RAMBLE: Wednesday 1-1 Burnley

RAMBLE: Wednesday 1-1 Burnley

Going to this game hadn’t been on my agenda a few weeks ago but sometimes circumstances change for the better and you end up being able to.

The FA Cup had meant this fixture had been changed from Saturday to Tuesday and coinciding with my temporary return home from the Midlands, I decided to pop along for a now rare S6 appearance.

Out of the many issues that were discussed at Reading in the Three Guineas with Creg, Baldy et al was the elite of this division, it eventually got narrowed down to four teams – Middlesbrough, Derby County, Hull City and Burnley with the general consensus that Wednesday aren’t that far behind.

My initial thought was this was going to be a test of our promotion credentials, Burnley are flying at the moment, they’re full of goals and have some real quality in their squad.

I was in the ground fairly early and ended up choosing my spiritual home of the Kop rather than the Grandstand and partook in watching the pre-match entertainment on the new board which involved showing highlights of our 2008/09 double over the Clarets and numerous questions testing my football knowledge.

It’s quite good stuff and kudos to the club for at least making some effort to attempt to entertain the few there which is quite a difference to other clubs where no such effort is made.

Aiden McGeady was on the bench and Keiren Westwood returned with Hutch dropping back to centre-back alongside the Loovens as Carvalhal made a lot of changes to the line up after the FA Cup disappointment.

THE MATCH

Andre Gray pokes the Clarets ahead

Andre Gray pokes the Clarets ahead

We started on the back foot as Andre Gray tested Westwood within the first minute and a bad mix up between Loovens and Hutchinson led to Hutch knocking it out for a throw when Loovens could easily have nodded it back to Westwood.

From the throw in, it fell to Vokes who shook off Loovens far too easily.

Vokes moved to knock it across the box where it evaded Wednesday defenders and fell to Andre Gray to opened the scoring.

In the opening exchanges it was mostly Burnley as the Owls couldn’t get going; good work from an organised Burnley side and too many sloppy passes from Wednesday.

That being said Hutch was proving to be a rock at the back and Wednesday did have their chance as good work from Kieran Lee teed up Ross Wallace who was unable to get any power on his ranged strike.

Barry Bannan also had his moment making the Wednesday fans in attendance gasp in awe with a tremendous little bit of skill.

Forestieri was quiet and perhaps being out on the left is not where he should be playing, Pudil also was having an off night but as usual the majority of the ire for our poor play in the first half was directed at one Atdhe Nuhiu.

He did have a bad moment where his attempted volley went out for a throw in but when he got chastised for winning a header without having to jump and was then on the receiving end of a blatant foul by Joey Barton, hearing one of our own shout “I hope you’ve broke your leg Nuhiu!” – words failed me.

Hutchinson battles Gray for possession

Hutchinson battles Gray for possession

As the half wore on, Burnley had an excellent chance to make it 2-0 when Arfield missed a good chance after smart work from Boyd but the Owls started clawing their way back into it.

Forestieri drifted back into things after being pretty anonymous with two good efforts and Ross Wallace got a better connection on a long range effort but it was slightly too high and went just over.

Westwood was called into action and made a sublime save from a powerful Vokes header but the Owls ended the half in the ascendancy.

HT: WEDNESDAY 0-1 BURNLEY

The Owls kept it that way too in the second half and we got a deserved leveller early on as Bannan pinged the ball in, Nuhiu fought off two Burnley defenders and unselfishly nodded it down to Kieran Lee who had ghosted in unmarked and coolly slotted the ball home to level the game.

From then on the entertainment was high with good football being played by both sides but great chances were few and far between, McGeady replaced Wallace and Nuhiu received a good ovation when he came off for Joao.

1-1 was probably a fair result because for all the good things the Owls did do in the second half, it was rare we really managed to test Heaton, at times we’re perhaps a little bit too cute in looking for that one pass too many.

Lee stabs home a leveller

Lee stabs home a leveller

One brilliant piece of work by Nuhiu saw him dispossess the Burnley defender near the corner flag but Hooper couldn’t quite do the final bit of work when Nuhiu squared it.

I bumped into Durruti and Aylesbury on the way out and had a brief natter with them. Durruti shared my thoughts that the draw was the right result against one of the classier outfits in this division.

FT: WEDNESDAY 1-1 BURNLEY

A few post match thoughts:

I can understand the frustration about not winning and our record against the top six is not being great but sometimes you need to step back and look at the bigger picture.

Consider the progress that in just over two seasons we’ve leapt from relegation contenders to mid-table also rans to realistic play-off hopefuls, consider Chansiri and what he has brought to the table. Sometimes a little patience is required.

All I want each season is progress and we’ve made a lot this season and there’s still time left.

This stuff about the attendances and stay-away fans is getting old.

We don’t all have bottomless wallets and the likes of me have to pick and choose our games. I can’t justify coming all the way from Birmingham for every home game and spending £30 plus (closer to £50 if you count fuel costs) for one game of football.

Dejphon Chansiri has mentioned his desire to get more fans in and one thing I am certain of is that he’ll review ways to get people in – from the floating fan, the pick and choose fan like myself and the hardcore regular season ticket holders.

Cheaper prices would help but after a brief gander at last seasons midweek attendance figures, the Burnley figure was actually higher than a lot of our games then. Maybe we’re not as massive as we claim to be.

And I don’t think of myself as a “shit fan” like has been mooted on Twitter by some fans for staying away from Hillsborough.

I have different circumstances in my life now.

Just like every other Wednesdayite, I have to put food on my plate, pay my bills, my rent etc. I still devote a lot of time to my love for the Owls.

Writing stuff for OwlsAlive, I’d love to come more often home and away but it’s just not feasible for me to do so. Just think about circumstances before you bleat out this bollocks about the stay-aways being cheapskates and crap fans.

What I will say though is for those who can afford it and do have the right circumstances, coming down to Hillsborough is a pretty good experience.

There’s still one or two improvements that need to be made. The queues at the food stands are pretty awful and it seems to take a day and an age for the teenagers in there to deal with customers; lack of preparation at half time also seems to be an issue but one thing I have noticed is the club seem receptive to constructive criticism and will do what they can to address problems.

A good night for the Oldham Xavi

A good night for the Oldham Xavi

Football wise it’s as been as good as it has for well over a decade.

We’re on the way back and the promised land seems as close as it’s ever been.

One thing Carlos Carvalhal could consider going forward would be pairing Hutch up with Lees at the back given our depth in midfield and lack of depth at the back.

He played a far more mature game, timing his tackles to near perfection and looking far more solid than Loovens.

Bannan continues to amaze with his skills and endless running.

One thing I noticed about him was the distance he covers, he’s just a pest, as good as he is on the ball, he works so hard off it, running back, tracking his man, his work rate is so good.

Add to that to the progress Kieran Lee has made this season and how good for the most part Forestieri has been, we’ve got the nucleus of a really good side here, add one or two pieces and we’ll be contenders this season or the next.

Patience is a virtue here, we’re on the way back, trust me on that.

Danny (D-Good)
Owls Alive
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TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @StirchleyOwl


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