POST MATCH RAMBLE: Manchester City -v- Wednesday

POST MATCH RAMBLE: Manchester City -v- Wednesday

For a very long time Wednesday fans have moaned about having poor draws in the cups.

There have been endless draws where we got lower Premier League clubs at home (West Ham/Fulham) or away games at places we go all the time. We never seemed to get a shot at the big boys.

That has changed this season and when we drew Manchester City in the League Cup there was much excitement with the inevitable ticket demand.

After the 7-0 humiliation there was a very different response and some dread when we got the exact same draw in the FA Cup.

There wasn’t any less demand as we sold out our 5.5k allocation – albeit at £15 a ticket.

Deep down we all feared a repeat of the 7-0 in the League Cup

Deep down we all feared a repeat of the 7-0 in the League Cup

The atmosphere was different this time.

Not necessarily in a negative way but one that was more realistic.

There was talk before the League Cup tie of giving Man City a game if they played a weak team.

In the end we did give them a game for 45 minutes but a team containing the 106-cap Frank Lampard and Ivory Coast captain Yaya Toure was too much as we fell apart.

Losing by those margins isn’t fun in any game, even when you know there’s a huge gulf between the two teams.

We joked before the game that we’d take 7-1 as at least we’d see us score.

We were just here for a laugh, a few beers and an attitude of seeing what happened in the game.

We hardly talked about the game or even football pre-game, with the inevitable discussion of Ched Evans when the Oldham story appeared on the TV screens as we made our way through numerous pints of Peroni.


Kieran Lee tangles with Frank Lampard

Kieran Lee tangles with Frank Lampard

With the exception of Chris Kirkland coming in for Keiren Westwood, which despite stories of his rejection of Liverpool shows that the club clearly don’t want him cup tied, we put out our strongest side, despite losing loanees Royston Drenthe and Lewis McGugan before the game.

Stuart Gray was bold enough to select both Stevie May and Atdhe Nuhiu up front, while Tom Lees and Glenn Loovens at the back meant we had half a chance of keeping the score down.

Man City lined up very strongly too, with Lampard and Toure in the middle of the park, surrounded by experienced internationals like James Milner, Bacary Sagna and Jesus Navas, plus their one fit striker – Stevan Jovetic, who cost them a mere £22 million.

There was an even greater illustration in the gulf between the two sides of the benches.

Amongst the Wednesday subs were 20-year-olds Matt Young and Will de Havilland, neither of whom have ever played for the first team.

Meanwhile City had the likes of England ‘keeper Joe Hart, French international Samir Nasri and World Cup winner David Silva.

Jose Semedo - Yaya Toure couldn't get past him

Jose Semedo – Yaya Toure couldn’t get past him

The copious amounts of lager consumed before the game began means that my memory of the actual game is patchy at best.

The first half was much like the first game as we lined up with a 4-4-1-1 shape with Kieren Lee working hard in the middle and Jose Semedo winning every tackle.

We were matching them again and there was a great noise from the travelling Wednesdayites as ever.

After 15 minutes we had a chance out of nowhere.

Suddenly May is chasing a hopeful ball down the right-hand side and he’s won it, turned inside the defender and squared it to Nuhiu who drove it home with a sweet first-time hit.



WE’VE SCORED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Atdhe Nuhiu tucks home the goal that puts Wednesday 1-0 up against the champions

Atdhe Nuhiu tucks home the goal that puts Wednesday 1-0 up against the champions

Five minutes of bedlam ensued as Wednesdayites celebrated not only exorcising some demons by scoring at the Etihad but came to terms with the fact we were ahead against the champions of England.

We continued to match them and got through to half time relatively comfortably, with Navas having City’s only real effort, firing over the bar from the edge of the box.

1-0 up at the Etihad, but could we hold on?

1-0 up at the Etihad, but could we hold on?

We were 1-0 up at Manchester City and deservedly so.


HALF TIME: Manchester City 0-1 WEDNESDAY

Can we do the unthinkable and beat them?

Two half-time pints later and realism began to take over as we went back to thinking the Man City onslaught would inevitably happen and the goals would come.

But as we went into the second half we continued to play really well as they piled the pressure on.

We were holding firm, despite dropping deeper and deeper with Kirkland not really having a save to make as City laboured.

On the hour the hosts were forced to turn to the world class pair of Nasri and Silva – talent that we can only dream of – in a desperate attempt to break down the Wednesday defensive wall.

Milner broke Wednesday hearts. Twice.

Milner broke Wednesday hearts. Twice.

They got their equaliser when the two subs combined before playing in Milner, who nutmegged Kirkland.

In a flash City were level and the dream of an incredible win was over.

But a draw still wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility. Could we still dream?

Man City brought on their last sub, Gael Clichy, and it was getting later and later into the game.

The minutes were ticking by but not quickly enough.

Come on, just hold and get a replay.

I actually thought it would happen as we entered three minutes of added time.

So close yet so far

So close yet so far

But then we gave the ball away poorly and in a flash the ball was in the back of the net, with James Milner getting the final touch ahead of Liam Palmer.

Seconds later it’s game over and we’re out.


FULL TIME: Manchester City 2-1 WEDNESDAY

What’s so disappointing, in the aftermath, is that the way the results across the weekend have gone we would likely have been on TV for the replay and Hillsborough could have been packed out.

It would have been brilliant to showcase our club, ground and fans to a wider audience and brought a few much-needed pennies in too.

Oh why couldn’t we hold on? But it wasn’t to be.

Last time around I left the ground at 5-0 and found out later that it was 7-0.

This time we stayed well after the final whistle to clap the team off.

It was a proud effort.

My experience of trying to get trams back last time meant we walked back to Manchester city centre to get a beer and watch Arsenal v Hull.

We had no idea where we were but assumed we were heading in the right direction.

We tried to get in some pubs but many of the locals had a members-only policy.

If in doubt, there's always beer...

If in doubt, there’s always beer…

We ended up back at Piccadilly station and decided that with Arsenal winning already we’d skip that and get some food in the Carluccio’s there.

It was, even in our drunken state, amazing food and miles better than anything in a chain pub which was the alternative.

I barely remember the train back or the pints we had in the Sheffield Tap but I’m still not sure what was more painful; their last minute winner or my body as I got up for work on Monday morning.

I can’t wait to do it all again in Nottingham on Saturday…

Owls Alive

Twitter: @jpowls and @OwlsAlive

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