RAMBLE: Wednesday 4-1 Chesterfield

RAMBLE: Wednesday 4-1 Chesterfield

An early August evening cup fixture against a local side at home, a great way to start the home season.

So… In true Wednesday fashion we lost our opening league fixture, Twitter went into meltdown and the ever-reliable English summer weather meant it hammered it down.

I’d bought my ticket early and after the Preston performance (the less said about it the better) I was hoping we’d put on a show to bounce back straight away.

Having lived in Chesterfield for most of my life, I’m well aware of the irrational dislike that most “Town” fans have towards us.

A lot of my family on my mum’s side support Chesterfield and so I was glad that we’d drawn them in the cup. My cousin actually got a ticket to sit with us in the South Stand for this fixture and it was good to hear her perspective on the game and our team.

 

 

Living in Leeds, we made the short trip down the M1 and when we arrived at the pub we saw that the car-park was beginning to resemble a lake.

Inside the pub with a pint in hand, me and my cousin both quickly grumbled about Wednesday and Chesterfield’s results at the weekend but didn’t spent too long on the subject as we didn’t want to relive it.

Chesterfield have signed a few non-league players after spending most of their budget on Chris O’Grady’s wages and I was looking forward to seeing him back at Hillsborough, I’m sure he’ll be a strong player for them in League Two.

The team news came in and we’d named a strong side just as Carlos had suggested we would.

It’s great that we now have such a strong squad that even when we make changes for a cup game you still feel confident.

Lots of people have been calling for Abdi to be given a run in the team and he was named in the starting lineup alongside Jones in the centre of midfield.

I thought Abdi was pretty poor during the game and I certainly wouldn’t be starting him ahead of Bannan, Hutch or Lee when he’s back fit.

The only youngster named in the squad was Ashley Baker which disappointed me a little considering how well our U23s have been doing, I’d have liked to have seen one more such as Hirst, O’Grady or Penney named on the bench.

New look programme ticks all the right boxes

As we arrived at the Wednesdayite car-park it was even quieter than we expected, clearly Saturday’s performance and the weather had put a lot of people off, particularly those that might have payed on the gate.

I saw a Chesterfield fan that I used to play football with as we parked up and then we wandered into the ground after buying a programme.

Little shout-out to the designer of the programme this season.

I like the idea of the cover looking back to old matches and this edition was spot on – the dink goal against Manchester United in the League Cup final of ’91.

 

THE MATCH

 

Wednesday started brightly and within two minutes we were already playing with more rhythm and positivity than we did at Deepdale.

We dominated possession and Chesterfield were seemingly happy to sit deep and let us attack them.

Bannan was looking lively and Jack Hunt was bombing up and down the right hand side of the pitch brilliantly but we weren’t really creating any clear goal-scoring opportunities.

Fletcher got the best opportunity to open the scoring but he never really seemed able to connect with his shot properly, he had two attempts but Anyon, the Chesterfield keeper, managed to somehow keep both out and force the ball behind for a corner.

Time to group together

We were starting to think it was probably just a matter of time before we scored when Chesterfield managed to put an excellent cross into the box from the left-hand side and the referee blew his whistle for a penalty, Pudil deemed to have handled the ball.

It all seemed set for O’Grady to score on his return to Hillsborough but my cousin told me he wouldn’t be taking it, Kristian Dennis is their penalty taker and he stepped up and put the ball into the back of the net.

1-0 to Chesterfield on 38 minutes.

Perhaps Wildsmith will be disappointed not to have saved it as it wasn’t a great penalty and was quite central but despite being 1-0 down I wasn’t worried.

Sometimes when you go behind you think “well that’s the end of that then, we’re not gonna score two,” but not today, I was confident that it was only a matter of time before we scored after how well we’d been playing.

Plus, without being disrespectful, we were playing a side that we should be able to beat and come from behind against.

Chesterfield sat back again and let us attack them which worked brilliantly for us and allowed us to turn the scoreline around before half-time.

Hooper got the first goal with a brilliant striker’s finish, jabbing it past the keeper, a typical Hooper goal.

1-1 on 43 minutes.

Then, on the stroke of half-time, Hunt put a wonderful cross into the box and Fletcher rose highest at the back post to head it into the net.

Excellent, 2-1 to Wednesday at half-time and there could be no complaints.

 

HT: Wednesday 2-1 Chesterfield

 

A little moan about the new catering system now.

We spent the whole of half-time queuing for two bottles of Coke and we missed the second-half kicking off.

It wasn’t a big crowd, only eleven thousand in fact, and one of the big positives about being cashless should be that the service is quicker as they don’t have to bother with change.

It was terrible and really annoyed me, it’s not hard to get right and I won’t be queuing up on Saturday now if they can’t get it right when the crowd is so small!

The options on soft-drinks were either Coke, water or Fruit Shoot, poor.

That’s my grumble over; the second half was great.

Fletcher celebrates his first of the season

We controlled the game with Chesterfield causing us very little problems, when they did Joe Wildsmith did a super job of stopping them.

We always seemed to have so much time and space on the ball, a lot of that I’m sure is down to the gap in quality between ourselves and Chesterfield but if we can create some of that space on Saturday against QPR then we’ll be fine.

Bannan was everywhere (and nowhere baby), covering every inch of grass.

Me and my Dad had wondered whether Carlos might take him off at half-time but no, he clearly had faith in Barry’s fitness and he never stopped running.

On the 75th minute he got the goal that his play deserved as his picked the ball up inside our half and just charged down the centre of the pitch, avoiding a few Chesterfield players and one lunge at him.

He then rocketed the ball into the keeper’s top right corner and you could see how delighted he was with the goal.

3-1 Wednesday.

Hunt was fantastic and the Man Of The Match award would have been close between him and Bannan for me, he was that good that Chesterfield resulted to booting him everytime he ran at them as he was getting past them everytime.

Their kicking ended up seeing him withdrawn and Hutch went on to take his place. I think Carlos took Hunt off more to protect him with Saturday in mind and I’m hopeful that he wasn’t actually injured.

Hutch wasn’t on the pitch long before he got his goal, with him charging down the right hand side and after perhaps a lucky bounce, the ball fell at his feet again and he smashed it into the net.

4-1 Wednesday.

The scoreline at 4-1 didn’t look bad at all, nor was it overly flattering.

Chesterfield had played with two big strikers up front in O’Grady and Ugwu but I was disappointed by how ineffective they were, particularly O’Grady.

Chesterfield are going to have to improve to start picking up some results in the league.

Hutch dons the gloves

There was still time for O’Grady to leave his mark though, unfortunately it would be on Wildsmith’s face as they collided inside the penalty area.

A stretcher was quickly called onto the pitch for Wildsmith, thankfully he wouldn’t need it and was able to walk off.

At the sign of Wildsmith being unable to continue, Sammy Hutchinson ran over to the bench with a big grin on his face and asked for Dawson’s shirt and gloves as we had made all three of our substitutions.

You could see how giddy Hutch was getting and he couldn’t wait to get the keeper shirt on.

After scoring his goal, Hutchinson managed to keep a clean-sheet for the final 5-10 minutes of the game – job done.

He didn’t have a save to make, which perhaps he might be a little disappointed by, but he saw the ball plenty of times and was confident enough to pass it around with the defenders at the back.

He was enjoying himself that much he even had time to respond to the “Sammy give us a wave!” chants coming from the Kop.

The full-time whistle went with the score at 4-1 and we’d definitely been entertained on a miserable and wet August evening.

Yes, we were playing a team two divisions below us but you can only beat what is in front of you and we’d done so comfortably.

Remember that last year we didn’t manage to get past Cambridge in the cup.

Hopefully this win will have given the players some confidence and those fans that didn’t come along will be more tempted to get down to Hillsborough on Saturday now.

After the game I spoke to my Chesterfield supporting mate that I used to play football with, he said he was really impressed with our passing and attacking football and all of the people that he was there with all agreed that they’d definitely enjoy watching our style of play all season.

Better than Adam Le Fondre

He confessed to being a little worried about how poor they look at the moment but I’m hopeful that O’Grady will come good for them.

I don’t think they can expect to be competing for immediate promotion back to League One but they’ll be alright once their players all get used to each other.

That’s it then, we’re through to the second round of the Carabao Cup, whatever that is.

The EFL Cup is a much easier name, almost as good as the League Cup – imagine that.

I’ve never even seen a Carabao energy drink in a shop, I’m not convinced they really exist, it might just be a myth.

 

 

So we move onto Saturday and Carlos has a tough decision to make regarding who makes his starting eleven.

I’m sure he’d much rather have this tough choice, but I don’t envy him.

The critics will be out and saying so and so should be playing, no matter who he selects.

We’ve got so many quality options that there’s always going to be somebody unhappy, surely people can see it’s better to be in this position than where we’ve been in the past.

Bannan lashes it home

Personally, I’d go with Hooper and Fletcher up top on Saturday after how they played in the cup.

I’d chuck Forestieri on the wing as that’s where he’s best, despite what’s been said recently in the press.

Perhaps putting him behind the strikers with a diamond formation in midfield could work.

It’s great to have options and it’ll be even better when we beat QPR on Saturday.

 

 

 

Charlie
Owls Alive
EMAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @Owlsalive and @THEsharpey

Images: EFL, SWFC and author’s own.


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