RAMBLE: Wednesday 1-0 Rotherham

RAMBLE: Wednesday 1-0 Rotherham

I was still feeling rough from my work Christmas night out in Friday.

A shower, s***, shave, big breakfast  and I was back on track. That and copious amounts of paracetamol.

As I got to James’, he was debating trying to find a way to discretely put a blue and white Santa hat in his pockets.

He tried his back pocket and was almost set but he could barely walk. Nope, festivities will have go ahead without the hat.

As we set off towards the tram we started discussing the game ahead.

We really ought to be getting three points from today. They’re bottom, out of form, have got a temporary manager and look doomed to relegation. But it’s Rotherham. They always win at Hillsborough.

I also felt that we’d go with the same team that beat Barnsley in midweek.

Although it hadn’t been the best performance, it was the sort of dirty-scrappy win that we’ve been lacking this season. Far too often, we’ve played nice football with little reward.

James was also of that view although he thought that David Jones would be a good addition and rest Bannan (we didn’t know it was injured).

With Jones and Hutchinson in the middle, we can be sure that the team won’t be bullied in the midfield.

Sammy Sammy: We’d need another performance from this man in midfield

We got the tram stop and the live update screen things were saying that the next tram was a blue one (25 minute walk at the other end) and it was another ten minutes for a yellow tram (2 minute walk at the other end).

After much discussion we were decided: we’d just get the blue tram and walk. Then a yellow tram turned up. So much for the fancy live update board thing.

Before long we were in the Riverside Café and about to instinctively order two pints of Belgium Blue but there was a good looking Grapefruit IPA, so we went for that, much to the surprise of Vic and Rich who were already there.

With this being the last home match of 2016, there was a few surprise appearances from, not only, Fudge (although he was held up at Taco Bell on Divison Street) and Jamie, but also  New York James, who we’d met at Fulham.

Having said, we managed to completely miss James before the game. James had landed at Heathrow at 8am and still made the game. I wasn’t even awake then!

Team news came out with a surprise return for Abdi and we started talking about the supposed boycott by Rotherham fans, angry at the £36 price of a ticket.

Bannan: sat out for Abdi

Although it’s dearer than some games in the Championship, it’s normal for ticket prices to exceed £30 these days. This is Rotherham fans having a go at Wednesday than anything else.

Then suddenly there was a shout up: well we’re here!

It turned out that we were stood by a couple of Rotherham fans, who’d made the journey.

They thought that the ticket price was too high but didn’t see the merits of  a boycott – how does it help your team to deplete your own support?

There’s also the bigger issue that the Football League really needs to address: the combination of Financial Fair Play and Parachute Payments means that the Championship doesn’t operate on a level-playing field.

If a non-relegated team wants to compete for promotion, they have to draw in as much revenue as possible.

This season Villa, Norwich and Newcastle can effectively spend £90 million more than any other team in the division over the three seasons of parachute payments.

Whilst parachute payments continue to count as “revenue” for FFP purposes other teams have to find a way to compete.

There is a really simple solution too – don’t qualify parachute payments as revenue so that money can’t be spent on player fees or wages.

It should be used as intended, to stop relegation causing financial ruin. Until that changes, then we will have higher prices.

Anyway, soon enough it was gone 2.30 so just enough time to nip in the ground and have a quick pint inside the ground before the action starts.

Trouble getting in to Fortress Hillsborough

We were in very good time but the queues were crazy!

Surely this can’t be due to a raffle ticket being handed out?

We still managed to squeeze in a pint in time to get to our seats in time for the minutes applause for all the Wednesday fans that sadly didn’t make it to the end of 2016.

This was an excellent touch and something that the club should do more often.

 

THE MATCH

 

Wednesday started the game very brightly and had two clear cut chances within the first five minutes. Maybe the game will go as expected and we’ll finally beat Rotherham at Hillsborough?

This season we seem to have an ability to get into really positions but we’re really lacking a clinical edge and it’s costing us points. It meant a draw at Fulham and not a win.

Then it meant a defeat against Reading in a game where the first goal was crucial. Once Rotherham saw out the first 20 minute, they  were in the game.

The referee was clearly a problem too. He was everything that was wrong with referees.

Inconsistent decisions? Check.

Belatedly poor decisions for both teams? Check.

Stupid pedantry? Check.

My bladder was also becoming uncomfortably full, so it was a great relief when there was an injury on 30 minutes as it meant I could nip down to relieve myself and given how busy the toilets were, I wasn’t the only one.

Although it was a real shame for Abdi to have to come off by the time I got back to my seat.

It’s not really happened for him in a Wednesday shirt but class is permanent and I think he’ll come good eventually. A lot of fans have unfairly written him off.

Half time approached as James went for beers, there were chances for Joao and Odemwingie and it felt like it would e 0-0 at half time.

This seemed certain given the referee only added two minutes added on, when should have been a minimum of three or four.

Missing these two?

Then right on the stroke of half time they got a free kick near us, a good delivery and the whistle went just as it hit the back of the net.

The Rotherham fans missed it and celebrated, much to ironic cheers from the North Stand. I couldn’t see why it was given.

 

HT: Wednesday 0-0 Rotherham

 

We got down for beers, where James had just got to the front of the queue and asked for the Pale Ale. “What that one, it’s gone that”. Ok – Four Guinness it is then. Except one of the other Guinesses had been taken away and it was the last one! Then they had the check to ask for the extra 10p when he asked for a Heinekin.

I got back to my seat as the teams were coming out, except Lee was off for David Jones. Another injury to a creative player. Maybe this won’t be our day after all?

We really lacked the creative edge and got forward well but there were few clear cut chances.

Rotherham were very organised and hard to break down. Joao was running a lot but missing chances. He and Fletcher look reluctant to shoot or take a gamble. Joao had the best chance but took a touch rather than shoot first time. And then it was easy clearance off the line.

The longer the second half went on it looked and felt like 0-0 or worse – a 1-0 Rotherham steal like last season. Nuhiu came on for Pudil, which gave us more up front but still lacking in creativity. And then Hutchinson went down and we played for a period with ten men. More and more, it just wasn’t our day.

Pray for a goal…

Still there should be plenty of added time, after they’d been a few interruptions. So it was a surprise when the referee only added four minutes! There were at least six. We never seem to get the added time when we need it!

We kept chasing then and it wasn’t clear what happened as Joao ran through the box but the referee gave a penalty! A lifeline!

Then it look absolutely ages for the game to restart and the penalty to be taken. Fletcher stepped up and SCORES!!!!!

By the time the game kicked off the original four minutes was up so we had no idea how long was left. Then they got a corner. Oh no. You just know this is going straight to a Rotherham head and 1-1. But as it was cleared the final whistle went! Three points that were probably not deserved but we got away with it.

 

FT: WEDNESDAY 1-0 ROTHERHAM UNITED

 

We headed back to the pub for celebratory Belgium Blue but it was clear straight away there was trouble on Leppings Lane. I’ll never understand the Neanderthal attitude of some football fans.

In fairness to the police they handled it well and we got to the pub in one piece. Where we were joined by James, who wasn’t sure what the fuss over Belgium Blue was all about.

Quality tells (in the end!)

Before long it was cold so we headed inside, where we were joined by David Garrido who’d got a rare Saturday off, so had made the trip up the M1 to see his first Wednesday game for a while.

This was also officially a Christmas party for The Kop End and The Wednesday Week. It turned into a strange glass balancing competition between Riley and Cleggy of The Kop End. Not surprisingly this ended up in Cleggy breaking glasses and conceded in defeat.

That was our cue to leave. Taxi and a quick pint in the Lescar later and we stumbled home. With us top 6 at Christmas and a huge game against Newcastle on Boxing Day, it’s interesting times.

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

Images: SWFC


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