RAMBLE: Derby County 2-0 Wednesday

RAMBLE: Derby County 2-0 Wednesday

I met up with a friend a few weeks ago, and while enjoying a bite to eat he mentions he has a spare ticket for the game against Derby.

Knowing how quickly the tickets tend to go for this fixture, I bit his hand off at the chance to go.

I don’t get to nearly enough away games and it would be a nice little trip to a team who, despite their struggles, will offer up a fight.

The thing I should mention at this point is that he is a Derby fan, and the seat was deep in the heart of the home stands.

First thing in the morning, it was time for pre-game FIFA. 1-0 Wednesday, Lee with the goal. I’ll remind you that my FIFA scores rarely reflect on the actual game, today would be one where I’d think “Why do I bother with this?”

I caught the train around 12pm – in my inconspicuous clothing – I had never been in the opposite teams stand so I made sure I wore nothing football related, the only thing to identify myself should I need it was my old mid-90’s Wednesday key ring.

 

PRE-MATCH

 

The train was packed with Wednesday fans chatting about the game, a quite nice atmosphere, the young lads stood in-between carriages were quick to help anyone passing through by picking up their bags and carrying them overhead to people could squeeze through easily.

I just thought that it would be a shame that I would be sat far away from the Wednesday fans.

My friend picked me up from the train; we drove to pick up his Mum (also a Derby season ticket holder) and then back to the iPro.

This was my first trip here and I was very impressed by the ground, that feeling grew as a girl outside the stand gave me several Just-Eat scratch cards, I got 2 £10 off codes so I was in profit for the day.

My friend then saw someone handing out free flags, he quickly ran up and grabbed two, one for his mum and one for me, thankfully his mum took it from me to save me the trouble.

We went into one of the suites up in the corner to enjoy a pre-game drink, I got to see the end of Arsenal’s demolition of Sunderland, as well as enjoy a Chicken Balti pie while watching the warm-ups.

So far, I was having a great day, but then it was time to take my seat. The seats were just to the right-of-centre of the main stand, one row behind me was the Radio Sheffield commentary team which was pretty handy in not only helping with my notes, but I felt a little more comfortable that I wasn’t the only one from Sheffield here.

Dawson: deputising for KW again

Dawson: deputising for KW again

The only team news worth mentioning was Kieren Westwood still wasn’t fit, so Cameron Dawson would get his first away start, I turned to my friend and mentioned that he’s a good shot stopper but is still a little shaky, they both mentioned that its unlikely he will really be tested….

Time for kick off.

 

THE MATCH

 

First thing to mention was the atmosphere, normally at the newer style of stadiums, the atmosphere can lack.

The worst example of this would be the Keepmoat in Doncaster, you could pack that place out and still hear the referee in the center if he dropped his whistle.

At this ground however, the whole place was bouncing.

The game started off almost like a cup game with the action going back and forth.

Wednesday looked the more dangerous at first with Adam Reach playing out of his skin in the opening.

Then the moment came, Reach shot and Keogh cleared the ball off the line, I couldn’t see well from where I was sat but we’ve all seen the freeze-frame, we know what happened here, I will comment on this more later.

Derby had an early corner where they didn’t seem to understand the offside rule, as the corner was played short the ball was passed back to the original corner taker.

Bannan: scorer on our last visit to Derby

Bannan: scorer on our last visit to Derby

Silly waste of possession I thought.

2 minutes later Derby get their second corner and they don’t mess about, as the ball flies to the back post where Cyrus Christie heads it home.

The Wednesday players were obviously a little shell shocked to be caught out like that, and it showed in their play throughout the rest of the half.

The team would build up play nicely but would always fail to get that final ball through.

This was made worse by the right wing pairing of Christie and Tom Ince who would quickly get the ball forward for another assault on Dawson’s goal.

As half time came it was clear that something needed to be changed for the game to be turned around.

 

HT: Derby 1-0 Wednesday

 

Halftime, I relaxed in my seat and enjoyed the half time entertainment, mainly because the friend who got me the ticket was taking part in the penalty shootout. Compared to the prizes on offer at Hillsborough, this game was indulgent.

The three prizes were a VIP trip to watch the X factor with accommodation and travel, a game in the Directors box with a meal, and a £250 Just Eat voucher.

For anyone who wants to know who my friend is, he was the only one who missed a penalty, but before you laugh, just know that he is up to his eye balls in take away boxes right now, so its not all bad.

The Second half got underway and sadly it was more of the same.

HT: Derby 1-0 Wednesday

HT: Derby 1-0 Wednesday

Everything was working going forward but the final ball never came.

The best chance of the game so far came from a counter attack, Reach and Bannan team up well to get the ball forward to Forestieri, who puts it right into the back of the stand.

Thankfully his next chance was better, forcing the Derby keeper to put it wide.

The pressure from Wednesday continued to build and Derby put 10 men behind the ball, it feels like a goal is coming any minute…

Who had 62 minutes on the Hutchinson Bingo?

He brings down one of the Derby players from a corner attack, adding another yellow card to his extensive collection.

Derby play the corner in and after some back and forth, Pearce gets into space and puts the ball in the back of the net.

Derby are 2-0 up and you can actually see the heads of the team drop to the floor. Steven Fletcher, who hadn’t been on long, went down to a head injury. He attempted to play on but eventually had to be subbed off. Another injury worry is something we do not need.

The play continues as it did before the goal, but the urgency in the Wednesday players is leading to poor decisions on the ball which Derby, Jonny Russell in particular, take advantage of and get the ball forward.

This is where Dawson really made a mark on the game, making some vital saves to keep the score respectable. Dawson is settling down now into a very good goalkeeper.

Midfield: attractive but not creative

Midfield: attractive but not creative

The thought that when all the keepers are fit, Westwood will have two young and hungry keepers biting at his heels, at least we don’t have to worry about that part of the pitch.

Eventually the 4th official holds up the board to say 7 minutes, but its clear that nothing is going to happen. For the first time I can remember, my friend motions for the exit and I follow.

So, lets break some of this down.

Yes, I believe after seeing it that is should have been a penalty and a red card for Keogh, and if that would have happened the game may have gone differently, however we shouldn’t use this event to take attention away from the issue we are currently having, which is our inability to find that final ball to create solid chances.

It doesn’t matter how well we control the tempo if teams can easily stop us from putting a shot on goal.

Ultimately, Derby finally put in the performance a team of their caliber should be putting on, and we failed in yet another performance where the team looked far from their best.

With one game left before the next international break, here’s hoping for a better performance back at Hillsborough on Saturday.

Dan
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: owlsalive@gmail.com
Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @danmoxon

Images: SWFC


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