RAMBLE: Wednesday 2-1 Derby County

RAMBLE: Wednesday 2-1 Derby County

Sheffield Wednesday vs Derby County is a fixture that is special to me in two ways.

One because of my clear love of The Wednesday, and two because I went to university in Derby, so whenever I see their name pop up I always get a warm, fuzzy feeling of nostalgia.

Unfortunately to go with that nostalgia is a terrible sense of dread because we never, ever, E-V-E-R seem to get anything against them.Sometimes it is because they batter us (the two 3-0 defeats at Pride Park I have seen will live long in my memory for all the wrong reasons) and sometimes because they seem to get all the luck possible. All that being

Sometimes it is because they batter us (the two 3-0 defeats at Pride Park I have seen will live long in my memory for all the wrong reasons) and sometimes because they seem to get all the luck possible.

All that being said, however, I went into this game with high hopes. Wednesday have hit excellent form recently and Derby had very little to play for.

All in all, I felt a very odd mixture of confidence and nauseating nervousness when I woke up, although the drinks from the night before probably didn’t help the nausea.

 

 

PRE-MATCH

 

Normally I, like a lot of football fans, would have been in the New Barrack Tavern before the game, but a mixture of Johnny boy being screwed over by public transport (a pain I know all too well) and having a hangover that felt like my head was being crushed with a giant can opener, we settled on getting to the ground for one just before kick off instead.

The way I felt, going to a crowded room with lots of people was definitely not a good idea.

We arrived about 2:30 and the queue for beer was quite small, which seemed like a good omen for a good day.

Alas, the Derby curse struck again, everywhere was card only.

Derby celebrating being better than Wednesday at some point in the past eleven years

Normally that would have been fine, but I had left all my cards at home thinking I would just take cash instead. We tried all the stalls, they were all card only, no physical money was going to be exchanged on this day.

Then, being the genius he is, Johnny decided to give some people who were at the front of the queue the money if they got the beers on their card.The guy was, unsurprisingly,

The guy was, unsurprisingly, startled but none the less obliged.

Have that, Derby curse!

We sat down and chatted all things football: who was going to win in the FA Cup semi final? Who was going to finish in the playoffs? Whether Wednesday would survive in the Premier League, it all got covered (legal note, not all things were covered, this was an exaggeration).

Once suitably refreshed, we headed to our seats, greeted the guys who sit next to us on their way, all of whom looked just as wary of the Derby curse as I was. Possibly without the hangover though.

 

THE MATCH

 

Make no mistake, Wednesday in the first half were the better side.

Derby looked like a team already planning where to go on holiday over the summer.

Not to say that they looked bad though, they still looked like the decent footballing side they obviously are. In terms of chances, there were no real clear cut chances, it was mostly half chances and pressure.

The two main things that stood out for me were having Kieran Lee back, who’s energy in midfield really helped lift the entire team.

Ross Wallace causing trouble

The other was Ross Wallace, who was tricky and caused the Derby defence a lot of trouble. The best chance of the half fell to Steven Fletcher though, a lovely cross into the box saw him in a fair bit of space, but he couldn’t quite keep his header down.

Being critical, he should have really got it on target but he’s been in great form of late so the crowd didn’t really get on his back. As the half time whistle went, Wednesday had put in a more than decent performance, but had nothing to show for it, which I was hoping didn’t come back to bite us.

 

HALF TIME: Wednesday 0-0 Derby County

 

Frustrating in one way, pleasing in another, I had mixed emotions as we descended downstairs at half time.

They quickly turned to annoyance though when I queued up for a good 10 minutes before remembering, just as I was about to get served, that it was card only.

I thought about doing a Johnny and asking someone else for help, but the good fortune can only last for so long when you’re playing against Derby, and I didn’t want to risk upsetting the good fortune Gods.

Good to see Kieran Lee back

I returned to John and we engaged in the obligatory checking of the half time scores, Fulham pretty much already had 3 points in the bag being 4-1 up and Leeds were drawing.

Not catastrophic but we couldn’t let it distract us from getting 3 points, at times we have been guilty of having to rely on others too much for our own good, so I was hoping today would not be another one of those days.

 

 

SECOND HALF

 

The second half started off not too different from the first, a battle of wits, a chess game almost, until the first real big chance of the game came.

Bradley Johnson did well in getting the ball into the box, turning, and firing a shot at goal that was fortunately dealt with by Kieran Westwood. What followed however, was not dealt with.

A decent ball into the box led to a familiar sight, Derby going ahead through a goal we gifted them.

Darren Bent had far too much time and nodded home a simple header.

You could feel it in the ground, you could see it on people’s faces, Derby chuffing County are on course to do it again. What was going through my mind at that point would not have been appreciated by all the families around us.

We kicked off again though and something just felt different. Then came Derby’s best period in the game, we were panicking, giving away the ball far too easily and if Derby still had something to fight for, I reckon they might have got a second.

After we were done pressing the self destruct button we calmed down and we hit back, we hit back hard.

Fletcher: instrumental in the recovery

Fletcher found himself in a great position and smashed a header which, if on target, would have beaten Carson.

Sadly, he only managed to hit the crossbar but that was just the start, we continued to pile on the pressure and rightly got our equaliser.

A looping ball into the box from Wallace that seemed to be going out was nodded back in to the box by Gary Hooper and Fletcher was there to nod home pretty much unmarked. He couldn’t miss and he didn’t.

YES! F**K OFF DERBY!

Those were my exact words in reaction to that goal.

My proudest moment it was not, but there has been a lot of frustration in Wednesday vs Derby games over the past 11 years so I didn’t feel too bad.

We weren’t finished though, oh no no no, were weren’t finished. The pressure continued, we had the confidence back and after a ball into the box wasn’t properly dealt with by Carson, Hooper tucked away the chance that fell to him.

NUARRRRGHGSGSGEGAJDH.

https://www.facebook.com/sheffieldwednesday/videos/10158567698770223/

Instead of swearing, the second goal was greeted by what I can only describe as pure noise from me.

I went mental, and totally misjudged my celebration because I went to jump hug (the hug where you both jump and hug) with the person next to me, only to realise she had run off somewhere else in celebration, rude!

Thankfully I managed to settle myself and avoid nearly falling on my face.

What followed was watching a turn of fortune.

Although we were the better side, it didn’t stop Derby from having big chances.

Westwood also pulled off another great save, punting away a shot with a strong, strong hand.

At the other end, we had our chances as well, the big one being Fernando Forestieri, who had not long come into the game, charging through on goal only to, for some odd reason, slow down and try to play for a foul.

It was an odd decision and Forestieri is better than that.

Rhodes had been brought on as a straight swap for Hooper, and Semedo had come on to add defensive solidity, and when the board went up signalling 4 minutes, I felt kind of relieved that it wasn’t more.

It felt like more though, and even though Derby had run out of steam by then, I still felt like they were going to get that little bit of luck they always seem to get against us. They didn’t though, and we claimed all three points.

 

FULL TIME: Wednesday 2-1 Derby County

 

The 11 year hoodoo was dead and buried, it was finally over, Wednesday had beaten Derby!

I let out another roar, all be it one that was at least approaching something eligible.

It felt good to finally get that monkey off our back, and even better knowing that it could prove pivotal to our season.

Checking the full time scores, it was no surprise to see Fulham had won. However, I had to do a double take. What!? Burton Albion 2-1 Leeds United!?!?

The good fortune Gods really did feel they owed us one, then! It was a refreshing scoreline to see before leaving Hillsborough, especially once it dawned on me that we now only needed 1 more win to secure our playoff place.

Here comes the mushy part, I love this current Wednesday side.

I accept we haven’t played well a lot of the time this season, but this is the best Wednesday side I can remember watching, and I feel like it is on the verge of something special.

Walking home I realised that this could well be the only time I may ever see Wednesday in the Premier League and with that I need to take the rough and the smooth.

Who knows where we’ll end up next season, let’s just enjoy the rest of the season and hope we make it back to place we’re seemingly on our way to (we’re on our way, on our way…).

Oh and one final thing, we just beat Derby County guys. I know, I am as surprised as you are, UTO!

.OWLS ALIVE circliar yeller SPACE

.


Billy

Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive and @BillyFensterFen

Images: SWFC


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *