Wednesday 0 – 1 Charlton

Wednesday 0 – 1 Charlton

Sometimes you can do everything within your power to make it a perfect day…you can get all your lucky routines perfect. Ya take time to get all ya ducks in a row and still things don’t quite go to plan…

Everything was bang on today…the lucky 3 Sh’s were spot on…the lucky 80’s music was perfection…it doesn’t get better than Simple Minds and Waterfront does it? I had all my lucky clobber on and nothing was gonna get in the way…

Mindstya, when the Young Un arrived she was in a right mood and as everyone knows, kids have them moods that affect everyone else more than themselves don’t they? She managed to ‘harrumph’ her way into the house and within seconds had laid waste to the good vibe I had going on. She managed to fall out with her mam without uttering more than half a dozen words which then somehow became my fault and ended with neither of em talking to me.

I mean…I know my memory is bad but I’d remember if I’d said sommat to upset em both wouldn’t I? I never even spoke to em but I ended up in the doghouse!

How the hell does that happen?

Eventually I was glared out of the house and me and the Young Un set off to the game, once more with a bit of pre-match tension in the air.

We needed to get to the ground early as we were meeting Sean to collect the PACT tickets and then we were meeting young Billy and his family to get those tickets to them…we were running quite late even before we hit the standing traffic so by the time it had cleared I’d tapped the steering wheel into submission and we were running even more behind schedule.

Eventually we got there, got parked up and over to the shop…got the tickets off Sean and went inside to meet Billy and his family…his younger brother Wilf, and Mam and Dad, Liz and Gary.

Straight away you know you’re amongst friendly people and both boys run over to give us a massive hug…as I kneel down to make it easier they pile on in a huge super hug…and then do the same with the Young Un…

Excellent stuff! You couldn’t help but smile and take to the boys straight away and that hug and pile-on certainly warmed us all up.

‘RIGHT!’ I say,  ‘Who wants a new shirt?’

‘ME! ME! ME!’ they jump up and down excitedly…

We thread our way through the crowded shop to where the home shirts are and set about trying them on.

Due to some extra donations last week from generous Owls Alive members we were able to buy both lads a new home shirt.

Thank you to those who donated tickets on the Owls Alive Ticket Swap scheme and for all donations we’ve had…you made the day for the two boys and their parents who were so grateful to everyone.

They asked me to pass on their thanks. Thank you.

Once they got the shirts on they were even giddier…they loved em.


We led the way round to the turnstile and we got into the ground heading straight to our seats….they loved the game…it may not have been the best for young kids and on a bitingly cold day they had very little, if anything to cheer but it didn’t stop both boys shouting and cheering pretty much all the way through the game.

THE MATCH

We’ve been spoiled recently…we’ve seen some good footy from these Wednesday players and we’ve started to get a taste for it…we’ve definitely got the taste for winning and that’s enhanced when it’s on our own patch so against the top of the table team we all had every right to be excited…

I don’t know about you but I also wanted to show Charlton…their manager, their players and their fans how far we’d come since that game at their place and in my opinion we HAVE come a long way…I was hoping this game was gonna show everyone that Sheffield Wednesday had truly arrived at the promotion party and we had no intention of leaving early.

As usual…things didn’t pan out quite like that.

Just when you think you’ve got the measure of football, it bites you in the arse.

Whilst the game didn’t exactly get off to a flying start it certainly wasn’t dull in those opening exchanges and there were chances or half chances at both ends…Wright-Phillips forcing a save from Weaver before we also went close. In fact we should have done better with our efforts…The Charlton keeper punched one effort away and then had a very easy save to make minutes later from Chris Lines after a decent move by us.

It was noticeable that neither side was able to get the ball on the deck and pass it about to really start playing good football. In fact there was a dreadful prolonged period of head tennis that frustrated the players as much as the fans. When Semi headed the ball aimlessly forward whilst under no pressure at all Lines had a stern word or two with him and signaled to him to keep the ball down…

’Get it on the deck and play it’

He was right.


That was our game and we’ve been playing well of late. Let’s get a proper grip of the game now.

We finally did get it down for one all too brief moment and when O Grady showed great strength to control and keep the ball he tapped to Madine who in turn released Marshall to the side of him…cut back inside and unleashed a shot that had the Charlton keeper a little stranded, fortunately for them the ball was deflected behind for a corner.

From that corner we create a bit of panic in the Charlton box and it looked as though we had a few decent half chances but no one was able to put the ball away.

Moments after our little flurry we were punished for not making it count…

Reda lunges in and not only brings down one of the Charlton players but takes out Rob Jones too in a finishing manoeuvre that would have gone down well on any end of level computer game baddy…

It was clumsy of the lad, in fact it was a ‘typical’ Reda type challenge and there’s no argument it was a free kick but it was a chance for Charlton in a good position…

Jackson stepped up to take it whilst Rob Jones was still of the pitch getting treatment…

I have to say I wasn’t too concerned about the free kick. It would need to be something special to beat the wall AND Weaver…

It was…

Top right corner and absolutely unstoppable…a wonderful bit of skill that had a similar effect to a kick in the plums


BOLLOX!

I think we’d edged a scrappy first half hour up to that point but now we had a totally different game on our hands.

They say a game ‘needs’ a goal to set it alight, to really get it going. Well that goal was a great moment of skill but it didn’t lift this game, in fact it had the opposite effect as it meant Charlton could sit back and absorb anything we could throw at them…which in the end, turned out to not be too much as we flattered to deceive at every turn.

We did end the half reasonably well though and got into several good situations but we still couldn’t finish them off and when we did get a shot off on target it was straight at the keeper.

When we finally got the ball in the back of the net the linesman had his flag up for offside. I’d noticed it go up very early which most Wednesday fans hadn’t. That meant that whilst they all jumped up cheering and getting excited I sat there as miserable as sin, planted firmly in me seat pointing at the linesman and muttering in me best Northern mutterin’ voice…it was chuffin freezing so I’d already done plenty of Olympic standard mutterin before that bugger put his chuffin flag up.

By the time half had been and gone my mutterin’ was in free flow…

The second half was just a mess…all of it, just one long 45 minute mess.

I hadn’t been too pleased that Megson had started Madine and our new signing Mike Jones for this game. I thought it was too soon for Jones as he’d only arrived the day before and playing Madine meant we changed the way we’ve been playing of late and having success with.

I’d rather have seen him come on late if I’m honest and it would have given the fans a lift at a crucial time too.

If those decisions by the Wednesday manager were a little strange, his substitutions were a bit more baffling.


He took both Madine and Jones off along with Ben Marshall a few minutes later and brought on Lowe and Llera, with Clinton completing the line up as he replaced Marshall. It meant we were pushing Reda forward wide on the midfield…I shudder to say winger as I can’t think of Reda doing that role. He was being asked to take over from Marshal on that side though which is just insane. We were now playing with three strikers but we had no way of getting them the good service they required to get us back into the game.

All we did was lob the ball long and high into the box and hope something happened from it.

We were now relying on luck.

Of course the Charlton defence were loving this and they snaffled up every long desperate punt and every hopeful high ball we put in there and on the rare occasions we did get it down and come in from the flanks their full backs found it all too easy to whip the ball away from us and leg it up field. Not having anyone that could run at their defence out wide did make it easier for them but even so I was very impressed with their left back Wiggins who during one of our flattering sorties forward simply whipped the ball off the toes of our player, made us look like mugs by dancing around a couple more of our players and left us wondering what day it was.

The daft thing is I still didn’t think this game was beyond us. No matter how bad we’d played or how frustrating things had been it wouldn’t take much to turn this game on its head. In fact all it would take for us to win this game was for the real Sheffield Wednesday to turn up and start playing properly and I continued to mutter…

COME ON WEDNESDAY! YOU CAN TAKE THESE!

Despite everything I really believed that too and there was a real sense of urgency around the ground, you could feel it and I think every Wednesday fan in the ground felt the same…

A bit of help from the ref might have helped too. It seemed to me, admittedly with my Blue and White tinted glasses on, that not only were we not allowed to touch their players without them plummeting to the ground in agony and conceding a free kick every single time, whilst they could do what they wanted unpunished but it also seemed the pages on handball had been removed from this particular referees handbook and some absolutely blatant handball situations were being too easily dismissed.

As the half wore on it also wore us down and once again I found myself physically shaking and this time it most definitely wasn’t due to anticipation or excitement but purely down to the cold weather. I was losing the will now and as the players huffed and puffed without ever really looking as though they meant it, it finally got to me…

I couldn’t wait for this game to be over… I’m sure every single Wednesday fan in the ground was asking the same question ‘Would the real Sheffield Wednesday please stand up? Why have we resorted to this?’

Those thoughts were underlined when Chris O Grady on the right corner of the Charlton box, with plenty of options open to him, chose to blast the ball and put it into row Z of the kop. Normally he wants to walk the ball into the goal, normally he looks to pass and see what his options are and normally he’s a cool player on the ball…today like everyone else he was out of character.

I wasn’t enjoying watching any of this and neither were many others around us…

Mindst you young Billy was doing his best to stay chipper and keep us all going in the process as we watched him dancing and singing at the side of us.

Through the cold weather and the poor performances on display he wasn’t letting a little thing like rubbish football spoil his day and ya couldn’t help but smile watching him.


It was the only bright spot in the game at that moment and the team were nowhere near matching Billys level of performance.

Where was the composure, determination and silky movement to match that of young Billy?

We had plenty of possession so it’s not like we didn’t have the opportunity to get back on track it’s just that our preferred method seemed to be those aimless balls into the box for the Charlton defence to sleepily head clear…after one more mind numbing attack like that the ball fell for Pritchard I think it was, just outside their box…

As all our players were forward cluttering the area and getting in each others way he set about running up field towards our goal and making a break for it…

He hadn’t banked on Semedo though…

He was the only Wednesday player that could stop him getting to Nicky Weaver…

Semedo stepped across the lad and gently eased him off the ball…don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely no doubt it was a foul, though the lad needn’t have turned it into a pike, tuck and three twists…unless he was after good scores from the judges of course…a few Charlton judges fell for it

The foul was barely outside the box so those Charlton fans howling for a red were always gonna be disappointed and it will have looked a lot worse from their view.

That single moment spiced things up a bit though…

Michael Morrison was also one of the clampits that thought is was a ‘shocking’ tackle and deserved a red card and set about making his point like a petulant kid…

Listen Michael…

It was a nothing challenge cock…nothing at all…calm the fook down and take ya Wednesday hating ways back down South to the smoke with ya..


He definitely disagreed and all his Wednesday hate was rising to the surface like some huge Wednesday hating volcano. He wanted a piece of someone and he set about trying to have it…he coulda, maybe shoulda had a yellow card himself in fairness but the ref only had his bumper pack of Wednesday cards today. This incident had nowt to do with him yet he wanted to be involved, he was DETERMINED to be involved. There was clearly something going on between the managers too and things were really getting heated over there on the touchline…

When things eventually calmed down and Morrison had put his handbag away we resumed the style of play that had got us nowhere for almost 80 minutes. Short on fresh ideas and devoid of any spark to get us back into the game we continued to play bagatelle football.

There’s dark forces going on here too… Despite the game having been stopped for a good while there was only 4 minutes of added time. How come it’s always against us? Has every chuffin ref in the world been handed an Alex Ferguson stopwatch?

When we need it to end it drags on for a week so the opposition can score and when we need extra time to score ourselves we can’t buy a few extra seconds. Today there must have been at least 30 minutes to add on but the ref could only find 4…You could hear the sighs of resignation round the ground from the Wednesday fans…4 fookin minutes? It took 3 days alone to sort out that little fracas with Morrison and Semedo.

Whilst the urgency levels from Wednesday fans went up and everyone rose to rally the troops I think deep down we’d all resigned ourselves to the end result….why would the last couple of minutes be any different to the first 88?

When the whistle did finally go and the Charlton fans rightfully celebrated we were sloughened and more than a little pissed off.

Michael Morrison making his way towards the kop, arms up and outstretched like some arrogant tosser, beckoning the Wednesdays on didn’t help the mood either.

Sod him!

Charlton are welcome to him on this showing.

We had a bad day today.

Too many players didn’t bring their A game and it was disappointing.

We’ve come a long, long way since we played at their place and I wanted us to show that…we didn’t.

This wasn’t a great game overall. It didn’t represent the best this division has to offer and both sides played their part in making it a dreary spectacle. By rights it should have been a draw. Everything about the game screamed dull bore draw but Charlton did what they had to do and without a shadow of a doubt we’d have taken winning the game in the same manner.

A lapse by us let them in and one moment of brilliance won the game for them…

I dunno…maybe I feel let down by both sides…maybe I was expecting some kind of footy fest after the Huddersfield game or even the MK Dons game…CLEARLY those expectations were too high and I was left feeling underwhelmed…and I really do feel deflated by it all and it’s been a long while since I’ve felt like this with Megsons team…I thought I was beyond building up my expectations over football…I’ve had them dashed way too many times, we all have…clearly I’m not.

I am pissed off at this result, I can’t lie about that…I am let down by it all…but I know we’re better than this…I KNOW we are. I’ve seen it and I fully accept we’re gonna lose games along the way, I hope I don’t see us lose in this manner again though.

A good bounce back next week and this will be truly consigned to the bin…the season isn’t over by a very long way and there’s plenty of steps left in this dance…and if it came to it ya know…I’d rather play Charlton in a play off final than quite a few teams we’ve played this season and what’s more, despite everything, I’d be confident of us winning next time.

Yeah, yeah I know…that’s just crazy talk intit?


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


5 Comments

  1. Steve
    Good impassioned article.
    Catch any team on the wrong day and they can look like world beaters or fairly abject.
    I don’t think that on this particular day you looked like a team that had gone all season unbeaten at home. I can therefore only assume that we caught you an off day. Although many teams seem to have ‘off days’ against us so we must be doing something right. I think that much of the frustrations on the pitch can be excused to some extent… ex players trying to prove themselves at their new teams; no doubt feeling slightly jilted by the other, a pair of former players, now managers trying to imspire their men to acheive better things for the fans that they feel an unbreakable affinity towards, and a collection of unrepentant souls endeavouring to avoid defeat. I still feel that you are very much in the promotion mix. Although, I’m afraid, I doubt it will at the expense of us.
    Peter I feel that you have failed to be objective; they will never be as hated as Leeds United, except by you perhaps? Your affection for the Blades and misspelling of Charlton concerns me, that you may be masquerading as an Addicks fan. If that is the case then I hope she is adjusting to life in Sheffield, it is a long way from Phuket.

    • Thanks for that Chris…I’m over it now mate…finally. Though i must admit it’s taken a while.

      I guess somewhere in the middle of what we both saw is the truth…I can only reiterate how I was disappointed in what I saw from us, after what I’ve seen us do of late.
      It might have been interesting to see what would have happened had we scored first, whether we’d have defended that…I dunno…it’s immaterial now. The best team won on the day and that’s that. You’re at the top because you deserve to be there and whichever two teams get the ‘auto’ spots will have earned their promotion…hopefully Wednesday will be one of the two.

      There’s been a lot of strong words spoken from both Wednesday fans AND Charlton fans after this game and I didn’t see that coming if I’m honest…I’ve said a few meself…but it’s heat of the moment stuff on my part, it never lasts long.

      Good luck to ya mate…Obviously I hope we can catch ya…and I still genuinely believe that we can…we’ll see though.

  2. Well done steden. We’ll get ’em next time.

  3. The PACT business and the shirts… that makes it a winning weekend. =)

    • That’s exactly right Woodster…no matter how bad things get with the footy a quick look at the good we’re doing with the PACT stuff blows it all away.

Leave a Reply to Steve:Beastie Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *