POST MATCH RAMBLE: Bolton -v- Wednesday

POST MATCH RAMBLE: Bolton -v- Wednesday

I was surprisingly chipper about today…nowt really remarkable about that is there?

If you can’t be upbeat on ya days off when going to watch your team when can ya be upbeat?

Well when you’re staring down the barrel of a new club record for consecutive non-wins then you could be forgiven for lagging a bit in the enthusiasm stakes but I can’t help it, I do love these times if I’m honest…

I don’t see them as down times…I don’t see them as a chance to whinge or moan about everything wrong with the club but rather more of a challenge…

I see them as OUR time…the FANS time…This is when the club really needs us and this is our chance to show what we’re made of and get behind them…show our real support.

Let’s face it, supporting Wednesday over the years has seen plenty of opportunity for this…this isn’t the first bad period we’ve had, it won’t be the last and it’s not the first time we’ve been desperate for a win,  a goal, or an upturn in our fortunes…or sometimes just an even break!

Of course we want better times!
Of course we want to see our club at the highest possible level!
Of course we want to see our club competing on the world stage against the best teams in the world!

BUT…these periods of darkness…the decades of despondency…the years of being lost in the wilderness…

These are my times…

THIS is when I feel closer to the club…
THIS is when I feel as though I’m not only wanted by my club but NEEDED by my club…oh yeah, at these times I feel closer than ever to my club…

We all know we need a win…We desperately need a win now…
NOT because of something as paltry as getting points…
NOT so we can start climbing the league table…
NOT to save DJ’s job…
NOT to keep the embittered battle worn Wednesday fans quiet…

Oh no…we need to win now because I’m running out of things in our house to create a winning lucky combo….

It’s clear the lucky 3 Sh’s are no longer enough…it’s clear that wearing certain underpants, sometimes inside out, isn’t enough…that doing something, wearing something, EATING something in a certain way just isn’t enough.

I have squirted, sprayed and dampened every opening, every nook, cranny, crevice and pore on my body in every location in this house…and used every combo known to man…and trust me on this, some places really shouldn’t be sprayed and when you reach my age there seems to be far more places than there used to be..

I’ve gone through all me clothes…I’ve gone through all the combinations of the 3 Sh’s…sh*t, shower, shave…shave, shower, sh*t…I’ve tried the lucky 4 sh’s…I’ve even searched for a 5th Sh.

I’ve tried different combos of clothing…of deodorant…of food, of getting up at different times…in different places…with different people…I’ve combined all the combinations it is possible for one man to combine…I’m sure I got so caught up in the combinations that I was way ahead of  them dudes with the hadron collider trying recreate the big bang than…in fact, try using that XXX Shower Gel next time you’re in there washing ya nethers and watch your own Hadrons collide! I’ve done that and more, endured that and more in an effort to help our club.

Blue Thong

The only combo  left

I have intertwined everything I own and a lot of what I don’t in some futile attempt to try and unlock the lucky routine that will set Sheffield Wednesday on the way forwards and upwards and I’m finally out…
Today my last resort was to get the builders round to do some building work (of course) I AM NOW FINALLY OUT!

I have no more combos…

I am comboless…

There is nothing left in my house or my life that I can wear, eat, use, excrete, have sex with, buy, sell, be with, put on, go with…I’ve used it all…

So today I just went with one of the earliest combos I had…3 Sh’s, quick blast of Lynx, small dab of Blue Jeans, bowl of cornflakes, go pick the Young Un up…

With it only being down the road so to speak at Bolton, even I wasn’t gonna get lost for this game and we whiled away the shortish journey over the Pennines in really good humour.

The Young Un was in a lively mood, no ailments or ale-ments impeding here sunny disposition and she’s good value when she’s in this mood, an absolute joy to spend time with.

The weather helped too…you know it’s a good footy day in October when you go over Saddleworth Moor, the sky is blue, not a cloud in sight and you can see for miles…what is usually the bleakest and angriest of places suddenly becomes a little more welcoming and inviting…we don’t get too many days like this in the footy calendar up there. I love that part of the country…it has so many moods and with so many games involving us crossing the Pennines we get to see a hell of a lot of moods.

We drove past the ground heading for the school we parked in last year, missed the turn off, went round a few roundabouts, or the same ones a couple of times over but eventually got to where we wanted to be and parked up…

I like it here…I know a lot of folk don’t but I do.

Most of us hate modern grounds and everything they bring with them…the loss of history and footy culture but there’s something about the Reebok…something about most of the Lancashire clubs we visit that me and the Young Un have fallen in love with. To be honest I think parking here and making this walk to the ground helps…

We walk across the school five-a-side/basketball court and round past the all-weather inflatable indoor sports thing, past the science and biology classrooms and into the connecting ginnell at the back…

Hollie Ginnell

Ya can’t beat a good ginnell

I love this ginnell…

I love most ginnells but on a bright autumnal day like this with the overhanging trees and array of leaves changing colours with the sun shining through them, it really is wonderful…despite it always being a little muddy and slippery underfoot…barring the odd opening into daylight it winds it way around the school and it’s almost totally enclosed by the leaves and branches all the way to the road opposite the ground…once you emerge blinking into the daylight you’re pretty much at the ground and looking for your gate to get in…

As we got into the ground and walked past the bar we just had time for hugs and hey ups to Terry, Ian, Liam, Steve and JP…they were all well on the way over the edge having decided to take the choo-choo to the game and celebrate Liams birthday..

We were in our seats with a few minutes to spare and readied ourselves for what we were both convinced was gonna be our first win of the season….Sun was shining, it was a beautiful warm autumn day and we were in a great positive mood, how could it not be?
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THE MATCH

The opening 20 minutes of this game were pretty good to these weary old eyes and whether you were a Wednesday fan or a Bolton fan you must have been happy with how your team was playing as both sides looked to pass it around and play good football.

Both looked good going forward and equally dodgy in defence and I was quite impressed with Bolton if I’m honest. During this spell they showed some good skill and flair…they looked content to let us have possession, holding us up on the halfway line, where we were in no hurry to press forward, being as patient as need be to get the right breakthrough but when Bolton did get the ball they broke at speed and the lad on their wing, Feeney I think it was, a real handful for Reda. It looked as though we swapped at one point, or several points to let Helan cover the left back spot and try and nullify the lads pace as Reda was getting caught out by him and it worked too.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all Bolton in that 20 minute spell, we had our promising attacks as well and just like Bolton we couldn’t make the most of them, including a one on one chance when Matty Fryatt got through into the box after a well worked move…the Wednesday fans were expecting to see him bury the ball in the net, he shaped his body beautifully, he set himself and placed the ball just inside the the far post as we readied ourselves to celebrate…only to see the Bolton keeper make a smashing save…

AAAARGH!

Bolton Beckford

Beckford: Clinical finish

We were left a little deflated when Matty couldn’t make it happen and even more deflated when a minute or so later a long hoof upfield by the Bolton keeper saw Beckford show Matty Fryatt exactly how to do it as he finished his one on one with Kirkland by placing the ball perfectly into the back of the net before running across the away end to celebrate with the handful of home fans in that corner…it was a lovely goal to be fair, well taken by Beckford….it doesn’t make it easier to swallow though.

It was a sickener…not exactly against the run of play, that would be harsh but it hurt like that…we knew we’d had our own chances to take the lead and it hurt they’d found the way through before we had.

Of course there were plenty of grumbles and moans from our fans, it was understandable…it was frustrating…even when we’re playing well we can’t get a break and the frustrations were vented on the players in front of us and of course the much beleaguered manager…most of the complaints were about our style of play, that we weren’t going for it and that we should be beating these…

I understood the heartache of it all but it was unfair on all of them…we weren’t playing badly at all and we were trying to be patient, building our play from the back and not just hoofing the ball blindly forward…fortunately for us we didn’t have to wait long for the pressure were exerting on the Bolton defence to finally tell and give us that much needed and deserved goal…

We broke down the left and H delivered yet another lovely ball into the middle where it was met by a bullet header to bury it deep into the heart of the Bolton goal…there was a slight pause…we couldn’t make out who’d scored it and we all looked at the linesman on the far side…the players were celebrating and now…so were we…

It was the least we deserved…it was an own goal but we didn’t care…if the lad hadn’t headed it in though Antonio would have as he stood immediately behind the lad…OK, going by Antonios recent play mebbe he woulda put it over the bar…as someone behind me shouted…

‘WHY CAN’T WE FINISH LIKE THAT?’

We didn’t care really, we were back in the game and rightly so…

That opening promise from Bolton seemed to fizzle out from that moment on…they seemed to have lost their spark and the game looked to become a lot easier for Wednesday as we continued to play good football and not rush things…again, it wasn’t exactly one sided as Bolton still showed they could string some good stuff together but continued through the half as slightly the better side.

The Wednesday players looked content and happy enough too to build the play up slowly and not lump it forward, though at one point it looked as though the ball would simply be played exactly on the halfway line, side to side…Bolton happy enough to hold us there and us happy to play it there…

Of course there were frustrated cries of ‘GET IT FORWARD WEDNESDAY!’ but I liked this controlled approach…let the fans whinge all they like, let em be impatient, just stick to the plan and do anything rash…it will come, it will come…

Of course we did eventually break forward more than once as it happens and on one occasion we got forward with the Young Un shouting ‘THIS IS IT! GET READY DAD!

As we burst forward playing the ball about well we couldn’t make it pay and had to settle for a corner making the Young Un shout ‘THAT’S NOT IT! THAT’S NOT IT AT ALL!

The words were barely out of her gob when the ball found the head of big Rodger Johnson who flashed a header very close…it almost was it!
I turned on the Young Un quickly…I didn’t need to say anything, her eyebrows had left the building and her gob was set to aghast at how close we’d come.

The half drew to a close with the good attacking footy and defensive errors still in abundance from both sides with us having the slight edge but with neither capable of capitalising on the good stuff it was beginning to look obvious why both sides were struggling this season.
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Still the half time break gave us chance to sort ourselves out, take a breather and come out galvanised and that’s what we did…

Me and the Young Un were still in a good mood and the sun was still shining…when the Wednesday fans returned from the bar it sounded as though they’d been supping a pint or two of old optimism as they sounded upbeat and full of belief we could turn the good play into the first 3 points of the season.
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Normally, when we’ve played well in the first half, the second half is a huge let down…not this time…the longer the game went on the more confidence we gained and the more we looked the likeliest winners…we carried on with the good passing football and we tried with every touch and turn to get forward and attack the Bolton defence…

It really was a pleasure to watch this game now…our defence had settled down well and pretty much taken control of anything Bolton could muster…Buxton was stopping all comers down his side and the Reda and H combo on the left had seen the talented Feeney off and he was replaced around the hour mark, with the excellent Chris Eagles on the other side going off a few minutes later….always a good sign for your defence when a talented winger has to be taken off…proof that the managers tactics and the players abilities had, had the desired effect.

We seemed to be getting forward a hell of a lot now, not just passing the ball aimlessly across the halfway line but using it purposefully and we really should have gone ahead…a really lovely bit of football saw H get forward and deep into Bolton territory, wiggle his way into the box and cross to Matty…he in turn got it across to Antonio who hit on the volley…agonisingly wide…again!

The upturn off the pitch was now complete as those behind us could be heard saying ‘Ya know what? We’re playing really well now, in fact we’ve been the best team this game’ It really was a great turnaround in attitude and that can only be down to the hard work on the pitch and sticking to the game plan…it also spread amongst the away fans as the noise was noticeably louder now…we really were expecting to get that first win…you could feel it…it was definitely coming…

You know when you get that sudden feeling…like a tingling…No, not THAT tingling feeling….this has nowt to do with old age…but almost a premonition that you’re going to score…not only did I feel it in myself but you could feel it amongst the Wednesday fans…

When we got a free kick down in front of us, on our left this was surely…IT!

The ball comes in…it’s knocked back out and there’s JJ to head it back in and into the back of the net…

Sian Massey

Excuse me young lady, put that away

YEEEEEEAAAAAARRGH!

GET IN! GET IN! GET THE CHUFF IN!

Dad…dad…dad…dad…

OH YEAH!….I was going nuts…like a man deranged…

DAD…DAAAAD!

DAAAAAAAAAD!

I turned to the Young Un…I apologised…I was Sorry I hadn’t been celebrating from the beginning with her….

What’s up Young Un? COME ON!

DAD IT’S Offside….IT’S OFFSIDE!

Eh….Oh chuff me.

I hate that…I chuffin hate that…

Even worse…the Young Un had called it straight away…instead of being a mullet-headed idiot like the rest of us, she’d seen Reda in an offside position and looked straight across at Sian Massey running the line down near us, to see the flag up straight away…

Her being right didn’t help…DAMN!

If we felt aggrieved by that decision it was nothing to what was coming…

We continued to press throughout the game and to my mind we looked in control of things…we hadn’t let the disallowed goal get in the way of sticking to the plan and we had continued to play good patient football…OK, fair enough, Bolton had the odd moment where it set us panicking more than we needed to…most of that panic brought about because of our distrust of our defence being able to hold onto a game…but to their credit, they continued to hold Bolton at arm’s length and pretty comfortably at that to be honest…

When they did burst into the box, Lewis mopped up the surging Hall with little trouble but the Bolton player went over looking for the penalty…the Bolton fans clamoured for it, the Wednesday fans howled in disgust and the ref didn’t even wave it away…it was a nothing event as far as he was concerned…

In a flash Hall was on his feet and haring after Lewis Buxton who had the ball on the left touchline…he was looking forward ready to release the ball when Hall came right through the back of him….

Buxton went over and the Wednesday fans were apoplectic…it simply had to be a red card…

HAD TO BE!
I was looking at the ref as it happened and unfortunately he was facing the wrong way, he’d been preparing for Buxton to launch the ball so turned away from him….he wasn’t gonna give a red card…he didn’t..which was right as he didn’t see it…but he DID give Hall a yellow…

So how does that work then?
If he didn’t see the offence then he can’t give a yellow card either can he?
Either he saw it or he didn’t…if he saw it then it had to be a red card…it was one fo those challenges you could see a mile off…Halls chagrin at not getting the penalty had spurred him into a frustrated stupid challenge on Buxton that he’d got away with…

Hang on…it wasn’t over…it got worse…

We’d barely got our collective Wednesday blood pressure down to normal life sustaining levels when it was off the chart again…

5 minutes after failing to show Hall the red card and with barely 5 minutes left on the clock the ref made another massive decision…

Jose Semedo made a challenge and the Bolton lad went over…it looked like a foul, maybe a yellow but nothing more…the ref standing in a great position and without hesitation reaches for the red card and hauls it aloft…Jose is heartbroken…and so are we…

Jose PRaise

When Jose cries, the earth cries

The sound of a couple of thousand Wednesdayite jaws dropping to the floor in one synchronised gobsmacking movement is an incredible thing to experience…you could see the players shirts ruffling as we all drew breath to shout as one ‘WHAT THE F**K’
There was a lot of swearing…a lot of shouting…a lot of bewilderment at why Jose could get a straight red for that yet Hall was still on the pitch…just finish that whole collective movement off…our shoulders slumped together with resignation…

As Jose trudged off the pitch he was in bits, he was wiping the tears away as he left…JJ ran over to console him but he was beyond that and you couldn’t help but feel for the lad…he’d been excellent throughout this game, probably man of the match for me and to see it end like this….well it was heartbreaking for all of us…

With those tears not only did the game change but so did the weather…I kid you not…
This beautiful autumn day was transformed…with that single act…that desperate heart breaking moment had blocked out the sun, darkened the skies, whipped up the wind and brought down the rain…with Joses tears came the rain and boy did it come…it absolutely hammered it down…when Jose cries the earth cries….bear that in mind people!

Worse now was the realisation from the Wednesday fans that we had to hold on with a man down…a few moments ago we’d looked the likeliest winners of this game and now it was panic stations…and edge of the seat stuff until we heard that whistle blow…

Bolton of course picked up their game now, they were full of belief again and set about seeing us off…

In those last 5 minutes they really did put us to the sword and just to hammer the final heart breaking, gut wrenching, sould twisting nail home….the fourth official held up the board…4 MINUTES!

YOU ARE HAVIN A LAUGH!

SWEET BABY JEEBERS ON A BIKE!

In those final minutes we were under the cosh…it was horrible…there was plenty of looking away…watching the clock…counting down…staring at the feet, anywhere except the pitch as it seemed like wave after wave of Bolton attack…Chris Kirkland in the Wednesday goal seemed to be everywhere, he was like a cat…diving one way then instantly back the other way, Wednesday fans only taking a breath inwards when the ball was safely in his arms…

We were camped in our box…it seemed like Bolton had brought more players on…why not? The ref wouldn’t say anything anyway…

Scared Shitless

BLOW THE WHISTLE!

The tension amongst the Wednesday fans was palpable…we were all holding our breath at the same moment..we were gasping outwards together and we were twisting and turning as one…heading and booting clear whenever the ball came into our box…we must have looked as though we were all being tasered at the same time…

We did have the odd break away…and we had a shot too…from JJ…obviously it was wide but it only seemed to make Bolton angrier and pile on more pressure…more agony…

We’d gone from feeling comfortable, enjoying the game and being happy with our lot to feeling like someone had nicked all our toys and set fire to the Christmas tree for good measure….if Bolton were to score now I doubt we’d ever recover from it….

After twitching and turning for what seemed a lifetime the ref eventually blew the whistle…but rather than a feeling of relief there was a lot of anger from the Wednesday fans…born out of frustration at the game having been spoilt by a couple of bad decisions…

The players went a long way to quashing that bad vibe by impulsively coming over to the away end as one, walking through the gloomy evening and heavy rain and led by Stephen McPhail and Reda proceeded to remove their shirts and throw them to the crowd by way of thanks…of course we were in fine voice now, singing their praises and no one was in a hurry to leave the ground without letting the players know how much we loved them and how we appreciated their efforts today…

I turned to look at the Young Un…her eyebrows had left the building once more and her face had a funny look on it…she was staring open gobbed, drooling at Stephen McPhail…she was gibbering, trying to say something but it wasn’t making sense…’McPhail….WOW! Body…McPhail…Body…stomach…muscles…shirt…WOW…I love him…WOW!

Skeleton

Harrumph

Not a pleasant sight if I’m honest for a father to see his daughter drooling like that in public….dunno where she gets that from…must be her mam.

Just as Semedo had done minutes earlier, we trudged our way out in the rain and made our way back to the car…the walk back wasn’t anywhere near as pleasant as when we arrived…the water was squelching overour shoes…the ginnell was horrible, damp and dark…and walking past the biology class even the skeleton was ashamed of Semedos red card and had turned its back on us…just before we got to the car we had enough time for a quick damp man hug with NSM and then settled down to wait for the car park to empty whilst we discussed the game…

It was a good team performance….good individuals…and some proper battling going on by our players, a criticism that’s been hurled at them of late, and rightly so but here they did well, giving everything to the last…and the Wednesday fans were excellent….raising their voices and lifting the team when they needed it…apart from their really poor comments to lino Sian Massey for the disallowed goal which were beyond the pale and totally uncalled for, they were excellent today.

I don’t know how Sian Massey puts up with this…or more importantly WHY she puts up with it, no one should have endure that sort of stuff…we all have a bit of mickey taking and I can take and dish out a few sexist comments with the best of em and take em back of course, that’s life…but chuff me some of the stuff on t’interweb, terraces and radio have been embarrassing.

I shout for everything…every corner, every throw in, every foul and free kick going…whether it’s ours or not…that’s part of footy for me… but not one Wednesday fan was in a position to see whether it was offside or not…or those in the away end weren’t anyway and the abuse, not ya normal blind, dubious parentage, useless sod stuff… it wasn’t pleasant and ya can’t defend it IMO.

Kirkers was excellent again, absolutely gobsmackingly awesome!
We’ve gone on about him before and how bad we’d be without him but he was on chuffin fire in those closing minutes, as good as he’s ever been IMO and cemented his status as possibly the best keeper I’ve seen at ours…and as we all know we’ve had some belters over the years.

Some good performances from the outfield players too…H was excellent and seems to be hitting a bit of form now…I still like Matty who puts in good solid performances every time…McPhail was excellent again, as he usually is but the stand out performance was from Semedo. Despite being sent off I thought this was a performance that dispels any thoughts of him not being good enough at this level and probably just edged man of the match for me

I really enjoyed this game…enjoyed the whole day…and once things have settled down I’ll have enjoyed the rubbish stuff too…bad decisions and feeling hard done by are all part of football aren’t they? The highs are always accompanied by lows, the good stuff by bad and mediocre, it gives us sommat to talk about…sommat to whinge and whine about and footy fans love a really good whinge…

We played decent football and we were the better team overall…the draw was the least we deserved and as much as I like Bolton and Dougie Freedman and the way he’s trying to get them going in the right direction, I’ll be disappointed if we don’t finish above them

As we drove back over Saddleworth Moor the Moor wasn’t happy with Semedo’s red card either and the happy disposition of the pennines had gone…it had reverted back to being angry and forbidding…the skies were dark and the clouds were low…and rain battered the hills…

NO ONE ENJOYS SEEING JOSE CRY!
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Cheers
Steve:Beastie
Owls Alive
Twitter: @owlsalive @beastie_
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com


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