RAMBLE: Wednesday 2-1 Preston

RAMBLE: Wednesday 2-1 Preston

My normal home game pre-match routine was put out this week due to there being no five-a-side.

This gave me a chance to indulge in a big breakfast. There are few better ways to start a match day than a good artery filling breakfast.

I’d got some excellent free-range bacon from our local butcher (the excellent Roney’s on Sharrow Vale Lane) and put the rest together with what was in.

I starting preparing the tomatoes and realised that I needed something to listen to, so I put the radio on.

Radio Four is pretty much default in my house but 30 seconds of Saturday Live was sending me back to sleep. Danny Baker on Five Live it is then.

But it’s not.

It’s Colin-smugness-Murray!

I manage 30 seconds of Colin Murray and I want to throw the radio into my back garden. Well, I’ve been trying to embrace classical music lately so I switch to Radio 3. No, no, no.

This isn’t working. It’s a very intense piece and it’s too early for this. I’m starting to think it’s cursed, radio stations are conspiring against me.

Then I remember … 6 Music! It was like Goldilocks’ porridge and before I knew I was chopping mushrooms to Metallica. Perfect.

 

A winning breakfast

 

I was proud of this breakfast. Mushrooms and tomatoes cooked with garlic and chilli, with cannellini beans stirred in (posh baked beans, basically), the aforementioned bacon (it was excellent), some sausages and scrambled eggs.

The right way to start match-day

The right way to start match-day

It was also one of those mornings where time seemed to be running at double speed, so I was actually relieved to get the text from James that Vic would be picking us up at 12 rather than half 11.

A shower and match day clothes deployed and I had word that Vic was ten minutes away so nipped to James’ down the road.

As I got there he wasn’t sure whether to go with two or three layers. As far as I’m concerned once it’s passed November, it’s a three-layer minimum.

Vic arrives and I go around to the passenger side to get in the back, where she has a tent on the back seat, I climb in (literally) and we’re off.

As we hit Penistone Road, there are loads of tweets about long delays due to a fire on the other side of the ground. No bother, I think, as it’s the opposite side.

We hit traffic but there’s always traffic on here. Except this is bad and far worse than normal. We’re at a total standstill. James asks why we don’t just park up and walk, but Vic insists she can’t as she only has one shoe on (we don’t ask).

Eventually we crawl along to New Barrack Tavern and James and I set out on foot, which was a lot quicker, although it did mean I had to climb over the tent on the back seat again, in traffic!

We start discussing what the team should be: the same as last week. It was our most complete performance, although we need to score twice as the law of the sod means that Aidan McGeady WILL score.

We get to the corner of Hillsborough Park and I start crossing the road, James sparks up, ‘where are you going, pub’s this way?’ My autopilot had completely taken over and I was walking to ground!

 

Beer – a most natural remedy

 

Finally, we’re in The Riverside and two pints of Belgium Blue are ordered. All is well with the world.

The traffic has clearly affected a few, as the pub was distinctly quieter than normal. We sit down in our usual corner with Rich and his boys who’d got to the pub before the standstill.

The pub soon filled up and we’re joined by the now parked up Vic, Tom and Fessi lookalike, Kieren, who we met in Birmingham pre-Wolves last week.

Beer beer beer

Beer beer beer

I didn’t get chance to talk to him last week so; it was great to discuss all things Wednesday.

Time was really flying now, as was the Belgium Blue.

Team news was out and it was the same team as last week as expected. I also noticed that Chris / Baldy / Joe London (delete as appropriate) had appeared with his dad, so I snuck out for a quick chat before heading to the ground. Where we arrived in time for a pint of new hand pull real ale.

This was the first week of their new payment system.

It was like being at a different club.

They have contactless payments.

Contactless! At Wednesday!

I didn’t believe it would work and pointed at it sceptically asked; ‘does this work?’ It did!

I asked for three pints – then Eddie appeared so it became four pints and paid. And we had beer. No stupid long wait. No waiting for the one person that can pour hand pull pints and no calculator! It appears the retail side of the club has passed into the 20th century!

 

THE MATCH

 

Wednesday started with the same team as last week and looked as though we never finished. We were dominant and looked dangerous. Before long there was a great ball through the middle from Reach and Forestieri was through on goal … and he hits it straight at the keeper. A chance missed but a great start.

We continue to look lively and Reach, in particular, is looking sharp.

We really needed to make this advantage count. It wasn’t long before we were back in their box and Reach looked destined to score, but he miss-hit it and looped kindly for Fessi to head it into the corner! YEEEESSSSSSSSS 1-0

Brilliant. The perfect start.

Positive start

Positive start

It’s imperative that we dominate and make the advantage count. That advantage was almost wiped out immediately after Callum Robinson shot from distance and hit the outside of Westwood’s post. Had it been a few inches the other way it’d be 1-1. We need to keep this tight.

We also needed a second and Fessi was proving a menace. Once again, we have the real Fessi back.

The game calmed down and Wednesday dominated. Sadly injuries took their toll as we lost Wallace and Loovens, who were replaced by Buckley and Jones, respectively, with Hutchinson slipping back to centre half.

Buckley came into the fray early doors

Buckley came into the fray early doors

Come January we really need to recruit an experienced centre half (easier said than done).

As half time approached Tom was about to go down for half time beer as Hunt burst in the box, everybody stands up … could it be 2-0 … nope wide.

Then McGeady nearly got that inevitable goal but Westwood saved the day. PHEW.  We really will need a second. Then there was five minutes added. It’s huge for half time but about right given injuries etc.

Right on the verge of half-time, Buckley surges in the box, only has to shoot but passes badly to Fessi.

The moment felt like it was gone but Fessi got the ball back across goal and found a free Buckley to score … but it was wide.

This was Buckley’s first big chance to impress and so far he’s totally fluffed his lines.

Oh well. Beer-time, sorry half time, where I find Tom and Mark already have beer. Although they appear to have got the last pints of real ale and I got the short straw and had to settle for Guinness.

Max joins us as Tom and James continue to debate whether they’re going to Newcastle. This is about the fifth time they’ve discussed it since 2pm and each time they come to different decision.  They were like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck arguing if it’s Duck Season or Rabbit Season.

 

SECOND HALF

 

We were not sitting back and there was clear intent to get that crucial second goal.

And we thought it’d come as Lee burst into the box and found Buckley’s head, who hit the target this time.

YEEESSSS, we go up and I look to the linesman to see the flag’s up. SHIT.

From where we are on the North Stand it’s impossible to know if that was offside in front of the Kop so we just have to accept it.

Wednesday were not sitting back but Preston were contained and the game was in our hands.

Joao returns to Hillsborough

Joao returns to Hillsborough

It was looking like the comfortable win we all expected.

What we thought was a routine game changed. Forestieri was very close to us as he played it down the line and my eyes followed the ball and not Fessi.

Then the referee gave a free to Preston where Fessi played the ball and there was RED for Fessi. What the hell?!? None of us around us saw it and had no idea what happened.

There was now a good half hour to play with ten men. Maybe that win isn’t so certain?

Those fears eased though as we seemed to shut out Preston and looked happy to see this out 1-0.  We were in total control and they didn’t look like scoring.

Then Buckley burst into the box and was brought down. PENALTY!! It was an absolute no brainer: a stonewall pen.

Fletcher (on for Joao and taking the penalty in place of the sent-off Fessi), steps, SCORES!!!!!!!

THERE IS YOUR SECOND BLOODY GOAL! GET IN!

Yesssssssss

Yesssssssss

That’s it. This WILL be our three points. Except it wasn’t nearly that simple. They went from looking like never scoring to a full on attack. Straight away they attacked, there was a ricocheted shot and somehow there was a queue of Preston players in space, once of which found the Wednesday net. SHIT. 2-1

Come on Wednesday, just see this out and let’s get to the pub for celebratory pints.

We were effectively playing 9-0-0, and rightly so, to see this out. They came at us but we seemed to have them contained but it only takes a moment of brilliance or a deflection and it’s a point each.

Thankfully McGeady went off so that inevitable goal wouldn’t come. And four minutes of added time was to be played. That’s ok; let’s just see it out.

Then, there was madness, yes, more madness, after a fluffed chance there was some sort of coming together.

We couldn’t really see what happened but once the players were separated there was a red for a Preston player! Get in. As we waved him off, Tom pointed at the scoreboard, showing there was a second Preston player sent off!

In the moment, we completely missed that.

That really was the end of it and when we got a corner with thirty seconds of added time left we knew that was that. A mad game and three points needed taking us back into the top six.

 

FT: WEDNESDAY 2-1 PRESTON

 

As we left we noticed that the scores were on the board. We all record highlights programmes and all three us avoid scores, so it took some effort to walk out whilst averting our eyes from the spoilerific big screen.

We got to the pub for celebratory pints and saw Vic whose first words are: Preston fans must be furious! They might, but like Clarke Gable, we don’t give a damn.

Everything seems to be back on track now, with seven points from three games and would have been nine had we seen the Fulham win out.

But with Loovens injured and Fessi out for three games, it’s not going to be easy.

But when has it EVER been easy being a Wednesday fan?

JP
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: owlsalive@gmail.com
Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @jpowls

Images: SWFC


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