POST MATCH RAMBLE: Wednesday -v- Notts County

POST MATCH RAMBLE: Wednesday -v- Notts County

After the brilliant result at Brighton on Saturday I was really looking forward to returning to everybody’s favourite place – Hillsborough.

I had headed down to Brighton on Saturday looking forward to the start of the football season but in all honesty I had been expecting a narrow loss so to come away with the three points was fantastic! It seems to have really given Wednesdayites a good feeling about this season already and put our worries about the takeover to one side. I was looking forward to getting back to S6 and was confident that tonight would see us progress into the second round of the cup.

As I was feeling a bit giddy and excited me and my girlfriend set off from our home in Leeds at about 4:15 and therefore ended up a tad early for the match with us getting to Hillsborough at just after 5 o’clock, almost three hours before kickoff. We managed to fill the time with a pre-match MacDonalds and had a good look round the megastore. I was delighted to finally pick up my home and away shirts and I have to say that despite the stock issues that we have had I am really impressed with the products that Sondico have produced. There’s some really good stuff in the shop if you haven’t been in and I was particularly impressed with some of the training wear, hoodies and jackets etc. I even bought myself one of the jackets that the team now wears as they walk out onto the pitch before quickly throwing onto the turf. I love the feature on the back of the jacket where it says Wednesday, it’s the little things!

Kirkland 01

Kirkers returns…

Onto the match and I was pleased to see Kirkland returning to the starting lineup. I was impressed with Westwood on Saturday and he made a match-winning save but I still feel that it’s been a little harsh on Kirkland to take the number

one shirt away from him and drop him, we have so many times depended on him over the last couple of seasons due to our defensive woes. I heard somebody inside the ground comment “he’s a good keeper but I don’t like him”, I stood waiting to hear their reasoningnone ever came… baffling.

The other changes were Madine and Semedo coming into the starting lineup in place of Lee and Hutchinson with Gray rightly resting them for the Derby match on Saturday.

Just before kickoff Notts County must have won the toss as we swapped ends and we would be kicking towards the kop in the first half. It’s a strange one this as I usually find that when we swap ends we go on to win despite the fact that out of tradition and preference we prefer to kick towards the kop in the second half.

We started the match very lively and were straight at the County defence, we ran at the defensive and played a couple of crosses over the box before the ball ended up at the feet of Jacques Maghoma after a County defender had attempted to clear it.

Jacques Maghoma celebrates putting Wednesday 1-0 up

Jacques Maghoma celebrates putting Wednesday 1-0 up

Maghoma immediately looked to cut inside and carried the ball inside the penalty area before curling a wonderful shot into the far top corner of the net right infront of the kop – GET IN!

A perfect start! How long did that take?! Can’t have been much more than a minute we were all saying. Turns out it was around 90 seconds into the match so we had taken the lead in the second minute of the match and County had barely had a kick of the ball. This looked promising!

We carried on looking dangerous especially down the wings, on the left Joe Mattock was covering well for Maghoma’s runs forward as well as supporting him and getting forward whenever he could, attempting to deliver crosses inside the box. We almost had a very quick two goal lead as one of Mattock’s crosses had the keeper beaten but cannoned off the crossbar and went behind for a goal kick.

I was really impressed with the link up play between Palmer and Maguire on our right hand side, they’re both really intelligent footballers and great passers of the ball and it was through their link up play that our second goal came on the tenth minute. Palmer and Maguire had the defenders twisted and turning all over the place throughout the match and in the tenth minute Palmer drew two defenders before teeing up Maguire to deliver an inch perfect cross into the box for Gary Madine to tap in with a simple finish to make the score 2-0 to Wednesday.

Excellent football and already very early into the match the gap in quality between the two sides was evident.

The rest of the first half continued in much the same fashion with Wednesday dominating play and looking comfortable with the ball.

We created numerous chances and could have easily gone into half-time at four or five goals up. Atdhe Nuhiu was working hard as always but was struggling to see any rewards for his efforts, he had missed a good few chances and there were a few of his critics already jumping on his back. Not me though, I love the big man and although I have to say this definitely wasn’t one of his best performances I still believed he’d come good.

Loovens had come close to getting on the scoresheet when he ran on to a Chris Maguire freekick and met it with his head to produce a belter of a header which would surely have beaten the keeper had it been on target but unfortunately it went wide.

At halftime we led 2-0 and after a good performance it looked promising for the second half.

Liam Palmer 01

A ricochet off Palmer, the closest County came to scoring

The County boss Shaun Derry was obviously unhappy with his side’s first half performance as he used all of his substitutes making a triple substitution. Fortunately for us these changes had very little impact on the match! Again we looked calm and comfortable with and without the ball in the second half, the only slightly worrying moment came when County played a ball across the box from their right hand side and it managed to go past everybody (attackers and defenders) before it hit Liam Palmer and could have gone anywhere but fortunately it ended up in Kirkland’s hands.

We had a great chance to make it 3-0 when we broke away and had more attackers than they had defenders as we rushed towards goal, Semedo played the ball to Coke but he perhaps played it a little too far wide making the angle slightly more difficult for Coke who missed the target and failed to make it two goals in as many games. Not ane asy chance but still a chance and Giles will have been disappointed not to make the keeper work.

Chris Maguire was looking really good and deserved a goal for all his hard work and the chances that he was creating but unfortunately for him he never really got a clear-cut opportunity and was limited to strikes from outside the box.

Nuhiu Scores 01

Just rewards for Nuhiu

In the 65th minute it was the main man Nuhiu who finally got his goal with a header (yes how about that as an answer to his critics!) and he nearly got his head taken off by a defender’s boot in the process. Really brave attacking to put his head in where he could have got hurt and he was rewarded with the goal that his efforts deserved although the keeper will be very disappointed to not have done better as he seemed to almost move out of the way of the ball as it came straight at him. Atdhe certainly didn’t care though and neither did we as were all delighted for him!

With the game won Gray used the opportunity to bring on some of the players who are less likely to get playing time this season with Zayatte replacing captain fantastic Loovens, Coke making way for McCabe and Maghoma coming off for Corry. None of them really needed to do a lot with the match already won but Zayatte looked better than he has done previously and cleared the ball well whenever needed as well as winning some cracking headers!

As the match was coming to the close Madine had a wonderful opportunity to grab a second goal and really put himself into Gray’s thoughts for Saturday, Palmer whipped in a superb ball and Madine got there ahead of the defender but his header went wide and failed to work the goalkeeper. It was the last real chance of the game and when the referee blew his whistle for full time the players were given a standing ovation as they left the pitch after a professional and well carried out victory which they achieved comfortably.

Gray Applauds

Well done Charlie…about time!

I personally have to say a big thank you to all of the playing and coaching staff for achieving this victory as they have ended the curse that I had had over me.

If you hadn’t been aware of this terrible curse then let me enlighten you, whenever I had been in charge of writing the post-match ramble last season Wednesday had never managed a victory. I have to say that the majority of the matches were draws and not losses but even so it was something which bothered me and I’m glad to have got that off my back! Let’s hope that this season it’s totally different and whenever I do the ramble we get a win.

Back to the match I just want to pick out a few players who impressed me.

Maghoma: looked a real bright spark and caused problems all the time. He has shown what he is capable of now with his performance levels as well as his finishing so he has set the benchmark and let’s hope he continues to reach the standard he has played at over the last couple of games.

Maguire and Palmer: looked really good playing together on the right hand side and I can see them causing problems to many defences over the season, hopefully this partnership will allow Palmer to get himself on the scoresheet a few times.

Madine blank shirt

The bad boy returns

I’d also like to give a little nod towards Gary Madine who worked extremely hard and got himself a goal as a reward. All Wednesdayites ask for is for players to put a real shift in and put in the amount of effort that we would do if we were able to wear our beloved shirt. Unfortunately this has often seemed to not be the case with Madine at times but nobody can question his efforts or commitments against County.

Did Madine perform so well because Notts County are the level of position that he should be playing against? Is he really just a League One striker? Personally I don’t think Madine should have ever been allowed to wear our shirt again and I know this topic divides opinion but what I will say is that if he performs like that he will either force himself into Gray’s plans or secure himself a move away from Hillsborough. I believe the latter would be beneficial to all involved.

My only slight grumble about last night would be the fact that we didn’t name a couple more youngsters on the bench as well as Floro.

At 3-0 up and with over 20 minutes remaining it could have been a great opportunity to blood a few of the younger players without much pressure on their backs. However I know Gray will have wanted a strong bench in case things weren’t going to plan and he did use the opportunity to give some of the squad players some game time so it’s only a slight moan!

Who am I to question the tactics of the Gaffer, he knows best!

On the back of two great results to start the season our record reads:

Played: 2

Won: 2

Scored: 4

Conceded: 0

Now if you haven’t already got your ticket for the match against Derby on Saturday then I urge you to do so. It’d be great to see around 30,000 at Hillsborough for our first league game and get the type of atmosphere that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. The lads are playing with confidence at the minute and there is no reason why we can’t beat Derby to make it three wins out of three.

There’s also the added bonus of seeing our new signing Stevie May who I suspect will start up top alongside Nuhiu. So come on get yourself and everybody you know to Hillsborough on Saturday and let’s continue this promising start to the season, after all We’re All Wednesday Aren’t We?!

Stevie May Blue Shirt

May the force be with you

OWLS ALIVE circliar yeller SPACE
Owls Alive

Twitter: @THEsharpey and @OwlsAlive

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