United 2 – 2 Wednesday

United 2 – 2 Wednesday

The waiting was over.

The waiting that began when the fixtures were released in June, it’s the first one that we as football fans look for. The first game against your hated rivals.

The wait is almost as intense as the games themselves, driven by a combination of anticipation, hope and fear. Anticipation driven by the optimist within us, the fear driven by the pessimist…

Both are the cumulation of our hope and fears respectively. The fear of humiliation and the hope of humilating your rivals.

In the week leading up to the game I had been away in Manchester and being out of South Yorkshire, I felt slightly detached from the build up the week before. Normally the week before at work is dominated by discussing the game with fellow Wednesdayites and the banter with the Unitedites. Instead I was in Salford with Man United, Man City and Oldham fans, most of whom were not aware of the game’s importance or even that it was on at all. For all I kept reminding them though the week, it’s not the same.

These one kick offs are a strange one as well, you barely have time to wake up before heading off to the game and I’m not someone that drinks at 9am, so there would be no pre-match drinking.

On one level this makes the waiting easier, there is less of it, yet at the same time, you are aware of just how close the match is. And as such the morning was spent fretting about the game.

When I wasn’t fretting, I was excitable like a little boy. I couldn’t sit still, I could get distracted by anything. I had rugby on. I had Friends on. I had anything to pass the time, to distract me of what was awaiting. The other half put something else on.

Whatever it was, all I could think of was being in that ground at noon.


Time soon passed to leave. I met my good friend Bill at the Waitrose and then his uncle Ray on our way. Here we go.

The usual conversation openers. How are you feeling? What do you reckon? Are you more nervous or excited? The truth is we were feeling all emotions, but most of all was a hope that, if we replicate recent form we can show the other lost who’s boss. Bill also raised the good point that this the closest the two teams had been for some time. Their fall has resulted, not only in the two teams competing in the same division but for promotion from that division. The battle between the two is intense enough without the spectre of promotion. It is in these conditions that folklore is made.

We got in the ground and I stood around waiting for Bill and Ray to use the facilities inside. The noise was something else. This is the Steel City Derby, it’s ALWAYS loud and passionate, but this was different, it had more bite and feeling. Within that small space between the terrace and the outside wall you could feel our noise. It was solid and this was our mark.

I bumped into a mate from work and we discussed the possible result. We were both too nervous of predicting the outcome. You can’t contemplate defeat, yet you don’t want to tempt fate by predicting a win. We both thought 1-1 would be a good result, under the basis of ‘I’ll take a draw’. Sometimes that tempts fate in itself. A last minute equaliser against can be aganising. We were so close in 2008 before Beattie allowed them to celebrate a draw. That hurt and I don’t want a repeat.

We got to our seats and our mark moved from the kiosk to the pitch.

THIS CITY IS OURS, FUCK OFF UNITED, THIS CITY IS OOOOUURRRSS!

We sang the usual songs but this was the song and theme of the day. This is war.

THE MATCH

The early battles were largely positive for Wednesday. Marshal and Lines combining well to cause problems. Marshall had a couple of long throws where they only needed a flick on or a good header towards goal to cause real problems. We had started the better and dominated the midfield.

Such is the intensity of the game, I looked at the time on my phone and thought it would be at least 20 minutes in, so was surprised to see it say 12.10. What? How is it only 10 minutes in?

They intercepted the ball in the midfield, a good pass to the right hand edge of their box and they were threatening for the first time. They got a good low cross in, and a quick shot, onto the post, shit get on the end of it, sadly it was Stephen Quinn that got on the end and lashed the ball home.

Shit. 1-0 to them.

We had played well, failed to capitalise on openings and they taught us how to take a chance.


I hate that place when they score.

They rise and make noise, what little noise they were making, and you feel like digging a hole to sit in.

Fuck this.

We are Wednesday and we are here to win. One of the big improvments under Megson has been our fight and abilty to turn results around. Under both Laws and Irvine, conceding the first goal was as good as conceding the match.

Not under Megson and it was time to prove that to them.

THIS CITY IS OURS.

We made more noise. The team started playing again. There was a header towards goals but Simonsen could only parry and Chris O’Grady was there to pounce as the ball flies towards him and he’s set to open his Wednesday account, and we’re poised to leap with joy, except the post gets in the way. Inexplicably Simonsen was able to hold onto the ball and stop what looked a certain goal. Inches from being level.

Bollocks!

They went up the other end and got a free kick on their right. A set piece and a free header for Ched Evens 2-0. Oh my god. This was not meant to happen. This was starting to feel like the first half here in 2009, where they seemed to score with every attack.

Now we’re I’m trouble. We needed fight before, but now we needed a miracle. If not a miracle, something to get us back in this.

COME ON WEDNESDAY.

The fans rallied as ever but that second goal took the wind out of us and there was shock. When we were 3-0 down two years ago our performance was dreadful, but if anything we had been the better side so far. Our defending had seriously let us down and it was hard to take.

The players, to their credit didn’t panic and continued to play. Throughout all this was a Portuguese heartbeat.

Throughout all the chaos is a small, black midfielder harassing their players, winning the ball and almost always finding a teammate. Jose Semedo is always there, winning the ball, passing simply but cleverly and never panicking.

There was one moment where he had the ball just inside their half and held it for a good thirty seconds, to the point where some Wednesdayites were restless and urged him to ‘get on with it’.


He took his time and was inches away from finding O’Connor in space in the box. He knows what he’s doing this fella.

It was not too long before we found O’Connor in space, 12 yards out and all he had to do was flick the ball with his head into the far corner of the net. Instead he gets it wrong and the ball flies into the Wednesday fans behind the goal. This sparked a torrent of anti-O’Connor abuse, after that it’s hard not to agree with it, hitting the target had to be a minimum from there. Shortly before half time it was Rob Jones’ turn to miss a chance. This time a bullet header that went wide. It could so easily
have been in the top corner.

Throughout all this it is clear that we just need one goal to get back in this. One goal to pile the pressure on.

Soon half-time was upon us and it was reminiscent of being there 2 years ago when we were 3-0 down. At least this time it was a 2 goal deficit. That three goal deficit made it near impossible to rescue, we rallied on that occasion but fell 3-2. Could we get another 2 second half goals and rescue this?

THIS CITY IS OURS.

Megson made the obvious change at the break, O’Connor was off and Jermaine Johnson was on. JJ has his critics and all Wednesday fans know he is our most frustrating player, but he was the man for this moment. He has a good record against this lot and who better to chase the game? This also meant that we had two genuinely wingers on to stretch them and get back into this. All we need is one goal and the pressure is on.

THIS CITY IS OURS, FUCK OFF UNITED, THIS CITY IS OURS.

This was it. We’ll do them now, I thought, we’ve created enough problems to show we can get through, we just need that first break and goal. With JJ on the left and Marshall on the right, we were harassing their fullbacks and causing problems. Madine had a chance, just over. Marshal had a free kick that just went over and anything on target was getting stopped by an impressive Simonsen.

This is mad. I can’t think of a game where we’ve played his well to be two down, surely we’ll get through. Sadly it started to become less likely the clock went on and they even pressed for a 3rd.

Reda Johnson was not having his best game looked like a centre half lost at full back.But he was covered by the ever impressive Semedo winning everything and resembling a brick wall. He just always seems to win the ball.

A few times Johnson was beaten right in front of us and we thought we were in trouble, but over comes Jose and wins the ball and knocks it out. Or even wins the ball and finds a Wednesday player.

The game went on and on.


This is one of those away ends where you can’t see the scoreboard and nobody knew what time the game was on. But we knew time was running out. They were packing their midfield well and shortly after half one we, for the first time seemed out of ideas. And for the first time, I started to accept this was a lot cause. The missed chances were now a sign that it was one of those days. Losing your local game feels like a bereavement and I came through the denial and accepted the inevitable. There would be no come back. This would be their day. What depressing thoughts.

I turned to Bill and said I was just relieved that I am off work this week and can avoid the humiliation of Monday morning. He would be looking for a paper bag to wear when he went to the office. At the same time, the unitedites, who have been largely quiet sparked into life, with three sides of the ground singing “we are blades”, with their arms aloft. This was their victory call. They knew it, we knew it. It was horrible. Once again I just wanted a hole to sink into. I wanted it over. Just turn the machines off and hope we win at our place in March.

But then we rallied again. We had a long throw and a corner in quick succession, but to own the truth the events around this time are blurred with emotion and I can’t recall the excact details. We got the ball in the box, it was in the air bouncing between heads. When you’re on the lower tier at the far end, you haven’t a clue what is happening. But suddenly the ball is in the net.

YYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

GOT ONE.

COME ON WEDNESDAY.

THIS CITY IS OURS.

We got one. It was late but there is time for pressure and who knows. We were back in this and back to life. I started to think of being on the other side of the terrace three and a half years ago, when we blew that two goal lead and they taunted us. Could we do it back to them? A reverse would be very sweet.

We kept going, wind in our sails. We were dreaming of sticking it to them. Once again the ball went in their box. The ball is moving all over and we’ve no idea what is happening. But in a flash, they were scrambling at the line and the ball goes in.

IT’S IN! ITS FUCKING IN!

Cue the longest celebration ever. It went on and on. We jumped. We hugged. We shouted. We grabbed the guy in front. The guy behind. The players ran towards the touchline. They loved it jut as much as we did. What a moment. The celebration went on. By the end, I just leant back and took it all in.

YYYEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

TWO NIL AND YOU FUCKED IT UP

THIS CITY IS OURS.

How long is left? Nobody knew. We didn’t think there was long left but we had no idea. Soon after four minutes added time was signalled.

COME ON WEDNESDAY JUST HOLD ON, I shouted.

The guy behind had sod that let’s get a winner. And if anything we looked more like winning it in the final stages. They were spent, more emotionally than physically. We were the opposite, driven, determined and passionate.

The ball went in box again. Rob Jones was there, leaping, salmon like from nowhere, got his head to it, on target but fell straight to Simonsen.

BOLLOX.

So close to pandemonium. What a celebration that would have been.

The final whistle came and we celebrated the comeback. A great comeback and truth be told a classic derby that was never dull. Why this game is not on TV twice a year is beyond me. It’s never dull is it?

We didn’t win, but it felt as though canadian pharmacy online we’d thrashed them.

How different it had been ten minutes before when they were chanting ‘we are blades’.

No Wednesdayite left the ground for at least five minute. This was special and we were savouring it. The players came over.

GARY MADINE GOAL MACHINE GARY MADINE


WEDNESDAY TILL I DIE!

Then one of the coaching staff came over and jumped in with the fans. Everybody was a part of this and celebrating equally. We are all one Wednesday unit.

Bring on March and hope we don’t give them a two goal advantage this time. This proves that we can compete with anyone and anywhere in this division.

JP
Owls Alive
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TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @jpowls


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