POST MATCH RAMBLE: Wednesday -v- Wigan

POST MATCH RAMBLE: Wednesday -v- Wigan

It was a slow start to the day after a late night the night before.

It wasn’t supposed to be a late night night. It was supposed to be a take away and a bottle of wine and fall asleep in front of tele with a friend who’s staying for the weekend. Before we knew it my mate and I were joined by another mate who brought fresh alcohol supplies and before long we were drinking and watching YouTube until 4am.

Five hours sleep later I slowly manage to get myself up and ready to play 5aside along with some much needed coffee. That said, all things considered I was feeling OK. Just.

I go down to get picked up by Jeremy at 10.40. I was there at 10.38 so a couple of minutes to wait, assuming he was on time. And true to character he was there bang on the mark and we set off to Davy Sports for our much loved pre-home match ritual.

As we set off the traffic is at a standstill. We’re going nowhere fast. After some debate, Jeremy decides to change to the next lane, which is moving where we weren’t. Suddenly we’re in the other lane and the traffic in the lane that we just left starts to stream forward as we remain still. Sod’s law in its fullness. Clearly this must be chaos caused by the hoards of Wigan fans coming to Sheffield. Clearly.Satnag

Suddenly 10.40 has become 10.55  we’re barely 100 meters from the flat. It was time for plan B. Outside the train station, where we’d crawled to, Jeremy does a spectacular u turn and we go an alternative route. This route consists of cutting through the Manor estate It should be straight forward. Should be the operative word. Suddenly there’s cross road after cross road and we’re basically guessing where we’re going. It was time to consult the map. Only which map? Jeremy grabbed his trusted Sheffield A-Z and I consulted Google Maps on my iPhone. It was a battle of technology.

An hour or so of running around and footballing later and go in to shower and change before embarking on the fun to be had at Hillsborough. In the changing room we started to discuss Huddersfield last week and the main talking point from it: the Maguire penalty that wasn’t. I maintain that it was a foul. Whether he started going down before the ball, contact was made and regardless. It was a penalty and even Chris Powell admitted the same.

Jeremy says that the referee made the correct decision, in line with the laws of the game because Maguire moved before the contact, that’s simulation and a technical foul in itself. On that he has a point and isn’t a view point that I’ve heard. Technically he’s correct but I’m still unsure it was the right decision on balance.

We set off to Hillsborough and there’s markedly little traffic this time. Clearly all the hordes of Wigan fans that caused the earlier chaos has cleared. Before long I’m in the pub to meet James and Tom and we have a couple watching West Brom vs Arsenal. The pub is also much quieter than normal. This game has all the makings of a tiny crowd and we’ll be stunned if it’s over 20,000.



It’s all about the diamond shape

Wednesday lined up with the same diamond shape we had against Huddersfield but Maguire was back on the right and Maghoma made way. We started brightly and created some openings early on. Caolan Lavery was also back on the bench, which is brilliant news and hopefully he can be the spark that’s been lacking at times this season. Who needs loan signings eh?

We were having the better of the ball but Wigan were also breaking well and looked a threat and it was a close if unspectacular game. This is typical hard fought Championship stuff. On one of their breaks Loovens appeared to win the ball back but then was slow in clearing and conceded a soft corner. I fear the worst in situations like this. We’d unnecessarily given them a set piece opportunity and I was sure we’d pay for it…that fear was realised when James Maclean put a very good ball into the box for Chris McCann to get a free bullet header and find the corner of Westwood’s net. 1-0 Wigan. S**t.

The Wigan fans love it and chant: HOW SH*T MUST YOU BE WE’RE WINNING AWAY!

It was hard to take…

When your team has problems scoring, there’s few things worse than conceding first. Heads go down, the crowd gets nervous and then angry. Sure enough there was a nervous tension at Hillsborough. You start to think about why things are starting to go wrong. You think about how few goals we score and what we’ll need to do to win the game.  How much trouble could we be in should we lose or not win another game?

No sooner are all these thoughts running through my mind and we get the ball into their box where the tenacious Nuhiu wins the ball amidst several Wigan players, holds onto it and manages to feed a lovely ball to Stevie May in loads of space. May makes no mistake and guides the ball past the keeper and into the net! GET IN!!

We’ve just cancelled out their goal and it’s game on.Stevie May Celebrates

Quick as you like the Kop pipes up with: HOW SH*T MUST YOU BE WE’VE JUST SCORED A GOAL!

The game meanders on but as it does the officials hold on the game is collapsing. There’s inconsistency everywhere and the young referee, in his first Championship game looks increasingly out of his depth. There were free kicks given for clean tackles where the ball was won and then a moment later there’s a clear foul and not given. This is not a moan about how it affected Wednesday and on balance we benefited more. It was simply poor refereeing. It’s not that there were any howlers and we’ve seen worse decisions this season but there’s a clear sense that he hasn’t got a handle on the game.

Soon it’s half time and it’s been a tight game. It was there to be won and we had to take this.

The second half starts but Wednesday start slowly and appear to be struggling to get into gear whilst Wigan look dangerous from the off, especially from set pieces and we seem to lack any urgency. What you want is for Wednesday to attack towards the Kop and the sense of the Kop sucking the ball into the net…not a lot to ask.

Sure enough, eventually we do get going.  We’re passing the ball well and keeping the ball a lot better than in recent games. Lewis McGugan is a key part of this and he distributed well and hit a couple of shots and despite the wayward accuracy, it’s the instinctive attacking intent that we’ve been lacking.

There’s a nice move involving Semedo who breaks through on goal. Unfortunately he’s just offside but again the intent is there and we look a genuine threat.

Helan too, growing in stature through the game, battles for the ball and breaks away, he gets to the edge of the box and can’t get a ball into the mix but it drops to Maguire who whips a brilliant ball in that finds Stevie May’s head.

It looks like the perfect header and for all the world as though it will settle in the far corner of the net…instead it hits the inside of the post and bounces across to the other post before bouncing back again with a Wigan player frantically hoofing it clear…

DumbfoundedJust as I’m thinking it’s Huddersfield all over again and we’ve been kept out, the lineman’s flagging like a mad man and sprints towards the half way line.

IT”S A GOAL and what’s more, we’re WINNING!!!!


Once again the Kop pipes up: How S**T must you be, we’re winning at home.

Here we go then. We’re one up at home and there’s twenty five minutes to go. You know how this works. Wednesday drop deep. The opposition attack and we all sweat, bite finger nails and hope it all works out. If only we could get the third goal. Surely we need to strengthen the midfield for a striker. We’ve won once at home since March, we just need to hold on.

Could we get a third? Well we created the openings including earning a free kick but we don’t make these things easy do we and we can’t make it count. You just know it’ll be a one goal win, you just assume it’ll be stress aplenty with Wednesday.

But we broke well and didn’t just sit deep, we kept playing and kept them out. Stevie even got a one on one with the keeper…

We braced full of anticipation…this is it, a Stevie hat trick and a comfortable two goal lead with no time left but ut he managed to take too long to get the shot off and the moment passed.

Caolan Lavery came on late for Royston Drenthe and got a brilliant reception as well as killing a bit of time.

Gray Celebrates


In the end Gray held strong and didn’t make any changes until the end of the game and a few scary moments aside we saw the game out well.

The sense of relief coming out of the ground was brilliant and there was a collective feeling of excitement. This win was needed. Without it we’d have been looking down, instead, we’re comfortable in 13th and surprisingly only two points behind Norwich and Wolves who’ve really slipped since their good starts to the season. Momentum is a powerful thing in football and when things go for your team it feels like you’re unbeatable and when things go the other way, you fear the worst.

As tough as things have been recently, things could have been a lot worse. There are times when ugliness is what’s needed and that’s what we did with Wigan. And I was made up for Stevie May, who’s had to work off scraps at times this season.



It was back to the pub for more beer with James and watch an inevitable win for Chelsea which never materialised against a stubborn Sunderland team featuring Conor Whickham who was excellent despite being ostracised to the wings.

There was further pubage at The Shakespeare, West Street spoons and the fantastic Bath Hotel, before tiredness and drunkenness took over


Owls Alive

Twitter: @jpowls and @OwlsAlive


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