RAMBLE: Rotherham 1-2 Wednesday

RAMBLE: Rotherham 1-2 Wednesday

Last season’s match against Rotherham still fills us all with fond memories, especially those of us that were at the New York.

The brilliance of Steve Evans’ premature celebration followed by Kieran Lee slotting home the winner caused scenes of absolute chaos in the away end.

It was one of those occasions where you just threw yourselves onto the supporter next to you…

Unfortunately for me and the Wednesdayite that I ended up embracing, this resulted in us falling three rows down the stand – whilst still locked in our embrace.

The fall seemed to happen in slow motion as I stared up the stand at the terrified face of my girlfriend and prayed that my tumble wasn’t halted by a chair to the spine.

Thankfully we landed on top of some other fans and we were all left unharmed.

You probably saw the pictures of the away end being shared in the build up to this match. Well, fortunately/unfortunately for me, my climb back up the stand was caught on camera.

Celebrations in March 2015 as Kieran Lee nets the winner.

Celebrations in March 2015 as Kieran Lee nets the winner.

In the build up to the televised Friday night match there was a huge feeling of confidence amongst Wednesdayites and with good reason.

We’d just collected 2 points against teams that were in the Premier League last season and we could easily have taken more. Add to this the fact we were unbeaten in 7 in all competitions and sitting in 9th place in the league, with Rotherham in 23rd.

Obviously we had to be wary against Rotherham and not allow any complacency, we could guarantee that they’d up their performances for this one. The old cliché that form goes out the window in derby games was also being spoken about.

Still, I was pretty confident that we’d get the win and had been looking forward to the match all week.

A happy Wednesday camp right now

A happy Wednesday camp right now

Carlos has really got the team playing well and with confidence at the moment and again he reshuffled the starting line-up for this one, making six changes to the team that drew 0-0 at QPR.

It was interesting to see that Chris Maguire could only make the bench for the Millers but Mr Consistent, Lewis Buxton was in the first eleven.

I’d been disappointed to see Buxon leave in the summer, he’d been a great servant to the club and always been reliable during his seven years at S6.

The same couldn’t be said of Chris Maguire who I was glad to see the back of.

THE MATCH:

The match managed to kick-off this year without announcements to evacuate the stadium and it was a great atmosphere. The first half was probably typical of a Yorkshire derby with not many real chances for either side.

It was the ex-Owl Lewis Buxton who caused the most problems as he was Rotherham’s most creative player, continually making the runs forward that we saw so often when he wore the famous blue and white.

He kept whipping in wonderful crosses but fortunately for us Rotherham’s strikers didn’t show much quality.

'On the right...' and causing problems

‘On the right…’ and causing problems

We showed our appreciation of the White Cafu’s time at Hillsborough with renditions of “He’s a Wednesdayite Buxton” and “On the right Lewis Buxton”. Jonson Clarke-Harris is obviously a talented footballer and looked lively but never really threatened the goal except a tame long-range shot straight at Westwood.

We hassled and closed them down well whenever we didn’t have possession of the ball and Forestieri was putting in one hell of a shift, winning tackles everywhere. There were a few times that the referee (harshly) gave fouls against the little number 45 for him out-muscling Lewis Buxton despite him being half his size!

We created a couple of half-chances with Forestieri  being at the centre of everything, he chipped a delicious ball over the top to Kieran Lee but the chance wasn’t taken as Lee opted to take a touch rather than hit it first time, which allowed the defenders to clear.

Already the main man

Already the main man

In the 41st minute, Forestieri was the main man surging forward and leading a counter-attack, he played the ball to Bannan who knocked the ball over the defender and then headed it over the keeper’s crossbar when he should have at least hit the target.

Bannan had been exceptional through the first half, just as he has all season, with his vision, clever turns and flicks and his enthusiasm and work-rate.

In the 43rd minute Forestieri was at it again and dispossessed a Rotherham defender in the centre circle, played the ball to Wallace – who put a fantastic ball through to Lucas João.

João did excellently to pull the ball back to Kieran Lee but he blazed his shot over the crossbar.

Our hard work off the ball was certainly creating chances and Rotherham’s defending was all over the place.

From a pretty much nothing first half we looked like we might be able to go in a goal up if we took one of our chances.

Then from a clearance up field the Millers’ keeper dawdled on the ball and Forestieri (who else?) was there to dispossess him. There was a feeling of expectation in the away end as ‘Fessi’ looked to play the ball into the area but hit it straight at the keeper’s palm.

Not to worry, the ball was back at his feet and we now had players getting into the area… Forestieri went for exactly the same move again and this time the keeper was able to catch the ball with ease. What a waste!

The half time whistle blew with the score at 0-0.

Whilst reflecting on what wasn’t the best half in terms of football, I decided that we should definitely go on to win this. Whenever we attacked the Rotherham defence they were all over the place and Forestieri was showing why we paid three million pounds for him.

Can you hear the fans, Fernando?

Can you hear the fans, Fernando?

He is an absolute joy to watch and for most young Wednesdayites this will be the first time they’ve seen us have a player of his quality during their lifetimes.

I decided that if we kept creating chances as we did towards the end of the first half we’d get the three points.

During half time I didn’t make the trip down to get a drink but I could hear the noise coming from under the stand for the entirety of the interval.

There was soon blue smoke drifting out into the night air from under the stands as somebody had let off a flare. I’ve since seen the videos online and it looked an amazing atmosphere down there.

Second Half:

It was the Owls that were to kick off the second half and we went surging forwards straight away, looking to carry on from where we left off in the first half.

We attacked down the left wing with Bannan knocking the ball to Lee who played it to Forestieri. Forestieri shot at the keeper from a tight angle but the keeper could only knock the ball into the path of João who was left to pass the ball into a gaping goal.

GET IN! What a start to the second half! It’d taken us less than 30 seconds since the second half had started for us to get a goal.

João breaks the deadlock

João breaks the deadlock

The defending from Rotherham was poor again, they had a couple of chances to clear the ball but didn’t and João made them pay! The noise coming from the away end was amazing – Carlos had a dream…

Rotherham decided to bring Maguire on in an attempt to save the game but we offered them no time to rest and went straight back at them in the hunt for a second.

In the 49th minute, a Forestieri shot was blocked and sent behind for a corner which was to lead to our second goal.

Wallace delivered the ball to the back post and Pudil rose, unchallenged, but hit his header straight at Camp in the Rotherham goal when he should really have done better, it didn’t matter though as the keeper failed to hold onto it and Forestieri was on the scene to tap the ball into the net.

It was awful defending and goalkeeping from Rotherham but did we care? Not a chance! 2-0 within five minutes from the restart! Stupidly some idiots threw items onto the pitch – a pie and a bottle of beer – which went very close to hitting our celebrating players. I just don’t get why people do that??

Forestieri grabs the goal that his play deserved

Forestieri grabs the goal that his play deserved

It was suddenly chaos in the away end with people on each other’s shoulders, fans getting escorted out by stewards and all that could be heard was “EE I EE II EE II OO, UP THE FOOTBALL LEAGUE WE GO…”

We were then bouncing as one and the whole ground was shaking under our feet.

We could smell blood and suddenly there was the feeling that we could score a bagful here if we wanted it.

It wasn’t hard to see why Rotherham were down at the bottom of the league if they defended like this.

We then started a series a giving away needless free-kicks which allowed Maguire to keep delivering the ball into the box. Although nothing was really coming from them we had to try to stop it as we couldn’t keep giving them chances to come back into the game.

Bannan and Lee were dictating the game in the centre of the pitch and with Hutchinson sat doing the dirty work we looked really impressive. The Bannan and Lee partnership seems to grow and get better every game and I’m falling more in love with them both as each match passes.

Bannan played a fantastic ball across the face of goal in the 59th minute but João couldn’t turn the ball home and it went over the goal.

Maguire was allowed a free shot on goal when we gave away yet another freekick, this time it was more central so Maguire stepped up and hit the ball over the wall but it didn’t cause Westwood any problems and he held onto it.

Bannan was the next Wednesday player guilty of giving away a freekick and he was booked for his troubles. It gave Chris Maguire the chance to deliver the ball into the box but nothing was to come from it.

Then in the 72nd minute, Maguire was involved in a tussle with João and João was deemed to have fouled the Rotherham man, despite the fact that Maguire had hit him in the face with a flailing elbow and caused João to lose a tooth!

Can you spot the tooth?

Can you spot the tooth?

Having watched the match back I couldn’t believe the commentators described João as being ‘theatrical’! João was withdrawn from the action with Nuhiu going on his place and Wednesday’s number 18 showed his distaste at this decision.

João then had to be calmed down by the other players on the bench and sat in tears of pain.

In the 76th minute Hutchinson was given his compulsory yellow card after he was deemed to have dived when Maguire lunged in on him.

In the stands we were all outraged and it seemed like Maguire was getting away with everything (the nasty little man) but I’ve since seen the match again and I have to congratulate the referee on a brilliant decision.

Hutchinson now has eight bookings in the league already this season, a cracking effort which makes him the most booked player in English football.

Hutchinson picks up his eighth booking of the season

Hutchinson picks up his eighth booking of the season

There was time for another chance for Barry Bannan after more fantastic movement from Forestieri but it seemed that Bannan didn’t have his shooting boots on.

I really hope he bags himself a goal soon as he’s been incredible this season and definitely deserves to get his name on the scoresheet.

We then slipped back into the routine of giving away silly and needless free-kicks but thankfully Rotherham continued to waste the chances that we presented them with. Our work rate remained exceptional as time ticked away, particularly from Forestieri and Bannan.

Our little magician up front had been truely sensational and when he came off for Bus in added time we showed him just how much we appreciated it.

Barry Bannan must have the most incredible fitness and stamina ever – it’s like his life depends on constant movement – even in the 90th minute he will be sprinting from one end of the pitch to the other.

Unfortunately, we were not going to keep a clean sheet as in the 94th minute Semedo (on for Hutchinson) made an unnecessary foul and Maguire delivered a great ball into the box which Tom Thorpe simply tapped in after breaking free of Bus who didn’t track his runner.

When the final whistle blew it was a fully deserved three points with only a slight annoyance at giving away a silly goal.

FULL TIME – ROTHERHAM 1 – 2 WEDNESDAY

That’s eight unbeaten in all competitions now and we’re playing some great stuff with the best squad we’ve had in a very long time.

It doesn’t matter which players Carlos chooses to start, they’re all capable of showing why they deserve a starting shirt. We now move on to face Arsenal at Hillsborough on Tuesday night who sit atop of the Premier League table and Wenger has already said that he will rest some players for the match.

Since then Carlos has come out and announced that he will again make changes to his starting lineup and the young Wednesdayite Joe Wildsmith will be given the starting place in goal which is a huge show of faith from Carvalhal and should do wonders for his confidence.

Let’s enjoy the match on Tuesday night no matter what the final result is, it’s been a long time since we’ve had a team like Arsenal make the trip to Hillsborough. Who knows… An upset might be on the cards?

OWLS ALIVE circliar yeller SPACE

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

Twitter: @THEsharpey and @OwlsAlive


2 Comments

  1. Good stuff Charlie , couldn’t get to the game , so pleased to read such a good Ramble .

    • Cheers Alan, glad you enjoyed it.

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