Ramble: Derby -v- Wednesday

Ramble: Derby -v- Wednesday

I must confess I’ve only been the once before. I afforded myself the luxury of a lie-in but didn’t do a lot but think about the game.

I couldn’t decide if I was excited or nervous. We’d booked these tickets before the Bolton fiasco, so both my parents and I were marginally less excited now.

Another defeat as embarrassing as last week would’ve been disastrous. The fans were turning quickly on Carlos Carvalhal, and a win was necessary to help stop that.

As we set off my Dad and I quickly set to discussing nothing but football for the entire journey.

We covered the number of games we’d seen this season, or were going to see shortly. I missed the first part o f the season living in the South, and my parents somehow managed to have a holiday when we played United and Leeds.

Still, with the away days we were racking the numbers back up.

We pondered the line-up and both decided we’d like to see Loovens and Westwood brought in to try and sure up the defence with some experience. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I do wonder why Venancio can’t get a game. In my mind he’s got the talent of Van Aken with the organisational abilities of Loovens, having been captain at his previous club. But realistically he’s probably got neither.

A brief explanation of Chris Wilder’s annoyingly clever tactical systems to my Dad fell on deaf ears as we neared the ground and considered where we could eat. I’d been told of a good Harvester that would have the early kick off on as well, but fast food seemed a more likely option.

We reached the topic that’s impossible to avoid, the shirts.

AAAR MUCH?

A quick google told me that Sheffield United and Barnsley both charge £45 for their home shirts, making ours a decisive rip-off at £59. Luckily, surely nobody will actually be paying £59, given they’re a tenner cheaper before December.

I’m a rare adult in that I still like to get the new shirts, but I definitely won’t be paying £59.

I love Chansiri and everything he’s put into this club, but it’s clear they’ve got the pricing extremely wrong here.

My Dad works in the clothing industry, and tells me the delay is actually pretty easy and common among newcomers, but the price really ought to have reflected the extreme lateness and been about £30.

Despite taking a wrong turn on the way, we eventually found where we meant to park and headed off to the stadium.

We did in the end opt for fast food.

Burger King was packed with Wednesday and Derby fans alike, so seemed a sensible option. I held a table while my parents got food, which was a huge mistake as they ordered regular burgers instead of the XL version.

Worth it though for my Dad trying to use the soft drinks dispenser, where he was helped by a Derby fan who clearly had a better understanding of the fascinating technology.

WESTWOOD; Good to have him back

The lineup came out and the big news was Westwood and Loovens were back in, brilliant! With Van Aken looking shaky, surely this would help sort us out across the back.

I pondered my away record, which has a dismal win percentage, and thought about our slim chances when I saw the brilliant side Derby were able to field. Huddlestone and Curtis Davies are amazing players at this level.

The security at Derby fascinated me, I was patted down twice after they’d checked I was over 18, and it seemed like everyone got the same treatment.

This health and safety awareness was reinforced when they blared the fire alarm before kick-off so we’d know what it was if it went off.

I was genuinely amazed by the behaviour before the game. Three sides of the ground wave flags or raise black and white cards. It’s really puzzling to see grown men waving flags around, and the only word that springs to mind is tinpot.

At least the mascot doesn’t do it anymore.

The Match

The game got underway and about 3 minutes later was over. Vydra sidestepped Loovens and fell to the floor having felt a light breeze on his back.

From my angle it looked like a dive, or at the least ludicrously soft, and to make matters worse Loovens was sent off. I’m not going to debate the rules but this new double jeopardy thing seems confusing to say the least to me.

Loovens is back; blink and you missed it

Vydra tucked away the penalty and the game already seemed lost.

Oddly Fox moved to centre half, instead of Van Aken coming on, but to be fair he did a good job.

Derby got through on goal repeatedly, with Wednesday clearly rattled and the fans clearly frustrated.

Lawrence hit the post with Lee on hand to clear out for a throw.

Eventually we settled down and managed to battle in the game a bit more. The frustration was watching Derby pass around freely when we lost the ball, as we didn’t have the manpower to chase everything.

Adam Reach will have felt the extra man the most, as he was left to cover left back and left midfield all by himself, as well as being mindful of having an unnatural centre half behind him.

Regardless, many fans clearly felt he should’ve been bombing up and down like a maniac, and there was a bit of booing when he passed the ball inside to Bannan instead of rinsing half the Derby side and whipping a worldie in the box.

He responded with a swing of the arm to the fans, which was met with abuse on social media. I actually think good on him, the lad gets so much stick considering he’s been one of our most creative players this season (the most assists in our squad this season).

Not long after Hooper had half a chance but didn’t shoot, allowing Davies to come back and tackle him. It seemed to me like Davies took the man before the ball, but we settled for a corner which Fletcher headed agonisingly wide.

Then the moment that really wound me up. Fletcher was picked out with a ball over the top, brought it down beautifully, only to be nudged as he tried to pull the trigger.

He hit the floor. The referee waved play on.

Surely there was as much contact as on Vydra. It should’ve been a penalty and a red.

The referee later admitted he thought it was a foul but a bit soft. Sorry but that’s not really the point is it.

The inconsistency and ineptitude of referees at this level is baffling, and to give two drastically different decisions for such similar incidents in the same game is ridiculous.

Half Time

Either way, half time, and the lads had done really well to put a good shift in and stay in the game after the early set back.

Hard Times call for a real Plan B

As I nipped to the loo I heard my favourite (not) classics, “we need pace up top”, “no plan B”.

I’m not sure how pace would’ve helped when we were down to 10 men pretty much from the off. Some people just like to have a go.

I don’t hear much in the concourses anymore other than complaints. But it was better than the previous week, probably as there wasn’t a huge expectation because of who we played.

A replay of the Loovens foul was shown on the TV, where it looked decidedly outside the area.

That didn’t go down well.

Second Half

The second half started as the first had ended. We battled but didn’t see much of the ball.

The man next to me said he couldn’t understand the infighting going on further round the corner, then proceeded to tell me Carlos had to go.

Being a Carlos In man, I kept my mouth shut.

My Dad thought Joao would stretch Derby a bit more, and clearly Carlos agreed as Lucas appeared from the bench not long after, replacing Fletcher.

He showed some great touches early on and we seemed quite dangerous, but didn’t really threaten Carson in goal.

As the half wore on Westwood made some cracking saves to keep us in it.

I thought Matias should come on and we should go for it, try to grab the draw in the last 10. Matias did come on as the management must’ve thought the same.

Minutes later from a counter, Russell picked out Johnson who tucked home for Derby.

S**t.

That backfired, as it was always very likely to.

The Derby fans next to us suddenly piped up, having been utterly silent for the first 85 minutes.

A whiff of smoke hit me as a smoke bomb flew just past me, and some coins clattered a few rows back.

I’m never sure why fans throw things at each other, it seems a bit pointless. And strange coming from the same grown men who were bombing flags around like children before the game.

Full Time

Well it was a frustrating affair, but surely not the manager’s fault? You can’t legislate for your captain getting sent off after 5 minutes.

In? Out? Shake it all about?

Some fans had a go at Westwood when he came to give his shirt to the kids, which he met with some calm reasoning that saw him condemned on Twitter as well. It seems clear though that the squad are very much behind the manager, given the way Westwood stuck up for him.

Often when fans turn on a manager, the players are with them, but you really get the feeling the lads are more behind Carlos than the fans right now. Not many came over to thank them at Bolton or Derby, maybe not keen on the chants “we’re f**king s**t”.

On the walk back to the car, most Derby fans seemed very relieved, they definitely realised they got lucky with the decisions. Most were very impressed with our spirited performance.

The fans impatience does seem to be becoming a problem. There’s a real divide between the Carlos Out and Carlos In camps at the moment.

I’m very much Carlos In as I really don’t know who I’d want instead. Most seem to want Karanka, maybe forgetting it took him 3 years of dire football to get Boro promoted. I’d rather stick with Carlos.

On the other hand, it seems the only way to reunite the fanbase now would be to sack him, and each defeat just makes it worse. I hate that it’s become like this.

I just hope we batter Barnsley and Millwall, with the playoffs only 5 points away, things might not seem so bad if we manage it.

But then again, every game I keep saying the same, “if we just win this one…”

3 points next Saturday will cheer me up.

UTO.
Matt.
EMail: admin@owlsalive.com
Twitter: @owlsalive @MattRFez
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