Antonio, Semedo, Lines, M.Jones; Madine (O’Grady 86), Lowe (Prutton 81). Unused substitutes: Jameson, Morrison, Llera.

Bury: Carson; Picken (Sodje 67), Hughes, Eastham, Skarz; Amoo, Schumacher, Sweeney, Worrall (Harrop 85); Bishop (Grella 45), Elford-Alliyu. Unused substitutes: Branagan, A.Jones.

Referee: M Russell.