Barnsley 1-1 Wednesday Post Match Ramble

Barnsley 1-1 Wednesday Post Match Ramble

I know all over the country derby games have different meanings to different folk. In Sheffield there are loads of families with divided loyalties and ours is one of those divided families. Ours is a Wednesday/Barnsley divide.

Me and the Young Un are obviously on the side of good wearing (Blue and) white hats whereas her husband Adam and dad Neil are the baddies of the piece, having sold their hearts to a darker side.

This of course means we have a constant battle for the soul of my grandson Charlie (AKA Chuddy, Curly, Chumba, Chumbawumba, Curlington, Oi!, and You little chuffer!)

Some readers may remember almost 8 years ago when we decided the result of a Wednesday -v- Barnsley game would decide Charlie’s football future and whether his soul would be red or blue and Wednesday won that battle. Things didn’t quite pan out as they should though and the darker side of this family reneged on our deal. GASP! Who woulda thought that of the bad guys?

Chuddy has been tainted, his soul isn’t entirely blue…but on the plus side, it’s not entirely red either. He has now developed, as you do when you reach 7yo, the ability to play everyone off against each other and get the best from both sides….he gets that from his darker more evil red side obviously.

Anyway…we set off for this game in the knowledge that Curly had said he would not support either team and wouldn’t even like football again if Winnall scored against his old side. Of course we told him he was safe with that because whenever a player returns to his old club with us it never works FOR US but always against us.

Me and the Young Un are tootling off in the car, Adam and Neil get off in theirs…Oh aye…we don’t travel together. That wouldn’t be cool at all. YES. I know it’s double the petrol and parking and all that guff but NO! IT’S NOT RIGHT! We don’t need any falling out on footy days, it’s bad enough as it is.

All the way there the Young Un was nervous as chuff and not her usual chelpy self. It was written all over her face and in everything she said and she just couldn’t relax at all. Me? Steady as ya like. I’d been saying I thought we’d lose this game for ages but today I was super confident…or as they say these days UBER confident.  (Oh aye. Trendy me ya know) I had a feeling for some reason that the Brazil of the North would be taken down a peg or two and we would beat them fair and square today.

We normally go the M1 way and then park up on the road but this time we went the Ponte Road route and parked up in a restaurant car park, only a few yards away from Adam and Neil as it happened and the very last spot in the car park…HUGE result already.

What I hadn’t realised was that it would have been quicker and easier to walk from our house. IT WAS CHUFFIN’ MILES AWAY!

Not only was it chuffin’ miles, it was all chuffin’ UP CHUFFIN’  HILL!

I’m not a young man anymore…I am a martyr to my aches and pains and I have a bit of shrapnel that gives me jip…then there’s my chest, I have a chest…plus the walk was right through ‘their’ country….walking past pubs with their heads hanging out…I fed a couple some sugar cubes and patted em on the nose as we passed but it felt like crossing the Alps….

My chest was heaving, probably altitude sickness, the shrapnel was on the move…and I have this knee as well… my knee was at it…people don’t know what it’s like to have a hip and a knee at the same time…

I shouted to the Young Un… YOU GO ON AHEAD. I’ll be fine…SAVE YASELF!

I realised at this moment I’d turned into my granddad…he used to say things like that… ‘ooh I’ve got a knee’ or ‘I’ve got a hip’ no more information than that…not what was wrong with it just that he had it.

I decided, being the brave little soldier that I am, to suck it up and put it behind me…we needed to get to the ground without being late as Sean and Billy were meeting us with our tickets…I limped onwards, putting the pain aside to make our meeting point and NOT miss kick off AGAIN!

We battled our way up through their car park, past the home entrance, through hordes of home fans and fending off evil glances…they know you know. You don’t need any Wednesday gear on, they just know. It’s a finger thing.

Eventually we got amongst our own and breathed easier as we waited…I say breathed easier…I still had my chest….not that I like to mention it. Oh yes we actually waited for Sean and Bill to arrive…US…waiting for others. What has happened with the world that WE are on time?

They took forever…I phoned… ‘We’re just coming round the corner, be there soon’

Chuff me! How big was this corner?

In that time we saw loads of folk we knew, chatted, had the piss taken by Mick and Will because I had an earring in…DAMN THEM AND THEIR 20/20 VISION! Plus they had time to hurl more abuse at me about being a glory supporter! The cheek of em!

By the time Sean and Bill arrived I think we’d actually seen everyone with a ticket into the ground, in fact it took that long I’m not sure it was the same season anymore. Hollie asked ‘Do they think it’s a home game?’
We saw lots of Sean lookalikes though…there was tall Sean, wide Sean, Lego Sean, ginger Sean, young Sean, very old Sean, lady Sean which actually turned out to be the real Sean with Bill and

Lego Sean arrived

barely with a minute to spare as we hurried through the turnstile and into the ground…I couldn’t believe we’d been waiting that long and we still didn’t miss kick off.

I still love coming here. I know it’s not fashionable to say that amongst Wednesday fans but there’s something about this place. I prefer it to any of our other local rivals…there’s something earthy about the place and the redbrick wall with broken bottles on top takes you back to a black and white world when football was real and not this crap Sky infused thing we get served up.


Hmm…the opening 45 minutes.
Not the best, from either side.
We can dance around all day and tell each other that one side had the best of it and the better chances but we’d simply be building things out of proportion. It wasn’t exciting and it wasn’t even full blooded and battling as folk seem to think derby games should be.

It was a nothing of a half.
The best thing to come out of it was the singing and chanting from our end.
From the start of the game Sam Winnall took stick from the home fans, relentless and so was his treatment on the pitch with Barnsley players nicking him and kicking him at every opportunity or in the case of Barnsley’s No.5 McDonald a big elbow.

Now don’t get me wrong, you expect that sort of stuff from home fans when a player returns and they’ve received similar at our place. It’s not something I do but I get it. I think Antonio got a bit when he came back but if you ARE going to do this, you have to accept the consequences if it spurs that player on.

To his credit, Sam Winnall put in a cracking display for the whole of the 90 minutes and throughout all of the on and off pitch stuff so it clearly didn’t phase him.

The singing from our end?
What made it special you ask?

This did

Nah, na na na nah
na na nah na na na nah
To the tune of Ini Kamoze and the song; Here Comes the Hotstepper
( )

Loud as ya like!

I don’t know if that had an effect on him whilst he played through the other stuff but it had an effect on me….it was one of those perfect footy chants. Right time, right place. Short and sweet. Very simple but so so effective and the noise was incredible. It MUST have lifted him and helped him through this game.

Hutch:Back too soon?

Maybe our other Sam, Hutchinson, could have done with a bit of that because around half an hour into the game he was limping towards the tunnel boots in hand. It didn’t look good, he didn’t look happy and you wonder if he was rushed back just for this game and maybe a little too soon?

Either way, Dave Jones replaced him and that isn’t a bad thing as I’ve rated his performances of late. Neither of those things really affected the game or how we played and we continued with our reasonable if not exactly inspiring efforts.

Both sides definitely had their chances in the opening half but the chances that Barmsley had were put well wide without bothering Westwood or staright at him, again without causing any problems for him or jitters for us. You could argue they should have done better with some of them and I wouldn’t disagree with that. They got into some good positions behind out defence, either of their own creation or from our mistakes and they just couldn’t make anything serious happen from them. They will no doubt point to the chance cleared off the line by Rhodes but he seemed to have been stood there for a week so it wasn’t like it was a mad scramble, just good play by him.

They had a few minutes there as the half drew to a close and most of us were hoping for the whistle to go so we could get in and regroup….but no sooner had we wished for that than things changed again and we had our own little flurry

Possibly the best chance of the half dropped our way, in fact a couple of them fell at the feet of McManaman…they both came in that little flurry of Wednesday activity just before the half time whistle and he put both chances over the bar. One of which, from our view, looked for all the world as though it was going in, only to curl over at the last. The first one also looked as though he could maybe have done better but he looked to be leaning back a bit as he struck it and the second too for that matter, he didn’t seem to have total control and could maybe have taken another touch before hitting it or even better pass to someone else….but that might be a little unfiar on the lad as I think we need to do more of that, shooting on sight rather than walking it in.

That burst of energy from us before half time spurred the fans on and NOW we didn’t want the half to end. All of sudden we wanted a few more minutes because everyone thought we could make the most of it.

It didn’t happen and a largely uninspiring half came to an end with probably a fair ending on overall play.

Mmmm Carpet burger

At half time there was a bit of merriment around us as the lad behind us opened his burger to chow down only to find it looked as though it had been sat on. If ever anything looked inedible this

was it. This was the blueprint for the original carpet burger and it also looked like the vegetarian option as there didn’t seem to be much burger in it.

When we started the second half something else unusual happened…we continued where we had left off, it was as though the first half hadn’t finished and within a few minutes of the restart things took a huge change…

I think it was a clearance by Tunty who simply hoofed the ball clear down the sideline…it was going aimlessly forward and slowly dribbling out for a goal kick…Reachy was chasing it but he was miles away and Davies in the Barnsley goal strolled over to usher it over the line…

Things didn’t go to plan for the keeper though…

He did that silly shielding thing players do to hold players off the ball and let it go out but reachy was having none of it and somehow managed to poke the ball back and away from the keeper…

Right into the path of one of our players…

The goal was empty…

Every single Wednesday head turned to follow the ball…
Every single pair of Wednesday eyes focussed on our player…

It was Sam Winnall….

Every single pair of Wednesday lungs drew a huge breath…

Winnall, calm as you like and as direct as you like right foots the ball towards the net…

That sharp intake of Wednesday breath helped draw the arrow of a shot into the net…never have so many Wednesday fans been so happy to fill their lungs with Barnsley air…

And within seconds they had expelled it and were going nuts…

And so was Sam Winnall…he ran the full length of the Barnsley stand to our left…

Unbridled joy

There was none of this head bowed and walking away in respect of your former club…
There was no sly handshake to teammates…
There was no apologetic nod towards the home fans…


If there hadn’t been a stand at the other end he’d have kept on running…I was expecting a Pat Cash moment from him…I thought, he’s gonna get to the end of the stand with every single Barnsley fans hurling abuse at him along the way, then he’s going to climb up to the top tier standing on the heads of the lower stand fans, like Paul Hogan in Crocodile Dundee…then he’s going to do the same back the other way from the top of the stand…

What a moment for us…what a moment for him…

Nah, na na na nah
na na nah na na na nah

If it was loud before it was off the chart now…and non stop.

I know…I KNOW that if a returning player had done this at our place we would be going nuts and hate it and I fully understand the Barnsley fans feelings but chuff my old boots this was a great moment….for us, for him…oh and for my grandson Charlie! (That’ll teach the little chuffer)

The singing in our end once again carried across the whole of South Yorkshire and you could see the lift the goal and the singing had given Winnall…he was a sproud as you like…he was a foot taller…he was a yard quicker…everything about him was better now and he’d not done too badly in the first half either…

Nah, na na na nah
na na nah na na na nah

The celebrations hadn’t finished either because 5 minutes later Winnall wins a free kick right hand side of the box and as the ball is delivered beautifully into the box he sticks out a foot and we are 2-0 ahead…we went absolutely nuts…I was grabbing anyone near me and then I felt the tap of doom on my shoulder…

Amidst all of this chaos…when everyone is really giving it some and you are oblivious to the world and all that’s going on…when you get that tap of doom on your shoulder you know what it means…YOU KNOW what it means…

I’m sure I was still mid air celebrating when I felt the ToD  and I seemed to stay there for a while…I didn’t want to acknowledge it…I didn’t want to turn round and make it reality…but I knew…I knew the goal had been disallowed…

ToD: Tap of Doom

The Young Un looked crestfallen….either at the decision or having to give me the bad news, I’m not sure which but the downer the Tap of Doom brings with it is incredible.

Of course it doesn’t matter if the linesman got it bang on…he gets called every name under the sun, that’s par for the course but chuff me it’s a killer….We love it when it happens to the opposition fans but when it’s you…it’s like losing a friend….and don’t mean misplacing them or them dropping down the back of the settee like loose change.

It takes a while to focus on the game again and get your head around things because the feeling of being badly done to never actually goes away.

To be honest the second half became far more entertaining and both sides played some good football at times and both having very good chances to extend the lead with Barnsley having the better of those chances. It wasn’t all about them though and Reach was having a great game, in fact he was man of the match for me and seemed to be involved in everything good that we did.

Probably our best chance fell to Fox on the edge of the box but he needed a touch too much get his shot off and the chance was gone.

It was noticeable that there was a little needle between Winnall and their centre half McDonald…not only because of the hard tackles and elbows he had been throwing at the


former Barnsley player but they were practically squaring up to each other at one point with McDonald pointing out a threatening finger (if a finger can be truly threatening) at Winnall. There was plenty of chelp between them too and I don’t think they were exchanging recipes.

I’d have loved Foriestieri to have made this game. I think he’d have run rings round the two centre halves today. They don’t look the most mobile pair.

We rode our luck at times as the game wore on and Barnsley turned up the heat…you could feel it coming…with every attack they seemed to be getting closer and I seemed to spend more time sat down and covering my eyes not bearing to watch…it was getting way too tense for me…I was watching every second on the clock behind us tick away so slowly…

I glanced up for a moment during one attack only to see Westwood pull off an incredible save for what looked all over a goal…my heart sank…my stomach was churning and the clock wasn’t moving…

Then after a good game for 90 minutes Tunty made a lunge on the edge of the box and gave away a free kick…..JUST as the announcement was made over that annoy that the Barnsley Man of the Match as voted for by the fans…I expected him to say Reachy or Winnall but he said Hammill…just as he launched the free kick into the Wednesday box…

I looked away…


I didn’t need to look back…the noise from the Barnsley fans told me all I needed to know…

I looked up to see the immobile tree trunk that is McDonald, running to the Barnsley fans and matching the unbridled joy of Winnall with his celebrations amidst the home fans…

I hurts to say it had been coming…
It hurts to say they deserved it…
It hurts even more to say we never look as though we can control a game even when we have the lead…

Even worse was the fact that even though this goal came deep into injury time Barnsley could feel what it had taken out of us and stepped up another gear to try and find the winner and it looked for all the world as though they were going to get it.

When the ball came in and it was the wrong side of Westwood I was just about to dump my fruit bag when Fox appeared on the line to head it clear…he had made up for not getting the shot away earlier…

I couldn’t bear this at all now…I sat back…sloughened…I was done for…I had nothing left…the highs of our goal and the tension and sickness from their attacking late and scoring had drained me…the clock still didn’t seem to be moving…

It must be all over, surely?

We picked the ball up and cleared it…suddenly the clock started moving again…of course it did WE HAD THE BALL!

We got forward, the whistle’s gonna go…
Reach got it out to Winnall…the whistle’s gonna go…
It came back and out to the other side but we still had it…the whistle’s gonna go..
A cross into the box…chested down…


He lets his left boot fly and the ball sails towards the goal….

And just too high…

The whistle finally DID go….and I was totally spent.

It will have felt like a victory to Barnsley fans but it felt like a defeat to us and ever one of us knew that later that day Fulham would beat Rotherham and we would finally be out of the top 6.

It hurt like a bitch.

Winnall: Class act

It hurt some of our players too and whilst some trduged off not looking happy at all Sam Winnall showed his real class. Fater all the abuse h’d taken during the game from Barnsley fans he walked over to all 3 of the Home stands and applauded the Barnsley fans…who showed their class too and booed him.

We were amongst the last out of the ground…I was still stunned…we just had time to say our goodbyes before making our way out and the3 long, long trek back to the car….I could really do without this walk right now.

I made it…just.

It wasn’t the best derby match ever and neither team excelled, nor could they say they deserved to win either. The draw was definitely the fair result.
It probably meant more to us this time as we needed the 3 points and Barnsley will be happy that they’ve derailed our Top 6 push.

For us, we need to regroup and keep our negativity til the end of the season.
I get the disappointment and that fans feel let down but if we vent that anger and disappointment too early it could totally unravel any chance we have of getting back into the top 6 so let’s shelve it for now and keep the complaints til the fat lady sings.

I am still hopeful that we can stay within 2 points of Fulham and have our fate in our own hands when they come to Hillsborough on the last day and then we truly will only have ourselves to blame if we lose it.



Owls Alive
Twitter: @owlsalive or @beastie_

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