RAMBLE | Wednesday 3-0 Leeds

RAMBLE | Wednesday 3-0 Leeds

Derby days.

These are the games of football the fans live for. When the fixtures come out at the start of the season, everybody looks for their biggest rivals. Leeds United aren’t our biggest rivals, but for me they make the top two.

I’ve never been less excited. Last week I couldn’t wait to get down to Hillsborough.

The game was all I thought about all week.

This week couldn’t have been more different. I hardly thought about the Leeds game, I didn’t really want to. The results against Sheffield United and Birmingham completely knocked the stuffing out of me.

Maybe I’m being too dramatic. Either way I was up bright and early to get down for a second early kick off in a row (cheers Sky).

 

PRE MATCH

 

My parents are away, a holiday booked pre-fixtures meant they missed two home games, Sheffield United and Leeds. I’m not sure my dad will ever forgive my mum for this horrendous error. This disaster meant that I was heading down to the game on my own.

I set off and parked at my sister’s house. It says a lot about the fans’ enthusiasm that my sister had also pied the game off, choosing work instead.

As I trudged towards the ground, I was thinking more about the fact I had to pick up tickets for the Bolton game and pop to Lidl on the way home than I was about the game. The Bolton tickets were booked on Wednesday morning, before the Birmingham result. I felt a bit less excited on Wednesday night.

Destination: Megastore

My first dilemma was whether to stick to the usual pre-match chippy, or opt for a more humble meal deal from a supermarket. Fearing that breaking the usual rituals would curse us to defeat, I simply had to have chips.

I tucked in and read the line-up on my phone. Barring Westwood missing through injury, it was the same team as the Sheffield derby. What?!

This was either brilliance or madness from Carlos.

The same players had produced one of the most turgid displays I can remember watching in a huge game just a week earlier. But those players also had a point to prove, they were looking to redeem themselves.

I didn’t have high hopes but either way, I dodged the Leeds fans, grabbed a programme and made my way to the bridge to meet my cousin Fliss and her young daughter Connie. After some discussion about Connie not finishing her pie, we headed in, none of us particularly excited.

 

THE MATCH

 

My excitement didn’t really lift when I got inside. Hi Ho Silver Lining was cut short because the ref wanted to get going. Great.

Leeds started the brighter.

Sáiz quickly established himself as their good player, which made him a great target for Jones to try and foul. Luckily our West Yorkshire neighbours didn’t look particularly sharp.

You could tell they were hammered last time out at Cardiff.

We showed a bit more promise when Reach hit a shot from distance following a neat corner. The keeper looked a bit dodgy, I thought he should’ve caught it. Happy days.

Not long after we won a free kick out wide, near half-way. I was wondering why Lees and Van Aken weren’t going forward. Wallace clearly wondered the same thing and gestured until they did.

A great ball in from Wallace found Lees.

Lees headed down into the famous corridor of uncertainty. Mr Dodgy in goal hesitated, Hooper didn’t.

GET IN!

Hooper celebrates with Fletcher

Of course it was Hooper, everything good about Wednesday seems to come through him at the moment.

The game changed. Leeds were rattled. For the rest of the half we absolutely battered them. Wallace swung a free kick just past the post.

Soon after, Kieran Lee rounded off a superb team move with an excellent finish but the flag was raised. A quick check of Twitter tells me he’s absolutely miles on.

Palmer: welcome to the game

Quick aside here – how bad are the linesmen in this league? Two goals in two games incorrectly disallowed simply isn’t acceptable.

Jack Hunt was subbed off with an injury after an excellent start to the game, with Liam Palmer taking his place.

He was immediately involved: taking a throw underneath the North Stand who gave the Worksop player a terrific reception.

He paid the fans back ten-fold, rounding off some lovely team play with a whipped cross to the back post.

Fletcher, who bullied his centre-halves all game, found an excellent knock down across goal, for guess who to make it two.

HOOPER!

And that’s 2-0!

It was no more than we deserved: in fact, Fletcher himself steered a header wide from all of five yards, with Mr Dodgy well-beaten.

Leeds simply hadn’t turned up – but 4-0 would not have flattered The Owls – who bore little resemblance to the ghosts that took to the field against the other United.

 

HT: Wednesday 2 – 0 Leeds

 

The half time whistle went and I was both excited and nervous. What a half, we’d been all over them since the goal!

I couldn’t help but be concerned.

Leeds are a good team up near the top of the table, and you could be sure they’d come out fighting second half. I hoped that disallowed goal didn’t come back to haunt us.

I needn’t have worried, Leeds didn’t recover. And didn’t we let them know about it:

“Come to see the Wednesday, you’ve only come to see the Wednesday, come to see the Wednesdaaaay…”

“…in your Cup Final, 2-0, in your Cup Final, 2-0”

The Leeds fans returned the odes in good spirit, joining in as per with the anthem of the day:

“Leeeeeeeeeds, Leeds are falling apart… again”

They were rattled, frustrated, and frankly rubbish. A shot from Lasogga rattled the post early on but other than that they barely tested us.

The second half was a blur of positivity, we were playing well and Leeds weren’t. Jansson went off injured, Phillips nearly did too which would’ve left them down to ten men.

At the heart of everything: Kieran Lee

Some of the football was simply stunning: the one touch passes, the movement from the front two, the lung-bursting runs from the full-back.

Bannan ran the show from midfield, with Wallace and Lee his able deputies.

Hooper had a few half-chances to complete his hat-trick: slipping at the vital moment when a perfectly placed cross from Fletcher needed the slightest touch, crashing a rocket off the bar after side-stepping Phillips, screwing a shot just wide.

Bannan struck the post when he really should’ve scored, and fired over when it looked easier to hit the target.

On 80 minutes, the ball fell to the edge of the box  after a poor clearance/pass from O’Kane. I expected Phillips to clear but instead a blue shirt flew in and rattled it into the bottom corner!

GET IN! What a goal! Game over!

I actually thought it was David Jones at first. It made more sense that it was Kieran Lee.

Hooper hit the bar before the final whistle went. My friend watching on Sky reckoned the keeper saved it.

 

FT Wednesday 3 – 0 Leeds

 

What a result!

If Carlos wanted a reaction, he got one.

That was as good a performance as I’ve seen since we beat Leeds 6-0 a few years ago.

It wouldn’t have flattered us if it’d been five or six today.

Fans’ non-favourites like Jones and Reach did themselves huge favours by playing well but Hooper, Lee and Bannan were the real stars.

A performance worth celebrating

Shoutout to Wildsmith for being more composed than Westwood has been all season.

I headed to the club shop suddenly really excited about the Bolton tickets and spotted Sam Hutchinson rushing off, looking dapper as always.

On the way back it was Chansiri who popped out. He always seems to be buzzing about the place, which I love.

My Lidl decision proved to be absolutely terrible as I sat in traffic for what felt like hours.

I felt better about it when Lee walked right by my window.

In the end though, I left Hillsborough a much happier man than I arrived.

With rock bottom Bolton, off colour Derby, struggling Barnsley and newly-promoted Millwall after the international break, we really need to kick on and put things right.

The Leeds game is only a start, but as good as we could’ve possibly hoped for.

UTO.

Matt
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: owlsalive@gmail.com
Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @MattRFez

Images: SWFC, unless stated


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