New boy Jesse Lingard made a fairytale start to his St. Andrew’s loan stint with a four-goal blast to gun down the Owls.
The Old Trafford starlet completed a rapid hat-trick in the space of 13 first-half minutes and added another goal soon after the break, just for good measure. It was some way to announce his arrival in the Second City. Blues fans will be hoping that the 20-year-old sticks around for a lot longer than his initial one-month deal after this display of clinical finishing. Kamil Zayette grabbed a consolation for the visitors midway through the second-half but this was a mere blip on what was otherwise an afternoon to relish at St. Andrew’s.
Lingard’s inclusion was one of four changes made by Lee Clark. The hosts were also boosted by the return of fit-again David Murphy and the left-back showed that he’d lost none of his undoubted quality during his ten months on the sidelines.
Wednesday looked threatening early on with Darren Randolph making the game’s first save as he dived low to his left to collect Jeremy Helan’s weak effort from 20 yards. Blues began to impose themselves more, with some promising link-up play, but on a breakaway it was the visitors that created the game’s next chance. Fortunately Liam Palmer miscued his shot inside the area.
With 20 minutes on the clock it was Blues that made the vital breakthrough with two of the first-game-of-the-season boys playing instrumental roles. Murphy played a delightful cross-field ball to Chris Burke wide on the right, the winger jinked inside before curling in a shot that Chris Kirkland could only palm away. Lingard was in the right place at the right time to crash the ball into the top of the net from a narrow angle.
Eight minutes later and only the fingertips of Kirkland prevented the new recruit from doubling his personal tally. Burke was fouled for a second time in the game by Owls captain Reda Johnson by the right flank. The Scot’s inswinging free-kick was cleared only as far as Lingard, whose shot was tipped over by the Owls keeper.
Lingard was not to be denied moments later though as he latched onto Wade Elliott’s pass and produced a clinical finish past Kirkland from the edge of the area. But the Manchester United youngster wasn’t stopping there and just six minutes later completed a remarkable first-half hat-trick, taking Paul Robinson’s pass in his stride before hammering an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner. It was an emphatic way to complete an incredible treble.
The Lingard show continued just six minutes after the interval but the striker’s fourth goal owed much to the persistence and trickery of Burke. The winger led the Wednesday defence a merry dance before cutting the ball back to the new number nine who produced yet another clinical finish into the bottom corner.
The St. Andrew’s crowd were revelling in the performance of the former Leicester City loanee, who was happy to play up to the crowd, producing a delightful back-heel to tee up Robinson and then waving to the fans in the Tilton Road as they joyfully sang his name.
Zayette reduced the deficit to three with a close-range header as the game really opened up in the final quarter with chances at either end. The impressive Adeyemi fired a shot just wide while Randolph tipped Jermaine Johnson’s curler over the crossbar. Substitute Shane Ferguson then bore down on goal wide on the left but sliced his shot well wide.
This was just the fillip Blues needed to lift the spirits of players and fans alike after the midweek disappointment at Turf Moor. And there was no doubt who would be striding away with the man-of-the-match champagne tucked under his arm.