RAMBLE: Cardiff City 1-1 Wednesday

RAMBLE: Cardiff City 1-1 Wednesday

It seemed like months ago since our last disappointing away result at Burton and as my alarm went off at 07:00 I was looking forward to the day ahead.

After two consecutive victories and with Cardiff struggling in their last couple (manager of the month curse?), we had reason to be feeling confident as we went on our European away day.

This was a proper away day too, I left the house at 8am and didn’t get home until just before 10:30pm.

A trip down to Cardiff always reminds me of that brilliant May day in 2005 and it’ll always be a fond place to visit for me.

Our journey down to Wales went ok and we got to the ground about an hour before kickoff.

Inside the ground I had one of the best pies I’ve had at a match in a long time – a beautiful steak and ale pie.

From the outside I thought it looked a bit overcooked but it was absolutely full of gravy, perfect. Pie and a pint for £7 too, which always seems a bargain inside a football stadium.

Memories of 2005

The team news came out and there were no real surprises, we’d guessed Pudil might come in with Reach moving further forward.

It was Wallace who dropped to the bench this time and it could have been any one of a few players, Fletcher for one as he seems to get more tape on his knee every game.

With Reach on the left this meant that Bannan moved back into the middle alongside Jones, and Kieran Lee went onto the right.

Lee can do a job pretty much anywhere but I always feel like we lose some of his creativity when he’s out wide.

 

THE MATCH

 

As the match started I was wondering how long it’d be before our mate Colin got a mention; we didn’t have to wait long as I counted just 56 seconds on the clock before the first rendition of “Warnock’s a ******!”

Lees: up to the task

We were playing well and keeping hold of the ball.

At times we seemed a little too confident/relaxed when we had the ball in a defensive area and took a little too long before playing it, allowing Cardiff to close us down.

Thankfully our players knew what they were doing and had enough quality to not get caught out.

Tom Lees found himself with lots of time on a few occasions, he seemed almost unsure what to do after carrying the ball forward and then made the wrong decision a couple of times or took too long to release it – no criticism from me though, he’s not used to being allowed to carry the ball forward and get into these positions.

Joost was playing well and the fans were showing their appreciation in the stands as we made plenty of noise throughout the game.

I’m hoping that Joost just improves with every game as he’s got the build and appears to have the quality of a great ball-playing centreback.

In fact he played a huge part in the opening goal, instead of looking to pump the ball forward he took advantage of the open space in front of him, charging forward with the ball before playing it out onto the left for Adam Reach.

Reach then put a fantastic cross into the box which Hooper met to head into the bottom corner.

1-0, Hooper!

Hooper!!! (Image: The Star)

We went crazy in the away end because we knew it was no less than we deserved.

I’d just been starting to wonder whether we were going to take advantage of our positive play as there hadn’t been many chances but sure enough the main man Hooper was there.

As I jumped up into the air to celebrate I managed to pull a muscle in my back (it’s still hurting me now on Monday, especially when I’m in bed!) but it didn’t matter because we were in the lead!

A little bit of bouncing to prove I wasn’t a Blade really did wonders for the back muscle too.

When the halftime whistle went there could be no complaints from the Cardiff fans, we’d played really well and deserved to be in front.

It would have been nice if we could have created more opportunities to try to make the most of our positive opening half – they’ve been a rarity under Carlos – but we were definitely pleased with the first forty-five minutes.

The one worry was that we’d sit back in the second half…

 

HT: Cardiff 0-1 Wednesday

 

Almost straight from kickoff in the second half it was clear that Cardiff had stepped up a gear.

It didn’t help when they got a couple of early corners to help wake their supporters up and they tried to make a bit of noise – for a team that has started the season in the form that they’ve done their attendance was pretty awful.

We should have carried on where we’d left off in the first half but we seemed to invite Cardiff on to us, something that always makes me nervous, particularly with how we’ve defended this season.

To be fair to our defence they did a superb job; Tom Lees and Joost van Aken were exceptional and Pudil and Hunt hardly put a foot wrong.

Joost: top class again

They did a brilliant job of keeping Mendez-Laing and Zohore quiet.

Hunt wasn’t as effective going forward as he has been in recent games, but this was probably down to him feeling like he had to sit back a bit more with Lee in front of him rather than Wallace – perhaps instructions from Carlos.

We did manage to create a couple of opportunities, especially on the counter attack down the left hand side, with Reach having another great game.

I’ve been critical of Reach in the past but he seems to be improving game by game this season; long may it continue.

Our best chance of the second half fell to Fletcher as Joost played a fantastic ball forward to him.

Fletch brought it down well but then seemed to be a little off balance as he went towards the keeper and then hit it high and wide.

If he’d have taken another step he could have perhaps won a penalty but that’s all ifs and buts now.

I was really surprised by how long Carlos kept Fletcher and Hooper on the field, they both seemed to be knackered after about an hour and with the way we were playing it was a game crying out for Nuhiu to help hold the ball up field.

Big chance for 2-0

Nuhiu did eventually come on and more than played his part defensively, winning a good number of headers as we clung on to our lead.

With time ticking away the fourth official held up the board to show that we’d have an extra four minutes of added time.

We’d defended exceptionally and we were all just willing the clock to speed up as it ticked away in slow-motion. My stopwatch indicated we’d played just over three minutes when we gave away a freekick in a deadly position, right on the edge of the D.

The strength in depth that Cardiff now have at their disposal had been evident as they’d brought on Feeney, Ward and Tomlin as substitutes in the second half.

Bamba: prodded home the equaliser

Tomlin was one of the two players stood over the freekick and it was struck well, it flew over the wall and Westwood leapt across to parry it away…

Unfortunately our defenders weren’t quick enough to get there and Sol Bamba was there to apply the finishing touch.

1-1, Bamba.

It was heartbreak.

It was the type of thing that seems to have happened hundreds of times for all lifelong Wednesdayites, an almost inevitable “here we go again” feeling as we gave away the freekick.

It really was gutting and extremely hard to take after how well we’d defended and played overall.

If we’d have managed to hang on and claim the three points we’d have all been saying what a perfect away performance it was.

There was barely time for the game to be restarted before the ref blew for full-time.

 

FT: Cardiff 1-1 Wednesday

 

If you’d have offered us all a point before kickoff then I’m sure the vast majority of Wednesdayites would have gratefully accepted and if it had been us that had scored an equaliser with the last kick of the game then we’d be ecstatic.

However, after leading the game for over fifty minutes it almost feels like a defeat. I tried not to let it get to me as we left the ground and focused on the positives as there were plenty.

Our good friend Warnock summarised it pretty perfectly post match, “Wednesday looked like they sat back after getting the goal, but if they’d had a go at us we were vulnerable, so I was delighted to get to half-time at 1-0. They’ll have the measure of most sides between the boxes.”

We move on now and as we head into the Sheffield derby on Sunday, we’re unbeaten since we failed to turn up to the first match of the season at Deepdale.

We all know that United will be fired up for it at the weekend and let’s hope our players are too, we know we’ve got the quality to beat them if we play our game.

They rested a few “injured” players against Norwich which saw them fall to their first home defeat in a long time, it shows the amount of importance that Wilder is placing on the game.

I hope that Carlos utilises Bullen’s experiences against our neighbours and that people like lifelong Owls fan Dave Jones emphasise how much this game means to the supporters.

It’s going to be a long old week as we build up to the match but it’ll be an even longer three months before we play them again if we let them get the better of us.

Let’s get Hillsborough rocking, we know what kind of atmosphere we can create and how it can spur the players on – think Arsenal, think Brighton… but crank it up to eleven.

 

 

 

Charlie
Owls Alive
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TWITTER: @OwlsAlive and @THEsharpey


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