RAMBLE: Rotherham United -v- Wednesday
I’m sure when Sky selected this game to be televised they were hoping there might be a little more resting on it.
Having spoken to a few Rotherham fans, they seemed to be a little relieved that their relegation was confirmed on Saturday.
I had arranged to give my Rotherham supporting mate a lift down to the match, with him also living in Leeds like me and we spent the car journey discussing football and catching up – having not seen each other in a good five years.
He told me that the only way this season could have got any worse for the majority of Rotherham fans was for us to be the ones to send them down, so Fulham sending them down on Saturday was almost celebrated by some of them… I know, they’re an odd breed.
Saying all of that, I was nervous. We’re up against a recently relegated team, they have no pressure and they’d like nothing more than to be able to put a dent in our playoff ambitions.
Our recent form and playing style didn’t fill me with confidence. Matt (my Miller mate) said we had absolutely nothing to worry about and we’d beat them comfortably.
This was a view shared by my other Rotherham supporting mate, Josh. Josh had told me on Monday night that he hoped we won 6-0 so that Paul Warne wasn’t given the job.
I told him if we won 6-0 he could expect me to snog his face off at 5aside on Wednesday! Who wouldn’t want that?!
Recent trips to “New York” have created some pretty fine memories and celebrations. One of my favourites coming in the 2014-15 season when as we scored the winner I threw myself into the arms of a complete stranger and we flew three rows forward…
The photo of me climbing back up to my seat featured in the Wednesday programme the following week as they’d captured the post-goal celebrations.
Throwback – Climbing back to my seat
It was about 5:30 when we’d parked up in Rotherham, having flown down the M1 in no time at all.
This meant that we made a trip to a pub in the town centre, a Rotherham only pub.
I’m sure you can imagine what it was like so I won’t go into detail but I had to make sure that my Wednesday shirt was firmly tucked down under my jumper without the collar showing.
I then had my denim jacket on top and it’s safe to say I spent my time in the pub sweating my **** offs despite the couple of pints I supped. I was glad to be able to leave all in once piece and meet up with Chad outside the away end, getting another pint inside to celebrate my undercover skills.
As we caught up inside the ground, drinking our pints and eating our pies, we took in the team news.
Carlos was certainly going for it – was he feeling the pressure?
Three strikers named: Rhodes, Fletcher and Hooper. Seeing Hooper’s name back in the starting eleven was brilliant, we’ve missed him more than I think most Wednesdayites would have imagined.
It was strange to see Winnall not playing as he was one of the best performers at Barnsley but with Fletcher being given a chance it was about time he showed what he was capable of.
It wasn’t a great game, I can’t imagine many neutrals watching it at home kept the match on for the full 90 minutes.
We allowed Rotherham far too many chances and if they were able to finish it would have been a completely different result.
When they did create chances they either put them wide or straight at Westwood – thankfully.
I was certain we were about to go behind when a clever back-heel from Morris put Taylor free in the area but thankfully his curled shot went past the post as well as Westwood.
Shortly afterwards we were ahead, Wallace slipped a pass between the legs of a defender, trying to find Hooper but the ball was deflected and found Fletcher who looked to be in an offside position. Fletcher turned quickly and hit the ball first time and it went straight past Lewis Price! Get in!
My celebration was a little less crazy than normal, it was more a feeling of relief after the pressure we’d been under and partly because I still didn’t feel we were safe with just a goal cushion. Over the speakers it was announced,
“Sheffield Wednesday goal scorer – Steven Fletcher.”
The chap behind me responded to this by shouting,
“Aye, he’s f****** s*** annall!”
Which I found absolutely hilarious.
It was also pretty amusing as texts and images on Twitter came through to confirm that Fletcher was offside for the goal.
Rotherham then showed a replay of the decision on their big-screen which they’re definitely not supposed to do, I can’t imagine any retrospective action is taken but I do question why they should be allowed to get away with that when everybody else has to follow the rule-book.
That big-screen proved to be a pretty useful little tool for us to keep up to date with the scores from around the country, they had a ****GOAL SCORED!**** feature which kept updating to show us the latest scores – all of which seemed to be going for us!
The only problem with the screen was that it didn’t show the minutes played, the scoreboard for this is above the away fans at the New York Stadium and it was impossible to see from our angle.
As the match went on Rotherham continued to create more opportunities than us but then just before half-time we made things a lot more comfortable.
Jack Hunt whipped in a super cross from the right and Fletcher rose up above his defender to show us all what our strikers can do when quality balls are put into the box!
A fantastic header from Fletcher to double his goal tally and our lead.
Two goals for Fletcher to take his season tally to eight
Seconds after the halftime interval, Fletcher had a half-chance to grab his hattrick and would have done so but for a last ditch tackle from a Rotherham defender.
The rest of the second half was pretty non-eventful.
Rotherham appealed for a handball every so often and Semedo and Atdhe made appearances (even getting involved in a bit of linkup play together).
The highlights of the second half had to be: the score updates from Pride Park, us screaming for Semedo to shoot from 30 yards, Rotherham announcing their man of the match as Newell (I could only assume they pulled names out of a hat) and when Rotherham were making a change and the announcer said it was a Wednesday substitution, which was greeted with cheers and chants of, “You’re getting sacked in the morning!”
When the full-time whistle went to confirm a 2-0 win for Wednesday the players were given an applause off the pitch and there was a feeling of job done, 1 match down, 6 to go.
Carlos looked really relieved and now we move on to the Newcastle game on Saturday where hopefully “Fessi the Fish” will be back in the team.
Final result – Rotherham United 0 – 2 Sheffield Wednesday
It was a far from convincing performance again, against the team that looks likely to go down as the worst team in Championship history.
We did very little to create chances, our passing football and tempo still wasn’t right and our defence continued to look shaky.
Only the poor shooting of Rotherham stopped them getting at least one goal of their own. Yet we won. At this stage of the season all that matters are the results.
I’m past the point of caring about free-flowing and lovely football, we just need points on the board now and to get our place in those play-offs sealed.
If we can get the right results then we’ll be heading into the play-offs on the back of a good run of form and that’ll set us up nicely with confidence back through the team.
They say the play-offs are like a cup competition, well for us that mentality has to start now.
We’ve got 6 games left and we need to win as many of those as possible to make sure we finish where we want to in the table. Saturday is a huge game against Newcastle and it’ll be very tough.
Although we’ve just managed to sneak back into sixth place, I wouldn’t be surprised to see us slip out of it again on Saturday.
There’s going to be plenty of twists and turns before the end of the season and so it’s essential that we stick with the team and cheer them on during the matches – save the groaning for afterwards.
We’ve now got Preston sniffing around to see if there’s a spot available in the playoffs and they’ll certainly fancy their chances looking at both ours and Fulham’s recent form and upcoming matches.
I don’t know what’s going to happen, I’d be rich from betting if I did. What I do know is whilst ever there’s a chance and it’s in our hands then we can still achieve the dream.
Four of our last six games are at home so let’s create that special Hillsborough atmosphere and roar our team on to the play-offs.
We’re All Wednesday.
Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @thesharpey
Images: SWFC, unless stated.