RAMBLE: Wednesday 0-1 Fulham

RAMBLE: Wednesday 0-1 Fulham

So yet again we find ourselves at this stage of the season, where teams are fighting for their place in the league and teams are fighting to get out of the league.

Or, if you’re like us, you’re essentially fighting for pride and for a good finish.

Whilst not mathematically safe just yet, beating Sunderland on Easter Monday should just have done enough for us to stay in the Championship for another season.

It does feel rather strange not really having anything to play for after two rollercoaster seasons under Carlos, but all Wednesday fans know this feeling.

Before the Carvalhal regime, we were a mid-table Championship side and, not to put a downer on proceedings, I think we will probably be a mid-table side next season (hopefully I am wrong).

Anyway, back to the matter at hand, our game with Fulham.

Saturday morning arrived in the usual manner, it was a fairly lazy morning, in part because I am currently on holiday which has meant my sleep pattern has gone from normal to “I have no clue what I am doing”.

I suppose being on holiday is as good a time as any to stay up late playing FIFA in your boxers, though…

 

PRE-MATCH

 

However, for this game we had Owls Alive Danish leg-end Peter Lohmann over, so instead of waiting around till just before kick off to meet my parents on the bridge, we all ended up in the New Barrack Tavern.

A great pub. Unfortunately for me I have recently developed a habit of throwing up more when I drink so I stuck to good old fashioned coke.

I have been reliably informed this is due to age, but being only 26 I do feel somewhat aggrieved by that notion.

Destination: NBT

I was hoping I wouldn’t get to that stage where I can’t handle my drink as well till at least 27.

Time flew by relatively quickly, we nattered about loads of different subjects, the highlight of which was whether Steven Gerrard was attractive or not (the camp was very much split on this).

It wasn’t too long before we moved on to The Riverside.

Undoubtedly you will have heard about this place, as it is often frequented by Mr Jon Gill and the lovely lot from The Wednesday Week.

It is quite a quaint little place, although I don’t know how anyone would navigate that staircase when drunk, I had enough trouble trying to do so when I was sober…

The team news came in that it was the same line up bar Fox (who was replaced by Pudil).

Pudil: time to say goodbye? – Image: Dom Howson/Twitter

As much as I like Pudil, I do think he is one of the out of contract players we should be moving on.

He might be a fairly solid back up option, but we need to try and add that little bit of quality going forward. Holding on to players who, in the nicest possible way, are coming towards the end of their career may not be the best way of achieving that.

Time flew by and eventually I settled on the fact that I am utterly predictable and wanted a beer (I know, I know, I am weak).

It was a melon pale ale and quite frankly underwhelming, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Once we had all supped up, we went our separate ways and departed for the game.

On the walk up to the stand you could get the feeling that this was a game we knew we’d be lucky to win, a game that most Wednesday fans would be happy getting a draw from and a game that wouldn’t really be the end of the world if we lost.

 

THE MATCH

 

Fulham set the tempo straight from the off.

Straight away you could see their confidence, their ability and their desire.

I am not saying they were miles better than us, but they were the better side.

Wednesday looked a little tired, in particular Adam Reach, which is completely understandable given his massive work rate and the fact he has been carrying the team right up until some of the injured players came back.

Reach: ready for a rest

Tom Cairney and Ryan Sessegnon to me looked like Fulham’s stand out players, and it is only a matter of time before Sessegnon gets his chance in the Premier League in my opinion, whether that is with Fulham or someone else.

Sheyi Ojo was another player who impressed me, sadly for us he had the beating of Boy George all game.

Thankfully for us when he got into good positions he often fluffed his chances, which shows why he is out on loan in the Championship and not in Liverpool’s first team I suppose.

There was little more than build up play and half chances in the first half, aside from one spectacular save from Joe Wildsmith.

Before the game Tom Lees highlighted the battle between himself and Aleksandar Mitrovic could be key to us getting anything out of the game, and for the most part I think he handled that battle well.

However, Mitrovic did manage to get the better of him a few times, and on one of the occasions he did he managed a powerful header that, for lesser keepers, would have been a certain goal.

Great save

Thankfully for us Wildsmith is in great form of late, and he met the header with an almighty fist.

Other than that, there wasn’t much to shout about.

On top of the slightly tired performance, Barry Bannan went off injured and was replaced by Butterfield who, to put it nicely, doesn’t have the same creativity that Bannan has.

 

HT – Wednesday 0-0 Fulham

 

 

There was a sense that we played rather well, in a sense that we kept them at bay more than a creative way, in that first half.

However I felt like Fulham edged it, and the fact that we looked tired did nothing but make me think trying to keep it 0-0 was our best way of getting a positive result out of the game.

Sometimes I think you just have to accept when another team just has that edge on you and take off your rose tinted glasses.

That is what it felt like.

I did have a little voice at the back of my head saying “yeah but what if we just sneaked it?” but that voice was much quieter than he usually is.

After a quick natter, we headed back up to our seats.

 

SECOND HALF



It wasn’t much different in the second half, although we came out and pressed them higher up the pitch.

We definitely looked like we’ve been given a bit of a kick up the backside, however it wasn’t enough really.

We were quite sloppy in our chances and we just didn’t have that final product.

Most of our positive play fizzled out and we were guilty of trying to overplay.

The interplay between Nuhiu and Joao wasn’t there

We were looking towards inform Atdhe Nuhiu to really try and bring other players into the game, but he couldn’t quite manage that.

Added on to that, Joao looked like he’d had a few shandies the previous night, he was quite lethargic and struggled to get involved in the game. At the other end, we managed to keep Fulham out for the majority of the half, again they were slightly guilty of wasting their best chances but you could sense their goal coming.

Cairney was a pest all game, and his influence was massive, every time he got the ball I was fearful that he could be the one to pick that pass that opens us up and leads to them scoring.

Despite several decent one on one saves from Wildsmith, it felt like a goal for Fulham was coming, and it did.

Sessegnon managed to get in behind our defence (not for the first time) and his low cross was met by Mitrovic blasting it home.

It hurt a little but Fulham deserved it and we couldn’t really have any complaints.

It could have been two not long after when a superb pass from Matt Targett found Neeskens Kebano in the right place at the right time. His finish however was weak and very much wide.

After that it looked like all three points were going back to London with Fulham, and they made sure of that with some surprisingly cynical play that baffled me.

Cairney: danger man helped swing the game for Fulham

They were in control, they are a better team than us, so they could have probably easily kept possession and just passed us off the park.

We very nearly made them pay right at the death, when Reach managed to tee up Forestieri in the box. His shot was just agonisingly that bit too high though, and with that we effectively accepted the defeat.

 

FULL TIME: Wednesday 0-1 Fulham



Sometimes you just have to accept you were beaten by a better team.

I know that sounds odd given that Fulham only beat us 1-0 but they just edged us all game. It’s almost as if 18 (now 19) games unbeaten leads you to play with freedom and confidence…

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really change our situation all that much, we have nothing to play for other than pride and momentum going into next season.

Luhukay and his players are adamant that they’re not on their holidays yet, and that all the players feel like they still have something to play for.

However I won’t be disappointed to see the back of this season, a sentiment which I am sure will be shared by many other Wednesdayites.

Let’s see what we can do in the next few weeks though and let’s try to kick on in the best way we can.

Billy
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: owlsalive@gmail.com
Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @BillyFensterFen

Images: SWFC, unless stated.


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