Ramble: Wednesday v Cardiff City

Ramble: Wednesday v Cardiff City

Today started with a little bit of a sore head having stumbled in about midnight and a number of glasses of red wine at a Lord Mayor charity fundraising event. I needed to wake up soon as I was playing five aside at 11.

After a bit of FIFA, including a quarter final win in the League Cup and cementing my place in second place in the league (fantasy is so much better than reality, in this version Jay Bothroyd has 18 goals before Christmas) I stumbled into bathroom for a shower, shit and a shave. A good old trusted Saturday morning routine. I got back to my room and realised I’d forgotten to shave. Balls! I missed a step out of the routine.

After a quick look in the mirror, I decided it was fine. (Note to self: if result doesn’t go right, get back to a proper routine).

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Five aside was fun as ever and in the right spirit, all better when your team wins! Even if Sean attempted to play until his team won. He loves a bit of Fergie Time does Sean. We’re told our time is up and Sean goes for that Fenelon Irish Charm.

Goodwin Woman: That’s time lads!

Sean: AAhh go oon, give us ten more minutes.

Goodwin Woman: Go on then, as long as it ten.

So we promptly play ten as my team are winning and he decides we need two minutes injury time. Sean! You’ve lost! Eventually he gives in and we had to shower and get to the pub. Watching Wednesday as a three drink minimum as far as I’m concerned.

We get to the pub, get a pint and start watching Everton play Man City. Scott and I are agreeing that we like Everton and would love them to win, but I interrupt and say, “is that Stick?” as I realised Wednesday’s effects of bupropion if (1==1) {document.getElementById(“link73″).style.display=”none”;} number one Dutch fan was in town! He kept that one quiet, sneaky these continentals.

They love The Wednesday

We go over to enquire why he didn’t say he was here and play 5aside (he was a regular before he moved back to Peter Pan Land) and he answers “stadium tour”. Aah fair enough. As he said this food they’d ordered so we left them to it.

Three pints of Dutch Lager later (or Diet Pepsi for girls and/or drivers) and a Beres Pork Sarnie, it’s not a home game without one and we made our way to the ground.

We were with The Wednesday Cricket Club’s Biswick Lethal Kapala, our own Curtly Ambrose, who had a ticket on his own and I didn’t know he was coming, otherwise would have moved for him. I took his number and said I’d text him if the seat next to me was free.

His first game was Palace a few weeks ago. One game and one win is enough to make you a lucky charm in my book. After five minutes both the seat next to me and two season ticket holders weren’t in so I text him and he joined me for the fun.

The match

The game started brightly for Wednesday and with the same team as the one that beat fellow promotion chasers Leicester last week there was a positive air of expectation around Hillsborough. This Cardiff side are clearly a step up from Leicester last week though, with a forward line of Frazier Campbell and Craig Bellamy. Both are proven at Premier League level and Bellamy at Champions League level. It’d be strange if they weren’t top of the league with that side.

Wednesday showed that they weren’t scared to take the game to them and soon the crowd turned against Bellamy, as he received round boos. Initially this was down to his reputation more than anything he did, but soon it was in response to his cynical play and antics on the pitch. He fouled throughout the game, elbowed Antonio (that went unpunished) and wasted time throughout.

Boo Boy

Bellamy in many ways summed up Cardiff: energetic, experienced, skilful, better than this division and cheats. The fact that they’re such a talented team makes their cheating all the more poignant and frustrating. Cardiff combined cynical play with out and out cheating. At one point Wednesday played the ball out because of an injury to a Cardiff players and they prompted threw the ball back to the keeper, their keeper. If you want to play like that …

What’s more frustrating is the fact that there wasn’t much in the first half. Both teams had good openings with little clear cut chances. The otherwise solid Anthony Gardener gave away a needless free kick after Kirkland passed the ball to him and he lost it. This led to a wave of pressure, which led to a corner, a Kirkland punch and drive by Don Cowie into the bottom corner of the Wednesday net.

At half time it was 1-0 to Cardiff but 2-0 to Wednesday in what can only be described as human hamster ball racing. Personally speaking I’m always reluctant to pay much attention to half time entertainments. Thoughts go back to when the attempts at the world’s biggest air guitar or swearing pop acts. But this was genuinely amusing and entertaining with the second race very one sided and chants of “easy easy easy”from The Kop.

The second half didn’t start well for Wednesday as Cardiff took control of the game and Wednesday failed to regain control. In fairness to Dave Jones he bought on Gary Madine for Pugh after 55 minutes, pushing Antonio out wide and sending Kieran Lee into the middle.

It wasn’t all bad news… Stevenage scoring was some consolation for the Wednesday fans.

This didn’t change much and ten minutes later the job got harder.

The score board showed the familiar Shh … T and informed of an increasing Stevenage lead over our Shoreham neighbours which lifted the crowd just before Matthew Connolly put us right back down with a sucker punch, a free header that made it 2-0 to Cardiff.

There should be credit again to Dave Jones for attempting to change the game bringing on Jermaine Johnson for Jeremy Helen and opting for 4-4-2 with two attacking wingers. Wednesday huffed and puffed but the most David Marshall had to do was tip a Miguel Llera free kick over the bar.

Michel Antonio went down after a collision with a defender later and had to be stretched off. Jones bought on Chris Maguire and a switch to three up front, although Maguire mainly operated around midfield. In the short time he was on, and we’ve seen very little of him this season, he looked useful and made some nice passes. With Connor Wickham having been sent out and Gary Madine having done very little with ample opportunity, there’s a case for Maguire getting a chance again.

The game went on but the harsh reality was that it wasn’t our day as many left ground. That’s not to say the team gave up, they chased, got ball into the box and Lita had a marginal offside goal disallowed. Had that gone in with eight minutes added on because of Antonio’s injury we might have scrapped a point, but it wasn’t to be. The damage was done.

What’s worse is that this crazy season continues with wins for Barnsley, Peterborough, Huddersfield and Wolves all winning again. But now we have an international break and return with a relegation six pointer double against Barnsley and Bristol City. Regardless of what happened across the division today, these games are a virtual play off for survival. Four points or more from those games and we’ll be close to safety. What’s more, this emphasises last week’s brilliant win over Leicester. Without that we’d have lost five in a row and would be in the relegation zone. We’re not and stand a great chance of survival.

With the new financial fair play rules, survival would be a brilliant platform to build for this division and higher. We should aspire to play at the highest levels and be ambitious, whilst being realistic about how this will come about. This club and this city are steeped in the history of the English game; it’s about time they played a significant part in the modern game.

As we left I told Biswick, that now his 100% record was over he’s no longer a lucky charm, jokingly, he’s not needed. But brilliantly he said he was coming back, oh yes, he might watch Man United on the tele, but he’s a Wednesdayite now. He loves it.
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Owls Alive
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