RAMBLE: Wednesday v Reading

RAMBLE: Wednesday v Reading

After a disappointing Birthday defeat at Ipswich (the perfect present), Wednesday had the chance to quickly make amends with the visit of Reading to Hillsborough. 

With two convincing wins and impressive performances in our home games at S6 so far it was great that we had the chance to get back to winning ways so quickly.

Facing a Reading side who haven’t given their fans much to cheer about in their opening matches – with them needing extra time to get passed Colchester – the majority of Wednesdayites were expecting another home win.

It has been said in the build up to the match that “this is the type of game we have to be winning if we’re going to be heading in the right direction” and although that is fast becoming another football cliché it was hard to argue against.

In the weekend defeat at Portman Road we had shown glimpses of promise; Matias hitting the post early on, Jack Hunt looking a threat going forward again and dominating possession.

However, although we saw lots of the ball we didn’t do much with it and there was a touch of frustration amongst the fans as we continuously passed the ball about in defence despite being 2-1 down.  We were also beaten in the majority of physical battles on the day and bullied out of the game by McCarthy’s style of play.

THE MATCH:

Pre-match carvery

Pre-match carvery

On the way to the ground we continued our new pre-match ritual of stuffing our faces with a carvery at Meadow Farm.

Sitting at the table and feeling like I could give birth, I checked my phone to see the starting line-up. Lewis Price had been handed his first start in place of Joe Wildsmith and Rhoys Wiggins had come in to replace Jérémy Hélan.

It was hard to argue with Wiggins coming in for Hélan as he had a shocker on Saturday but you had to feel for Wildsmith not being given the starting shirt.

Wildsmith hasn’t really done anything wrong when he’s played but you can understand why Price was chosen due to his experience. When you sign a keeper like Lewis Price it’s hard not to give them the rare opportunity to play when your first choice keeper is unavailable.

Back at Hillsborough it was a chance to see if the new-look Wednesday had learnt from their first taste of defeat. We just managed to get sat down in our seats as the match was kicking off.

To say the first 45 minutes were underwhelming would be an understatement. Neither team offered much going forward and it wasn’t hard to see why Reading had been part of a thrilling 0-0 with Leeds at the weekend.

Being polite you could argue that both teams cancelled each other out due to trying to play such similar styles of football but in all honesty it was like watching paint dry.

Loovens ruptured a cobweb!

Loovens ruptured a cobweb!

The only real talking point from the first half was when Glenn Loovens had to be replaced by Vincent Sasso. Loovens will have been disappointed with his performance at the weekend and Carlos had said he was a doubt coming into the match and I think you could tell straight from kick-off that he didn’t look fully fit.

Loovens is always Mr Cool and so relaxed that you could mistake him for a sun-lounger but against Reading he was even slower. When he did go down injured and had to leave the pitch it was no great surprise.

My favourite moment from the first half was my Dad describing Loovens’ injury as a ruptured cobweb.

When the referee blew the half-time whilst it was a bit of a relief from all inside the ground and surely the second half HAD to be an improvement? There were plenty of murmurings of discontent around Hillsborough during the interval which was hardly surprising considering we were yet to register a single shot on the Reading goal.

It was hard to believe that our players looked so sleepy when they had the atrocious kit of Reading all around them!

HALF TIME 0-0

The Owls headed back out onto the pitch unchanged for the second half with three sides of Hillsborough hoping to see a big improvement from Wednesday.

Unfortunately it was Reading who came out for the second half looking more dangerous. Almost straight after the restart the away side should have taken the lead. A long range shot from Sa  went straight at Price but he failed to hold on to it and then wasn’t quick enough to pounce on top of the ball which allowed Robson-Kanu to get to the ball first.

There was a huge let-off for Price as Hal Robson-Kanu somehow managed to balloon his effort into Leppings Lane. You’d have thought this would be the wake-up call that Wednesday needed but that proved to not be the case when Reading took the lead in the 49th minute.

As had been the case far too many times through the game (Reading were also guilty of this, not just Wednesday), we took far too long on the ball and were caught in possession just inside our own half.

This allowed Reading to string a few passes together and quickly find themselves in our area. Orlando Sa was then able to play the ball to the unmarked Danny Williams who fired his shot passed Price and into the roof of the net.

1-0 Reading

Weak at left back?

Weak at left back?

I haven’t seen the ‘highlights’  if indeed any have managed to be found – but I couldn’t understand where Rhoys Wiggins was and why Williams was allowed so much space.

I know we’ve only seen Wiggins on a couple of occasions but so far I’d still say that we’re weak at left-back as neither him or Hélan look good enough if we’re to be challenging for the top 10 and certainly not the playoffs.

The match continued to drip along like watching paint dry and the supporters were beginning to show their dissatisfaction more and more.

People were shouting, booing, hissing – the full works – as the levels of frustration grew inside Hillsborough.

Although it wasn’t the majority doing this I think it’ll be interesting to see how the fans react over the next few games if results aren’t going our way.

Wednesday certainly can’t continue to put in more performances like this one. Whether it’s high expectations, the fact that we’ve spent money this summer or the dreaded topic of the ticket prices, one thing is obvious and that’s that Wednesday fans don’t seem as patient this season.

We really are a patient bunch of fans generally speaking – certainly when you consider some of the dross we’ve had to watch over recent years, but I feel the players could be in for a shock if they put a few bad results together.

The new players have seen the potential of the Wednesdayites at Hillsborough and how great we can be when they’re playing well but they could also see the other side of the supporters if they continue to put in performances of a similar standard in the coming matches.

As the match got into the final few minutes we still weren’t really raising our tempo or applying any pressure to the Reading defence and were yet to have a single shot on goal.

The groans of discontent were getting louder everytime a Wednesday player passed the ball backwards or dawdled about with it in our own half.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Rhoys Wiggins played a looping cross into the Reading penalty area and João challenged the ‘keeper Bond for flapped at the ball and failed to punch it away or hold on to it.

With everybody expecting the linesman to flag or the referee to blow his whistle for a foul on the ‘keeper it was a complete shock when Sougou was allowed to place a beautifully struck shot into the roof of the goal. The whistle for a foul never came and by some ridiculous turn of events we were level at 1-1 with our first shot of the match.

Sougou steals a point

Sougou steals a point

1-1

I couldn’t believe it as there was no doubt about it, we deserved absolutely nothing from this match. We were awful.

That’s not to say Reading were up to much because they definitely weren’t and on another day I think we’d have turned them over but having lead for the majority of the second half with us offering nothing I felt sorry for their fans. I know how gutted I’d have felt if the shoe had been on the other foot.

Suddenly, we decided to have a go.

The crowd woke up and created a bit of noise and the players decided to go forwards! We weren’t to grab a winner though which really would have been an outrage considering our performance over the 90 minutes.

When the full-time whistle was blown the players left the pitch to some applause when only moments earlier they would have surely headed down the tunnel to a chorus of boos.

FULL TIME: Wednesday 1-1 Reading

There’s no sugarcoating the fact that performance was woeful. It wasn’t good enough and we can’t perform at those standards again or we’ll get a good hiding.

We certainly can’t play like that against Leeds on Saturday and we need to play with more fight, determination and urgency.

If you’re trying to think of positives there’s not many but here goes; we somehow grabbed a point, Sougou’s introduction livened us up slightly, Sasso didn’t do too badly in replacing Loovens, Hutch played ok in a team full of substandard performances, we’re still unbeaten at home.

Looking towards Saturday I really hope Westwood is back fit but if he isn’t I’d be putting Wildsmith back in goal as Price didn’t do great and certainly wasn’t an improvement on the youngster.

Sougou has to start, he livened us up and offered a burst of pace that we’d been missing. I’d hope Nuhiu is back and fit enough to start. He did great on the opening day and has been massively unlucky to not start since.

Away from home we need his strength and ability to hold the ball up and bring the wingers in to the game.

I know those of us that are travelling to Leeds will make plenty of noise and get behind the team but let’s hope for an improved performance. If you haven’t bought a ticket to the match I’d urge you to do so.

The ticket prices can’t really be groaned at any more if you’ve been willing to pay our prices on a match day and it’s a big match. You’ve not got far to travel so that cuts that expense so in the grand scheme of things it isn’t more than other away days.

Yes it’s on Sky but so what? I for one always think it’s a sad state of affairs when there’s only around a thousand of us stood there cheering the team on. In this ‘new exciting era’ let’s get as many supporters as we can there and really get behind the team (yes, even after last night).

There’ll be more disappointing performances along the way this season, that’s football. The real test is how you react to them and come back fighting. What better way to do that than a local derby? This is a real welcome to English football for our new players and if they rise to the challenge everybody will be all singing and dancing again.

Let’s show our support, stop the arguing amongst ourselves and show that We’re All Wednesday Aren’t We!

Here’s to 3 points on Saturday, up the Owls.

OWLS ALIVE circliar blue-4 (Midsize)

Charlie
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive and @THEsharpey


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