Southampton. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
A HAT-TRICK by the teenager Chris Bart-Williams helped what was virtually a Wednesday reserve team to an emphatic victory but left his manager, Trevor Francis, with a selection problem for Sunday's Coca-Cola Cup final against Arsenal.
The 18-year-old England youth international staked his claim for inclusion at the expense of the likes of David Hirst and Paul Warhurst who, together with six other probable members of next week's squad, were not on view.
It was an unlikely Owls team, which included two other teenagers - the defenders Julian Watts and Simon Stewart. Fortunately, they found the Saints, for once not fighting relegation, in holiday mood. Their defenders allowed Bart-Williams and his striking partner, Mark Bright, far too much space and their forwards were equally generous.
Matthew Le Tissier and Tommy Widdrington squandered easy early chances after mistakes by their inexperienced markers had left them with only Kevin Pressman to beat. They were to pay dearly.
Bright demonstrated how it should be done, converting an equally simple chance after Viv Anderson flicked on Phil King's cross, and minutes later Bart-Williams opened his account with a left-foot drive from the edge of the box.
When Ken Monkou was penalised for dangerous play against Bright, Bart-Williams rolled the indirect free- kick into the path of King, who thumped it past a crumbling defensive wall from 20 yards.
Southampton's frustration at their inability to break out of their own half resulted in bookings for Kevin Moore and Widdrington, but the substitute Nicky Banger finally provided them with some motivation, his cross setting up Jason Dodd to head in.
Even if they felt like celebrating, they did not have time. Two minutes later a Wednesday substitute, Michael Williams, set up Bart-Williams to slide in his second, from six yards, and the same combination completed the hat-trick 10 minutes from the end.
Iain Dowie's angled drive in the 86th minute provided the Saints manager, Ian Branfoot, with scant consolation. 'We showed a lack of passion and commitment,' he said.
Sheffield Wednesday: Pressman; Watts, King, Stewart, Harkes (Williams, h/t), Anderson (Jemson, 83), Hyde, Jones, Bright, Bart-Williams, Worthington. Substitute not used: Woods (gk).
Southampton: Flowers; Kenna, Adams, Widdrington, Moore, Monkou, Le Tissier, (Banger, h/t), Cockerill, Dowie, Maddison, Dodd (Benali, 70). Substitute not used: Andrews (gk).
Referee: K Morton (Bury St Edmunds).