RAMBLE | Wednesday 0-0 Bristol City

RAMBLE | Wednesday 0-0 Bristol City

Sat in the Horse and Jockey, our usual pre-match haunt, I was asked “When’s your next rant then?”

“Actually, I don’t know.”

A quick check on my phone at the fixture list and noticed nobody was down for a ramble today. Apathy maybe? Or people just too busy? Anyway I volunteered as I knew I’d got nothing on Sunday morning.

A few weeks ago on the way to the match we’d been chatting football and Tom had said how Bristol City reminded him of Wednesday a couple of seasons ago.

Richard and I exchanged bemused glances. “Go on Tom… explain”.

“Well, nobody expects them to do well and they keep getting good results and they’re in the playoffs. And they’re through to the next round of the cup”

We tormented him for the rest of the day, calling him a closet Brizzzal fan.

Since then though I’d kept an eye on them. He was right.

They kept on picking up great results and cementing a place in the playoff berths… the boy could be on to something.

One thing was for certain, this wasn’t going to be an easy game. Riding on the crest of a wave of an incredible run of two wins on the bounce, the international break came at the wrong time for Wednesday.

The much touted “momentum” lost.

Anyway, back to the pub.

The smell of beef stew greeted us as we walked in. As part of their pre-match experience the pub are having a little play with different offerings, and this one went down a storm.

Heavenly stew

Home-made Yorkshire puddings, a generous helping of stew, lashings of Hendo’s and a pint of “Owls” for a fiver.

Get In My Belly!

When I got to the table Richard had challenged Tom to a game of London or not London, naming teams for Tom to have a guess at… Millwall… Brentford… Accrington Stanley…Lewisham… Hendon…. Leyton Orient… Fleetwood… all answered with wild stabs in the dark.

Then we mentioned MK Dons. “London?” he guesses.

Tom was then treated to a chapter of football history about how Wimbledon had been relegated from the Premier League the same time as Wednesday, and how their unfortunate path to administration led to them being franchised out… name changed… kit changed to match their owner’s company branding and the whole club – including the family silver – moved to a newly built stadium 80 miles from home.

Now we may have our gripes about the running of the club, I myself have been quite vocal on the matter, but at least Chansiri hasn’t changed our kit to red, renamed us Bangkok Owls and moved us to York.

A bit of perspective helps at times.

 

PRE-MATCH

 

Talk turned to the match in hand.

Carlos fielding an unchanged side to the one that beat Villa. Music to many fans ears, but I wasn’t so sure.

Unchanged from Villa

Bristol City are a completely different animal. Big at the back and strong up top.

You would hope that our best available 11 would be able to beat them, but as we’ve seen this season, that just isn’t the Wednesday way. We all hoped that we’d start with a spring in our step, another early goal to settle the nerves perhaps.

Tom and Richard had a 50p bet on when Wednesday would score.

Tom went for the first half and Richard the second. We watched the highlights from last season’s game. Probably the most memorable match of the season.

Trailing two nil at the break. Hutch getting sent off for tackling someone with his head. Tomlin missing the resulting penalty and then the Robins being reduced to 10 men as we broke. Bannan scoring a worldie to get us back on level terms and then Lee’s injury time winner.

Incredible scenes. More of the same today please.

The walk down to the match was really quiet. It seemed strange, almost like we were going to a preseason friendly. Maybe we were a little later than normal. But the subdued atmosphere around the ground followed us in.

 

THE MATCH

 

I don’t think I’ve been to a match so subdued in atmosphere for a good six or seven years. Not even the taunts of “Is this a library?” stirred any kind of reaction.

Where I sit in the North stand you can usually rely on the Stone Island boys behind us to try and get some atmosphere going, but even they were sat on their hands today.

The match was… well what can you say about it? It was a good old fashioned stalemate. With not much to report back.

No shots on target. A few near misses and a bunch of officials who would not let the game get in to any kind of flow.

Reach clambers after the ball (Sky)

Although unchanged, the Owls set up to match Bristol City’s shape. Bannan sitting deep out left and Butterfield on the other side. Reach pushing further forward to make a front 3 at times. It was like a game of chess, players quite obviously carrying out very specific instructions about their positioning and movement.

Wednesday’s only real chances in the first half came from the right wing with Hunt on occasion managing to ping a cross across the six yard box but failing to find either Hooper or Rhodes.

Wallace cut inside twice and tried a trademark thunderchuffer, one of them looking to be close to hitting the target.

A cross from the left was nodded back across goal for Rhodes, but it was slightly behind him so he could only nod it high, looping it just over the bar.

Owls’ first of two penalty claims saw the busy but fruitless Rhodes dragged down in a packed box from a corner. Not given.

Down at the other end, Bristol had a long throw in their armoury, which the Owls staff must have scouted because upon their first opportunity to use it Westwood came uncomfortably far out of his goal mouth to catch the looping ball. He clearly knew it was coming.

One of those long throws tests Westwood (Bristol Post)

The Robins were, shall we say, eager with their challenges on our keeper. Each time the referee blowing for a freekick.

City also had a couple of strikes at goal, both of them flashing harmlessly wide; and a free header at the back post nodded straight in to Westwood’s gloves.

After half an hour the game really settled into a stalemate. Both teams well organised in keeping out the other. Both bereft of any kind of idea about how to rectify that situation.

Grandad had had enough, and after 40 minutes left to go home for a warm.

This was the first proper autumnal home game this season, going dark by half time as the clocks had gone back since our last home game. The chill biting your cheeks.

 

HT Wednesday 0-0 City

 

The second half picked up where the first left off, only with fewer chances. There was a lot of possession at the back, moving it left to right to try and find an opening, and when one was found it tended to be a one-two with Hooper, who passed it back into deep midfield as he rolled the defender to try and make some space.

Both managers tried different tactics, for Carlos this meant bringing on Joao for Wallace, a move which I think would have born some fruit if he’d swapped wings with Reach.

Realising we were never going to score from crosses against their defence, both Reach and Joao were cutting inside to try and find a pass, or make room for a shot. However, they were both always left trying to tee something up on their weaker foot and declined the option to shoot despite the desperate pleas from the crowd.

A fair assessment

On one occasion, this approach led to a chance. Some sharp passing releasing Bannan in to the box. However, the little Scot also found himself with ball on his weaker foot and dallied on it instead of shooting.

It is then that he felt the knee of a defender against his leg and down he went.

No penalty.

Again.

Where the crowd were upset about the first appeal not being awarded, they were furious about this one. I was certain Bannan was going to end up talking himself in to the book as he continued his protests for the next couple of minutes.

The match was soon over.

Chances were at a premium (BCFC)

As I said, a good old fashioned stalemate.

The kind of nil-nil draw that makes Americans hate soccer.

No incredible saves; no end to end, blistering, counter attacking football; more the kind of game satirised by the Simpsons as the ball is played slowly around long triangles.

You get these games in every league in the world, so I’m not too down hearted with the performance. It’s the result that grates most.

 

FULL TIME – Wednesday 0-0 City

 

There were a few boos at full time, the most vocal the crowd had been all afternoon. I’m not sure whether they were aimed at the team or the officials… or both.

In his post match interview Carlos stated “Let’s see how important this point is at the end of the season.” I would probably counter that with “Let’s see how important the 3 points dropped against Bolton will be” as the Owls continue to fail to put together any kind of run.

And so on to a midweek tie in front of the Sky cameras against a decent Ipswich side and our old foe Mick Mac.

I get the feeling this will be another game of chess, I just hope Carlos has got a killer move up his sleeve.

OWLS ALIVE circliar yeller SPACE

 

Joe
Owls Alive
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TWITTER: @OwlsAlive and @GrenoOwl

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