RAMBLE: Norwich -v- Wednesday

RAMBLE: Norwich -v- Wednesday

Sunday morning, I woke up. Oh wait, no, it’s Saturday, we’re playing at 3 o’clock.

No, it’s Monday, Easter Monday and Norwich away, yes it’s definitely Monday.

These bank holidays really screw your sense of what day you’re on. 3pm football is Saturday.

To add to the confusion I wasn’t at home, I was in my mum’s spare room. When you wake up, not at home and first open your eyes and that feeling of confusion was equalled by what day it is.

It always take a moment to remember where you are. Not that drinking three days of the previous four had anything to do with it…

Compleat Angler: A popular haunt for Wednesdayites in Norwich

Compleat Angler: A popular haunt for Wednesdayites in Norwich

I Google where in Norwich we can get a good breakfast and one of the recommendations happens to be the very pub we’re aiming for anyway.

The website has a picture board saying Compleat Angler breakfasts served 10-12. Perfect.

James appears from the other spare room and we soon head off. A little early but first I need to give him the tour of Norwich. By tour I mean the walk to the pub.

That said we approached Norwich Cathedral with loads of time so decided to take in some history and have a nostalgic moment for somewhere I was dragged around in school trips as a kid.

It was actually a nice way to start an away day.

Here were two gay Sheffield Wednesday supporting atheists walking through Norwich Cathedral on the morning of Norwich vs. Wednesday.

OK, it’s not conventional but it was actually calming.

Divine intervention is often Wednesday's best hope...

Divine intervention is often Wednesday’s best hope…

We reach the back of a cathedral and there’s a candle stand where you make a donation and light a candle.

We both put a coin in and say a prayer for Wednesday.

We’ll need it.

Norwich are riding high while for Wednesday there’s an awkward sense of ‘drift-out season’ that wasn’t helped by a late equaliser after what should have been a late winner against Huddersfield on Saturday.

Eventually we end up at the pub for breakfast. Only it’s clearly not open.

Frankie and Benny’s breakfast it is then as Wednesday fans are starting to emerge from Norwich Station.

I had a full English and James had a breakfast pizza, which was far more appetising than it sounded. The slowest service you can imagine though and a waitress that expressed in grunts. Charming.

We head to the pub and the beer selection is a better than I remember. There’s a drink on called Dublin Porter and tasted like a higher quality Guinness.

As we settle down in front of Watford vs. Middlesbrough the pub went from dead to rammed in about 30 seconds.

Before long Chris and Jordan joined us from their ThatLondon train. Chris explains how the landlord of his local (Sheffield United fan) disappeared without trace a few months back. It turns out he was ostracised to the away pub in Norwich!

Surely you’d take a day’s leave if you were faced with a pub full of your rivals?

Well, he’s working and we threaten to out him unless he gives us free beer. Yep, we’ll use his piggish ways to ransom. That’s what you have to do at £16 a round.

Suddenly time starts to turn towards 3pm and the match. Team news came with a couple of surprises too.

The lesser-spotted Filipe Melo made his first start for the Owls

The lesser-spotted Filipe Melo made his first start for the Owls

Filipe Melo was starting in 4-5-1 with Caolan Lavery on his own up front.

I admired Gray’s guts but my gut instinct was that this was a mistake. Is Lavery up to playing on his own up front against one of the best squads in the league?

That said it was pleasing to see Melo come out of hiding.

THE MATCH

We got to our seats to find a very bad view of the game but a brilliant view on Keiren Westwood’s goal. Right in the corner on the byline, four rows from the front. This wasn’t a position to see the pattern of play from.

That said the patterns of play were clear from any viewpoint. Norwich were on top from the off and it didn’t change. I knew this would be the case but we’re good at this situation.

We’ll sit deep, soak possession and counter. The problem was this wasn’t the arrogant Norwich that played at Hillsborough. This was a very hard working and smart side that used the ball well and knew how to attack.

Claude Dielna had another tricky day at centre half

Claude Dielna had another tricky day at centre half

What’s more Claude Dielna was lost at centre half. He gave the ball away and more pressure came.

At one point he fouled a Norwich player in the box. I looked to the referee and the inevitable hand towards the spot. Thankfully the hand pointed for a corner.

THANK ****!

From there we seemed to hold our own more and Melo in the middle was making his mark, despite getting booked early on, we saw glimpses of somebody who could be a serious player in future.

He stopped a very good Norwich chance after another error from Dielna with a brilliant block.

Not long after, Lloyd Isgrove and Lavery appeared to be through on goal and had shots but to no avail.

We can’t afford to waste openings like this and Norwich are one of those teams that seem to be capable of sustained attacks.

And with that they were more relentless.

Bradley Johnson punished Wednesday for some defensive dilly-dallying

Bradley Johnson punished Wednesday for some defensive dilly-dallying

Not long after a cross came in Westwood couldn’t quite get there.

The ball went to the other side of the box and unlike him, the Wednesday keeper hesitated, Bradley Johnson found the ball and the far corner of the Wednesday net.

Bollocks.

The hope here is that we could see this out to half time and on 45 minutes and with two added minutes to negotiate it seemed as though that would happen.

Then a screwed pass was heading out for a corner but Westwood was there, he appeared to look to the referee to check it wasn’t a pass back (it definitely wasn’t) and he miscontrolled for a needless corner.

The game was up in first half added time as Johnson doubled the Canaries' lead

The game was up in first half added time as Johnson doubled the Canaries’ lead

These are the ones that hurt you and you can’t make these errors against the top teams and it was game over as the ball was in our net again.

That’s game over.

HALF TIME: Norwich City 2-0 WEDNESDAY

We left for a half time pint as soon as the ball went in.

It was a horrible and deflating moment and we knew it was game over.

Over a pint and another cracking half time atmosphere we discussed next season. We were joined again by Jordan and his Dad and discussed the merits of Stuart Gray.

I understand his critics’ frustrations at the moment and I think he deserves a chance to be given a shot with a top squad.

We know what he can do with a squad and the Director of Football route is the way to go.

I say bring in somebody who knows football and get him to put the squad together and then hand it over to Gray to mould.

We got back just as the second half had started. Marnick Vermijl and Isgrove were off for Lewis Buxton and Atdhe Nuhiu.

My immediate reaction was that Gray had lost the plot and then it dawned on me that these were almost certainly enforced through injuries.

It’s strange how you assume all changes are tactical. Although Buxton playing centre half instead of Dielna would’ve been a better option from the start.

Wednesday failed to find a path into the game in a disappointing second half

Wednesday failed to find a path into the game in a disappointing second half

The sad reality is there isn’t much else to report from the second half. Norwich controlled the game and we couldn’t get close.

Even the Norwich fans who were lively in the first half were quiet and seemed to content that the game was theirs (it was).

The only Norwich fan that seemed lively was surreally waiving a Coca-Cola cup at us.

The atmosphere amongst the Wednesday fans was good and positive but this season has nothing left to offer.

I was sad that this is almost certainly my last away day of the season, but actually I think I’m quite content that it’s over.

Compared to previous seasons it’s not had much stress and our mid-table finish is a success.

We finished the game with ten men due to a Dielna injury. It could’ve been an annihilation but thankfully it wasn’t.

FULL TIME: Norwich City 2-0 WEDNESDAY

We headed back to the pub where Chris and Jordan were debating how much time they had before their train.

They had time for one before either the 5.30 or 5.50. Chris was confident at 5.30 but given we didn’t get served until 5.20 that was just a pipe dream.

We took the defeat in and they disappeared only to reappear five minutes later as they couldn’t get on that train.

Norwich's gay scene didn't have much to offer

Norwich’s gay scene didn’t have much to offer

One more pint with them and a quick political discussion later (there is a general election on at the moment after all), this time they were gone for good.

The rest of the evening consisted of another pint of Dublin Porter, some excellent tapas in the Bicycle Shop (highly recommended) and a visit to the Norwich gay scene.

I’d thought that might be lively on a bank holiday but alas it was one man and his dog. It was a gay pub but we could’ve been anywhere.

As is the way, it was a very fun day, some great times with good people but nothing to say on the football. It’s all about 2015/16 now.

JP
Owls Alive
E-mail: admin@owlsalive.com

Twitter: @jpowls and @OwlsAlive


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