Birmingham City 4 Sheffield Wednesday 1: My worst Owls performance, admits Jones

Birmingham assistant manager Terry McDermott was fulsome in his praise of Jesse Lingard after the 20-year-old scored four goals to destroy struggling Sheffield Wednesday on his debut for the midlands club.
Sheffield Wednesday's Michail Antonio.Sheffield Wednesday's Michail Antonio.
Sheffield Wednesday's Michail Antonio.

It was the first time Lingard, who has been recruited on loan from Manchester United for a month, had even started a league game.

On this display Lingard, who had previously never scored in the League, might well be persuaded to remain for a longer spell at St Andrew’s after scoring his first three in in a 13-minute first-half spell.

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Manager Lee Clark, who lost his voice watching Blues’ victory, did not attend the post-match conference to sing the praises of his slightly-built young striker.

Owls' Stephen McPhail with City's Jonathan Spector.Owls' Stephen McPhail with City's Jonathan Spector.
Owls' Stephen McPhail with City's Jonathan Spector.

Instead it was left to McDermott who was rich in his compliments of Lingard who was substituted late in the game because he was exhausted.

McDermott said: “I was a little disappointed because I thought he could have got five!

“It is probably the best we have played this season and probably last season.”

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The feature of Lingard’s performance was his eye for a goal and his ability to spot an opening.

Very little had been seen of Lingard until the 20th minute when Chris Kirkland made a fine save to keep out a Chris Burke effort.

Unfortunately for Kirkland he could only parry the ball to Lingard rushing in at the far post.

The goal transformed Birmingham and none more so than young Lingard, who displayed the enthusiasm of youth with clinical finishing.

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This was demonstrated when he collected a throughball from Wade Elliott and slid the ball under the body of the advancing Kirkland.

Birmingham’s fans could hardly believe what they were watching as Lingard put the icing on the cake with his hat-trick in 13 minutes as he collected a pass from skipper Paul Robinson and scored with a raking shot as he cut in from the left.

Lingard could now do nothing wrong and six minutes into the second half he was

in position to collect a pass pulled back by Burke to score with another rasping shot.

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Wednesday managed to pull back a goal after 66 minutes when Kamil Zayatte headed home a Stephen McPail free-kick.

A visibly-exhausted Lingard was then substituted in the 71st minute and was hugged by an appreciative Clark.

Sheffield Wednesday are still without a win this term and the ease in which they concede goals indicates a troubled season in store for the Owls.

A dejected Wednesday manager Dave Jones faces a harrowing time on the basis of this performance.

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He said: “This is probably the worst performance I’ve seen from a Sheffield Wednesday side.

“The goals we gave away were hard to swallow.

“I can only apologise to the fans for the performance we put in.

“They should go to the fans themselves and apologise.

“We began brightly but we then switched off.

“In a matter of a few minutes the game was all over.

“There too many wrong decision and too many people not on their game.”