Wednesday 2 – 0 Colchester

Wednesday 2 – 0 Colchester

We’d got an extra reason for looking forward to this game as we were gonna meet another PACT family…

Well not ‘another’ but the same one that set off for the game a few weeks back only for young Ellie to be taken ill en route, meaning they had to detour and get straight to the hospital.

Thankfully she was OK and here we are, rearranged match for them courtesy of Owls Alive.

Unlike the last game when I had the dog on, today I was really in the mood for my football day and bounded out of bed nice and early…

Once again…the now incredibly successful home match routine was played out in painfully strict order…it’s getting like remembering a dance routine now…everything has to be perfect, everything has to be the same, no deviation at all.

Textbook lucky 3 Sh’s…Shit, Shower and shave…and whilst I do the first I always have a little game of Tetris on an old gameboy I keep in the bathroom. That’s not a euphemism by the way; it’s actually what I’m doing. Tetris destroyed and on we go…

The 80’s music is blaring out well from the moment I get in the bathroom…Saturday mornings are now simply an 80’s fest. Even my boxers have a Cameo red codpiece.

Todays selection was once again total class and once again a real mood setter…Ya can’t fail but be in a good mood after a bit of Altered Images, KC and the Sunshine Band, New Editio…

And to finish it all off a bit of Africa by Toto…I don’t think I’ve ever known the lyrics to that song but back in the 80’s in never mattered anyway…you always knew every other line and that was good enough…

I think we always hoped we’d meet someone else that knew the alternate lines to the ones you knew so ya made the perfect duet.

To this day I still don’t know what the right words are but rather than wait til I meet someone who knows the alternate line I like to fill the bits between with noises and made up words…


I’m probably the worst pub singer ever…apart from in my own head, where I’m chuffin brilliant.

‘I hear the drums echoing tonight…budshi hears ony widpahs ohso convershay-ay-shun

She’s coming in 12.30 flight…the mooda hin aflexa stars da guard awards salivaaaayshun’

All I know for sure about that song is; a plane at 12.30…some mad dogs crying at night… some drums…Kilimanjaro and Olympus were like Sarah Getty and that it rained…a lot…

That was enough for me to love that song forever…and I still do.

It got the full shower treatment…

I was lost in the 80’s moment and back on the dancefloor, bang under the mirrorball at Tiffany’s with me Miami Vice jacket sleeves pulled up, me piano keyboard tie and burgundy trousers with white belt…

Oh aye…I looked great and boy I could chuffin move me ya know. Toto would always empty the dancefloor which was my cue to get up


I did that hands clasped down in front of ya, circular type thing, like churning butter whilst looking downwards all serious…It was all about the look back then…and it was always serious…we took our dancin’ very serious …anyway…I was at it again in the shower…in the serious shower.

When it was over I get me shave and get ready…lucky vest, lucky shirt, lucky jeans, lucky shoes and socks…same old, same old…can’t deviate now…MUSN’T deviate now…we need to keep this 100% home record going…

The Young Un arrives and off we go…

As I’m parking up we get a text from Carl, Ellies dad…he’s sent a picture of the kids so we know who we’re looking for ‘This is us’

As we approach the club shop we see em…beaming from ear to ear and so excited. Like kids at Christmas…they’re full of it and ready to go. ‘OK. Which one of you two is Ellie and which one’s Josh?’ I ask em…

They weren’t aware at this point that we were going into the shop to buy stuff…

Right, who wants a new shirt?

They both had puzzled looks on their faces at this…once they realised what was happening they were jumping up and down, the huge smile got even wider and their eyes widened…great stuff!

Come on then lets’ go inside…the next half an hour was fantastic. Trying the shirts on, uhming and aahing over which scarf and hat goes best with the shirt…deciding what they wanted on the back of the shirts… and when they put the shirts on…well…

It was great stuff….

Whilst we’re in the shop waiting for the shirts to be printed they’re playing Wednesday v Arsenal and Wednesday v Pigs on the TV screens behind the counter…

Everyone that’s in the queue is looking up at em, totally immersed in the games from decades ago and when we score there’s a low ‘Yessssss’ and an even bigger cheer when John harkes scores his cup final goal…it’s followed by huge smiles as we watch him chased by Waddle…


When we shoot and miss there’s a loud GASP! Of incredulity…like we didn’t know what the outcome was!

They showed a clip of about 6 shots in quick succession all went straight over the bar or wide from…and it was agonising gasp after agonising gasp…very funny to hear and it all had a nice warm feelgood factor to it…

Once we’re all sorted we head round to our seats and again, the kids love that we’re sat so close to the front and you can see the players so close…just when they thought it couldn’t get any better Ozzie and Barney owl came over and they had their photo taken with em. They’d been nattering about this for ages to their mam and dad apparently…they loved it even more when the Young Un booed every time a Colchester player came over to take a corner…it was like pantomime season.

THE MATCH

I know a lot of folk had this chalked down as an easy home win and a banker for extending our home record but I always fret a bit about Colchester as they’re a smashing, well run club who usually like to play decent football…

That’s exactly what they tried to do today…they passed the ball well, they got forward and both Antonio on the wing and former Dingle, Odejayi up front looked dangerous but if I’m honest, they flattered to deceive. For all there good passing and possession they weren’t a real threat on our goal. Part of the reason for that was Reda eventually getting to grips with Antonio. He went from being turned inside out to coping very comfortably with the impressive winger.

It’s difficult to make too much of this game at this point as there was little by way of goalmouth action at either end and the most exciting bit of play for Owls fans was around the 15 minute mark when Rob Jones put in a proper man sized tackle on Antonio that brought a huge gasp from the Wednesday fans…

He went right through the Colchester player, it really was a proper cruncher!To be fair to Antonio he didn’t make a meal of it but there can’t be many Wednesday fans that weren’t a little surprised to see Jones walk away without a yellow card.


15 minutes gone and the best action for us was a tackle by Rob Jones…hmm…not good.

Mindst you, there were a couple of moments of superb skill by Reda a little later…one involving him putting a fantastic cross into the box for Gary Madine…He was right on the left hand touchline…he looked up and curled a long cross right into the danger zone where Madine was waiting…He controlled the ball well and got the shot in on target but it was straight at the keeper…

Shortly after that Reda battles for the ball in defence and strolls forward…he looks up again and sees Madine in their half…he sends a peach of a ball right down the touchline…it was incredible…inch perfect for length and width…unfortunately Madine couldn’t control it but well done Reda and lovely to see from him.

As the half went on we did get into it more and Lines picked the ball up on our left…he cut inside and ran across pitch…just outside the box…he was obviously looking for an opening but the crowd were impatient…

He ran past one Colchester player…the crowd shouted…

SHOOOT!

He ignored them and went past another player…

SHOOOOT!

He ignored them…he went on, past a couple more, still across the pitch, still searching for a chance…

SHOOOOOOOOT!

When he got to the far side of the box he let it go…20 yards out and curled it just over the bar…good stuff and we were definitely starting to get into this now. It was like we were suddenly shaking off the doziness…

The much-maligned James O Connor puts a sublime ball through for Marshall to run onto, which he does…he jinks past a defender and shoots…just wide…

Eventually our little bit of pressure told and Madine put the ball into the net…


We celebrated in the kop…but something didn’t look right…the players weren’t celebrating…we paused…I looked at the scoreboard and it said ‘GOAL’…we started to celebrate again…but we still weren’t convinced…then we noticed the ref had pointed for a free kick…

WHAT?

WHAT THE FOOK FOR?

Look ref! I may have the worst view in the history of bad views…I may get a better view from our house than where I sit but let me tell you now, that looked a perfectly good goal to me and you made a piss poor decision!

He obviously didn’t hear me or didn’t care and play went on.

As the half drew to a close we really were getting stronger and we went close with great play from Marshall and Madine and a fine free kick from Lines brought a good save from the Colchester keeper and writing all that lot down makes it sound like the half wasn’t too bad after all but it really was a dull 45 minutes overall with a few very good moments late on.

I was chuffin freezing by now…I’d spent the whole of the first half without me coat on but on it went now…I wasn’t having it anymore…the thing is, it only warmed me up a little and could really have done with a hat, scarf and gloves but we have another rule these days about home games…

I’m not allowed a hat, scarf or gloves at home games until we lose…Now that didn’t seem too bad when the sun was shining and we were basking in the late summer sunshine. I thought the run would be over well before the cold snap came in…the way things are going I could be in for a hard long winter…Fookin hell I was cold and it wasn’t THAT cold a day as things go.

With my coat on I jumped up and down a bit and asked the kids if I could borrow a scarf…

NO!

Was the very firm reply…

Bollox…I mumbled under me breath…little…..

When the teams come out for the second half we all stand and join in singing…both kids loving it…

Ellie is stood their in her new shirt, arms aloft (with very warm looking mittens on) belting it out…

‘AND IT’S HI HO SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY’

Second half we needed to up our game and build on that little flurry we had just before half time…Megson introduced JJ and took off O Connor. Hmm…I know O Connor gets a lot of stick and I’ve had a few moments about him myself but I’d rather have him than JJ if I’m honest…but ya never know, maybe JJ could give us that extra bit of lift we needed to take this game by the scruff of the neck.

It didn’t start like that…in fact it looked as though Colchester were about to get back into their stride and they reappeared with a bit of confidence about them, once again passing the ball about well and Antonio hitting a shot just wide…

This was gonna be a long 45 minutes…

Well it changed a bit from that moment…first off JJ puts O Grady through with a lovely defence splitting ball and the shot is deflected for a corner…not long after Marshall cuts inside and goes past two players only to shoot wide…

Once we remember where the target it this could get interesting…

We get a corner…

Marshall takes it right in front of…the kids are as excited as fook!

‘Look how close we are to him!’They shout out

‘COME ON BEN!’


He puts the ball right into the zone, someone heads it and it drops down…it’s right in amongst a load of em…Madine spins on a tanner and wellies it goalward…it hits the bar and bounces back into the box…JJ does some kind of mistimed jump and gets it back in…it’s blocked…someone else gets a scissor shot in and it goes just wide…

FOOK!

How did that miss?

Better though…this was more like it!

A couple of minutes later and we come forward again…Lines this time…he feeds the ball in to Madine who turns his man, avoids the poor challenge, gets the ball on his left foot and shoots and he shoots well…it’s on target but the keeper dives and saves well but he only parries it out and it falls straight to the feet of the waiting Rob Jones who calm as ya chuffin like sidefoots it into the net..

We turned to the kids and we all went nuts…

GET IN!

That was like turning on a switch…not only did the players start to play with a bit of confidence but the crowd really woke up now and starting making some noise…

To be fair to Colchester they tried to rally against the goal and make a game of it but we weren’t having it now…

O Grady got through and shot from the edge of the box but it was saved…or parried once again…

The Young Un made the point about the keeper…he does that too many times. He parries the shot and it’s usually into a dangerous area. He doesn’t keep hold of it and he doesn’t push it wide, it usually goes forward.

She was right as well.

We got a free kick on the North Stand side just inside Colchesters half…

Lines delivers it and Madine gets up, he nods it down, it hits a defenders and he tries in vain to lash his boot at the ball in an effort to get the shot in..

Whilst everyone is fannying around in flies Reda to leather the ball home…he was a blurr!

In…SMACK…..GOAL!

He fell over as he hit it but he wasn’t hanging around…he was back on his feet double quick and away…


Off he runs across the kop towards the North Stand side, huge beaming smile across his face and he lays down waiting for the players to join in the celebration…

Great stuff.

The small but hardy bunch of Colchester fans behind the Leppings Lane goal must have wondered how they got to this stage. How the fook did they end up 2 goals down?

We didn’t really care as we were full of it now…it had taken a lifetime to shake ourselves out of the slumber, to get rid of the Steel City Derby hangover but now we were playing some very nice football…

O Grady gets a shot on target, he’s busting to get on the scoresheet…he’s gonna love it when he does at home…especially in front of the kop….I was really urging him on. He’d done a lot of work during this game that tends to get overlooked by fans. He’d been strong, he’d held the ball up well and he’d made good runs…he’d had his share of shots too but it couldn’t find a way past the Colchester keeper.

There was some superb skill from JJ getting into the box and getting a shot off…a shot that looked easier to get on target than miss wide as he did…the home crowd let out a huge groan…

It was followed by some great play from marshall and Buxton, ending with Buxton getting through a letting a shot go but again, it went wide…

We were getting a lot of success now in getting past the defence but we just couldn’t get the shots on target and when we did the keeper was annoyingly equal to them.

With a few minutes to go first Ryan Lowe was brought on and then Liam Palmer…replacing O Grady and Marshall respectively.

As O Grady went off he was given a great round of applause byt eh Wednesday fans but even better was the cheer for Ryan Lowe as he took to the field…it’s really great to see him back on the pitch and I have really high hopes for him in a Wednesday shirt.

He showed that hope isn’t misplaced when he danced his way into the box 2 or 3 times in that short time he was on the pitch…even putting the ball into the net with virtually his first touch but it was ruled out for offside…


He did win a free kick though right on the edge of the box and mean RIGHT on the edge…another inch and it was a penalty.

Even though we finished very strongly we just couldn’t add to the scoreline and we settled on a 2 goal victory.

SUMMARY

The two halves of this game were like chalk and cheese and it was clear to everyone that the players were still dining out on their exploits at Bramhall Lane. I don’t want to take anything away from Colchester who tried to take the game to us in that first half and punish us for our sluggishness but whilst they had plenty of skill in the middle of the pitch and passed the ball about well enough there was very little in front of goal. In fact I can’t remember Bywater being realy tested throughout the game.

Reda was easily man of the match…his tackling, getting forward and even his passing, it was all superb…his willingness, his energy and his determination, all stunning…OK he gets caught out of position a few times and he hasn’t got the pace to get back but he brings so much to the game these days we have to forgive him when his overall game is like this.

The crowd and JOC…they get on at him for every mistake, no matter how small, no matter if its entirely his fault but they never seem to give him credit when its deserved…OK he did a few things wrong today, lost the ball, stray passes, mistakes all ower the shop but he also did some good stuff too including a sublime ball down the right wing for Marshall to chase…not a ripple or murmur from the crowd.

Fine, criticise him when he’s poor but give the lad an even break and show some respect for the good stuff.

It wasn’t a great performance this, not by a long stretch of the imagination but we got the job done, eventually. When we get a goal we are a totally different animal which underlines what Megson said about scoring first. We could do with scoring early though and lets have a look at what we can really do.

We cheered the players off and they applauded all three sides of the ground…there’s a great feelgood factor around this place at the moment and long may it continue.

We waited for the crowd to clear and asked the kids if they enjoyed it…they did…they loved it…and asked if one of the players would come over to sign an autograph or get a photo taken with them…they didn’t, they were away down the tunnel to celebrate.

As we hung around though the Sky cameras were still filming for the some programme they do and we were the last ones out….the stewards didn’t ask us to leave so we just waited and nattered…and then the players came back out to warm down…

Ellie asked if they’d come over now…

I shouted Rob Jones…he turned towards us but wouldn’t come over…I made excuses that they aren’t allowed…Then Liam Palmer came out…

I told the Young Un to shout him over…

‘LIAM!’ she shouted…

He looked…he saw this young good looking lass shouting his name…and he ran over. We couldn’t hear what she was saying but his face dropped a mile when he realised it wasn’t him she was interested in…

He came over to the kids, had a photo with them and kept saying ‘QUICK! I’ll get done. I’m supposed to be warming down now’…


Photo done and off he ran…he was a lap behind everyone else now and the other players, Ryan Lowe especially took great joy in taking the piss out of him.

It didn’t matter…he’ll never know how happy he made those kids and it rounded off a perfect day for them….and it was just that, they were bubbling after that.

What a smashing family…all of em…but Ellie is something else…a smile that will lay you out
It’s incredible that everyone donates to PACT like they do, especially when times are so difficult for everyone and I feel genuinely honoured that me and Hollie get the best bit like this, we get to meet the families and see how much it means to them all.

Thank you.

Steve:Beastie
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @Beastie_


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