RAMBLE | Wednesday 2-1 Brentford

RAMBLE | Wednesday 2-1 Brentford

Some night matches are magical.

Some of my best memories of supporting Sheffield Wednesday have been at evening matches; early memories of standing at the front of an uncovered Kop, face pressed against the fencing to get closer to the players; the League Cup semi against Chelsea and Wilson’s blistering volley.

What about another League Cup venture with Hamshaw putting the icing on the cake against Watford? Or Kieran Lee all but booking our place in the Playoff final a couple of years ago?

So here we are in mid September, autumn knocking on the door, an uninspiring yet improved start on previous seasons, and a midweek match against Brentford.

I’ll admit I found it difficult getting excited about this.

It had been a busy day and I was at work until gone five.

 

PRE MATCH

 

With the wife working, I’d still got the kids to sort out, shop for tea, cook it, eat it, get the daughter to her Uncle’s to babysit before even thinking about looking forward to a football match.

Storms forecast…

It had been a day of glorious sunshine, but Paul Hudson had been warning us for a couple of days now that Storm Alene was about to batter us with a windy and rainy night. Brilliant.

I remembered Jon’s Forest ramble and his umming and erring over wearing his big coat… well this was definitely a big coat scenario.

I dug mine out and then set the boy about looking for his.

It was then that I remembered. Being a typical 9 year old boy with no other pre-occupations in life than football, and with all the personal responsibility of a 19 year old on a stag do, he’d managed to lose his winter coat in May.

With summer ahead we’d not bothered getting a new one; he’d got a closet full of windcheaters and hoodies. Bugger. Now we had to factor in a stop at TK Maxx on the way down to Hillsborough.

Luckily he isn’t fussy with clothes, we’d found a coat within 3 minutes of walking in the store.

He was very pleased with it because it had those inner sleeve type things that have thumb holes to form some kind of half mitten.

So, we’d been fed and coited up.

Time for the pub. I ummed and erred myself a bit, this time whether to go to the pub first or straight to the ground to sample the new Wednesday Pale.

It was 6:45 and decided to chance the pub first.

Turns out I was thirsty and I’d supped up by 7 so we had a walk down to the ground for a pint there. It was just me and Tom today. Dad on holiday, Grandad not a fan of night matches… especially those in the wind and rain.

 

THE MATCH

 

I’d asked Tom earlier what he reckoned the team would be. He slowly and methodically started naming his side before realising after 7 players that it was ‘the same as on Saturday”.

I mentioned that there were a few players carrying knocks, and the fact the Lee had only just returned. I reckoned there’d be at least a couple of changes.

But when the news popped through a few eyebrows were raised. An unchanged side? Really? Carlos? Unchanged? With very little recovery time? And four players a doubt? Surely he must be concerned that all will not be ok in the moment of the game, absolutely for sure?

But no… no such worries apparently.

We bought a programme and a pint.

That Wednesday beer ain’t half bad, a sound addition to the matchday offer…

Get Bere’s pork sarnies back and we’re on to a winner; and I’m loving the programmes this year.

At £3 they’re actually decent value for money, which is a bit of a luxury around our club at the moment what with well publicised match ticket prices, full price old kits still on sale, and the recent announcement of dream scene prints being available at JUST £850!

We took our seats to see the final stages of the warm ups, with the Bees shooting practise directly in front of us going some way to explain how they sit top of the league in terms of attempts at goal, yet near the bottom of it for goals scored, their little ginger number 15 getting particularly infuriated with his inability to strike a ball cleanly. Bodes well?

With warm ups over and a late flurry of people taking to their seats, the heart beat of the Waterfront led the players to the field and the rain began, creating a slick and zippy surface.

One of the pre match highlight reruns on the big screen had shown our 4 – 0 win against the Bees a couple of seasons ago with the pitch looking a right state. No such problems tonight.

It was a lethargic start to the game.

Carlos had warned us in the build up that this wouldn’t be easy, and Bees fans on twitter seemed confident that they’d come good sooner or later.

As I’ve mentioned, all the stats suggested that someone, soon, is in for a hammering from them.

Indeed, Brentford had all the early pressure.

They pressed well, closed down, won second balls, used their wingers well and weren’t shy of a shot. Wednesday looked tired, shell shocked and at times a little panicked and disorganised as Brentford looked to take control of the game.

Same team?

And it didn’t take them long to do so. The Bees had already had a freekick at the edge of the box that had Westwood screaming at his defence.

We could hear him from where we were sat, which says as much about his displeasure as it does about how quiet the owls fans were.

Nothing came of that, but the Londoners were soon in front.

A cleared corner dropping outside the area for Yennaris to lash home.

From where I was sat it looked like it got a deflection, from the TV angle it looked as though Westwood had made a hash of it… either way it was in the back of the net.

As the Brentford players celebrated, Westwood and Joost were complaining at the linesman.

Had the ball deflected off the heel of an offside player? Apparently not. The goal was given, and to be honest it had been coming.

This may have been the same side that played on Saturday but it didn’t look like it.

Another good game despite going behind

Wednesday were flat and looked unfit. The usual partnerships didn’t seem to be clicking.

We were sitting very deep, allowing their back line to play it around while our forwards sat back in midfield instead of closing down. They were obviously following instructions, as if they did what the crowd wanted them to and pressed from the front (exactly what Brentford wanted us to do) it would open up the space for them to exploit the midfield and zip yet more through balls for their lone forward to run on to.

Brentford seem a decent team, and clearly have confidence that they are in a false position at the moment. Maybe this would be their night.

With the scoreboard clock now frozen at 45:00 and many fans in the queue to drown their half time sorrows, an unlikely equaliser lifted the mood.

A flat diagonal ball from Reach found Hooper’s feet and a sublime first touch took two defenders out of the game a clever dink over the keeper saw the ball slowly bouncing towards goal.

Come on…. Make it…. Get over the line…

It was taking an age…

Scrambled in

Hooper had declined to make sure of the goal by following it in and for a moment it looked like a bad decision. A couple of Bees players got in front of him and scrambled the ball on to the post and away, leaving them both prostate and tangled in the net.

Thankfully the loose ball landed straight at Hooper’s feet who finally made sure of the goal by prodding it in to the net. His celebration was muted, maybe suggesting he thought he’d cocked it up until his lucky break allowed him to finish the job off. It was just what we needed.

The proverbial team-talk-changing-goal.

 

HT Wednesday 1-1 Brentford

 

Half time came and went and Wednesday came back out with what I’d like to call renewed purpose, but that would suggest they had some in the first half.

It was what we are used to isn’t it? Poor first halves followed by resurgent second halves.

This was more like it. Jones was snuffing out Bees attacks and Lees and van Aken were confident in walking the ball out of defence before pinging long diagonals out to the wing.

Some tidy interplay between the front five helped us find our way in to the box a few times and Reach and Hunt were again getting forward well.

Lee: terrific again

A corner from Lee was headed out and fell to an unmarked Jones at a similar distance from which he rifled in a thunderbolt against Sunderland. It was on his wrong side though, and dropping slowly.

The crowd encouraged the shot but “shoooooooooooooot” soon turned to “aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh” as Jones sliced his shot high, wide and not so handsome.

It was soon Rhodes o’clock and Jordan was introduced for his customary half hour replacing the hard working Fletcher, who had had a few great touches in the second half.

Wednesday continued to probe, like a moth attracted to the floodlights, battering away and being repelled. The breakthrough finally came… Another inswinging Lee corner was very deep and was nodded all the way back across goal, and was met again by another Wednesday head, nodding it back into the mix.

Come on… somebody… Wallace… Yeeeeessss!

Relief! This must do it.

Yesssssss

A glace up at the clock soon made me realise this wasn’t over yet. What would Wednesday do?

Go for the jugular or shut up shop… they did the latter. An occasional foray forward led to half chances, but soon Hooper was replaced with Butterfield leaving Rhodes isolated and chasing his own flick ons.

Brentford were desperate and found another gallon in their tank.

They were splitting our defence with throughball after throughball.

The Owls fans going beserk at the linesman in front of the North stand, convinced that every ball was offside.

They weren’t though, they played the line very well, with Reach, maybe needing more time working on holding the line now that he seems to be first choice left back, failing to step out and playing their man on.

With injury time announced surely it was just a case of keeping tight and concentrating. But a nasty injury to Dalsgaard prolonged proceedings.

It was a long wait as he was collared and boarded, oxygen administered, and carefully removed from the field of play.

Now we just had to see out the last couple of minutes of injury time against 10 men. We still made hard work of it though with the final kick of the game, a shot from Brentford’s lively number 9 grazing the post.

We’d done it.

 

FT Wednesday 2-1 Brentford

 

By the skin of our teeth and far from pretty, but another win nonetheless.

Up to sixth and hanging on to the coat tails of our lofty Yorkshire neighbours. This was now 10 points from 4 games… promotion form you might argue.

We shuffled out of the stadium content with the result, in to the squally Sheffield night…the weather doing little to dispel the “Grim up North” myth as the hundred or so Brentford fans glumly boarded their two coaches for the long ride home.

A couple of big games coming up at early pace setters Cardiff, led by arch nemesis Warnock, before welcoming his former charges from the wrong end of Sheffield for the first derby in 6 years… two games that may go some way to defining our season.

OWLS ALIVE circliar yeller SPACE

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Joe

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

Images: SWFC and Joe


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