Blackburn, who have yet to lose under their new manager, went for the jugular from the start and were 5-1 up within 24 minutes. Indeed, but for John Filan, their goalkeeper, breaking his arm in a challenge with Wayne Collins, it was hard to imagine their night going much better.
"It totally colours what otherwise was an enjoyable performance," Hodgson said. "It was a very late challenge. I used to think that players would hop over or put the brakes on instead of taking advantage by kicking the man when he's down, but it seems it's not the case. I would rather have had a draw than John Filan suffer such a dreadful injury."
David Pleat, the Wednesday manager, saw the incident differently. "There was no intent," he said. He was more concerned with a dreadful performance from his team, whose only consolation would have been the quality of their own strikes if the scorer of both, Benito Carbone, had not been sent off in a moment of utter senselessness.
Beforehand Hodgson had feared that weariness might reduce the spectacle, which made one wonder what fresh players might have produced. Kevin Gallacher and Chris Sutton got two goals apiece while Jason Wilcox and Lars Bohinen also scored in addition to Graham Hyde's own goal.
With Stuart Ripley and Wilcox inflicting fearful carnage on the flanks, Blackburn began like they would score with every attack, and their first two goals arrived in six minutes. Both went to Gallacher, who got a free header from Ripley's corner and then sprinted away from Des Walker to push the ball beyond Kevin Pressman from Wilcox's through ball.
Wednesday were being dissected at will, so it was a surprise when they should be the next to score. Paolo di Canio crossed from the left, Guy Whittingham knocked the ball back and Carbone volleyed in. It was a good goal but it was a breeze in the face of a gale.
After nine minutes the score was 3-1 when Hyde headed into his own net from Ripley's cross, and 10 minutes later Gallacher and Sutton opened up the right of visitors' area so that Wilcox could pass the ball past Pressman.
At that point the only mystery of the night was that Sutton, Blackburn's top scorer going into the match, had not got a goal but he remedied that after 23 minutes. Wilcox delivered yet another delightful pass and the pounds 5m striker picked his spot, curling the ball into the far corner from the left apex of the area.
Wednesday reshaped, converting to a sweeper and introducing Steve Nicol, Wayne Collins and David Hirst, and within two minutes of the second half starting they were rewarded. Carbone had no support and few options when he received the ball 30 yards out, but he solved the problem with a delicious shot that went in off the underside of the bar.
Soon, though, Gallacher crossed from the right, the ball flicked a defender's heel and sat up perfectly for Bohinen, who scored from eight yards. You thought nothing much worse could happen to Wednesday - but you were wrong. Carbone objected to a bad tackle from Gallacher and head-butted the Scot, giving the referee little option but to send him off. Then Sutton tapped in a Ripley cross for the last goal of the evening.
Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Filan (Flowers, 65); Valery, Pearce, Hendry, Kenna; Ripley, Flitcroft, McKinlay (Bohinen, 32), Wilcox (Dahlin, 57); Gallacher, Sutton. Substitutes not used: Andersson, Broomes.
Sheffield Wednesday (4-1-3-2): Pressman; Blondeau, Newsome, Walker (Collins, h-t), Nolan; Atherton; Whittingham (Hirst, h-t), Hyde, Di Canio; Booth (Nicol, 32), Carbone. Substitutes not used: Oakes, Clarke (gk).
Referee: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees).
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