RAMBLE – Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 Norwich City

RAMBLE – Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 Norwich City

It only feels like the season has just got going and yet we’re here, the last game of the season.

In part it feels this way because Jos Luhukay has provided somewhat of a resurgence over the last month and I think we can all safely say he has proven that he deserves a chance at managing us for a full season with (please dear God) a full squad at his disposal.

I would say we’re due some luck, but this is Sheffield Wednesday we’re talking about…

So, onto Norwich City.

Much like us, they have had a season of relative mediocrity where they would have possibly been hoping for more.

However, much like their local fictitious radio host Alan Partridge, they have been hit and miss (apologies to any Partridge fans that find themselves reading this).

Both sets of fans could probably have been forgiven in not getting too enthused about this game, however I was pretty much buzzing for it and hoping for a good game and win (that comes with the territory of having only seen two home wins since Hallochuffingween).

Wins were hard to come by at Hillsborough during the winter

When you add in the fact that many players were effectively playing for their futures/a place in next seasons starting XI, I was fairly confident that, the Wednesday players at least, would want to turn up and put in a good performance (spoiler alert, they did).

Usually I don’t make much of an effort to get up to the seats before the first notes of Waterfront start ringing around the ground, but today I made an exception because I wanted to see Glenn Loovens lead us out for the last time.

150 and out for GL

He deserves an incredible amount of respect for his time at S6, but more on that later…

After the last few cries of HI HO SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY had died down, we all sat down and strapped ourselves in for what would be a 90 minutes well worth what you paid for…

 

THE MATCH

 

 

As I thought would be the case, we came out with a purpose, with a spring in our step and with the kind of determination you wanted to see from your team.

A healthy dose of confidence has definitely come back into our team, and it is just a shame that we don’t have a bit more of the season left to truly test ourselves.

It has to be said, a lot of our confidence has come through getting three players back.

As much as the likes of Lucas Joao, Frederico Venancio, Adam Reach and Atdhe Nuhiu have been outstanding, Tom Lees, Barry Bannan and Fernando Forestieri have brought with them that little bit extra that we have needed.

A good atmosphere on the Kop

As if to prove that, Forestieri was involved in our first chance of the game. Intricate passing and movement from Joao, Nuhiu and Forestieri led to Forestieri just managing to break his way into Norwich’s box, unfortunately he couldn’t quite strike the ball as he would have wanted to and it just went wide.

Norwich City in all honesty looked a little flat, and created very little.

Having said that, both their fullbacks Onel Hernandez and Jamal Lewis looked lively. Thankfully for us, any real attacking intent they had did not have the required finishing come with it.

It wasn’t too long before Wednesday got the lead. After Joao holding onto the ball for what felt like an eternity, he managed to work the ball to Forestieri who then spread the ball out wide for Reach.

Reach picked out Nuhiu perfectly in the box and Nuhiu was never going to miss with the form he’s in.

Nuhiu: another two year deal for the big man

He headed home a fine strike. From that point on, we never looked back.

In a very weird way, Norwich City reminded me of us under Carlos earlier in the season. They seemed to be comfortable on the ball and but not really doing anything with the possession they had. Call it end of the season fatigue, call it having nothing to play for, but personally if I were a Norwich City fan I wouldn’t have been best pleased with their performance.

Defensively in particular they looked weak, and it wasn’t too long before poor defending came back to haunt them.

Forestieri managed to put their centre back Christoph Zimmerman under some pressure and in doing so he forced possibly one of the worst and weakest backpasses I have seen in many a year.

Forestieri tucks away #2

He literally served it up on a plate for Forestieri, and Forestieri happily obliged to take him up on his generosity.

2-0 up and we were cruising. Other than a looping shot that went wide from Oliveira and Norwich nearly getting in behind us if not for a superb tackle from Ash Baker (a youngster making his debut and doing a damn good job of it) there was little else of note in the first half apart from Loovens getting subbed off for Jordan Thornilley so he could get the full round of applause his career deserves.

What a gem of a player and bloke he has been at his four and a half years at the club.

 

HALF TIME – WEDNESDAY 2-0 NORWICH

 

Emotions were still running high from Loovens but everyone could sense that there was an opportunity for more goals in this game, we just had to make sure we got the next goal and not Norwich really.

My only grumble at half time had nothing to do with the football. Despite what had been displayed around the ground during the game (and all season) there was no Wednesday Pale Ale on.

I had to settle for Amstel, BLOODY AMSTEL! What kind of settlement is that?

Thinking you’re going to get Wednesday Pale Ale and ending up with Amstel is like thinking you’re going to get the dog, both cars and the millionaire mansion after a divorce but instead ending up in a one bedroom council flat in the arse end of nowhere.

I couldn’t even finish it and had to get my friend Chris to do so.

Good thing it was a good game otherwise I would now be writing a strongly worded letter to t’old Chansiri instead of this ramble… STRONGLY WORDED I TELL YOU! WITH CAPITAL LETTERS TO EMPHASISE THE LOUD NOISES!

 

SECOND HALF

 

 

Once I had calmed down from a rage brought on by the lack of pale ale, I sat back down. The second half was similar to the first really in that Norwich were wasteful and we took the chances we got.

Oliveira in particular surpised me, I know he is a more than capable player but today he flapped at pretty much every chance that came his way, he took carthorse to new heights.

We on the other hand looked clinical.

A well struck free kick from Forestieri nearly got the better of Angus Gunn, but from the following corner we got our third.

The good atmosphere continued in the second half

It was taken quickly to Forestieri, who quickly switched it to Bannan who then did the same to Reach. For the second time in the game, Reach floated a perfect ball into the box and Venancio volleyed home his first (hopefully not his last) goal for Wednesday.

Although Nuhiu will rightly get the praise for his (WARNING: SPOILER ALERT) hat trick, this was my favourite goal of the day, purely for Venancio’s reaction.

He went mental.

He even jumped into the crowd and, from looking back at the highlights, received a lot of attention from one woman in particular…

Big celebration

It mattered not though as he, quite clearly, loved every minute of it. I hope we see him return, I really do.

3-0 up and we could have easily just sat back.

Yet, almost straight from the restart, we were in again.

Joey Pelupessy (a player who has also grown over recent weeks) did well in getting the ball back, and then after neat little build up play and a bursting run forward, he found himself on the edge of the box and pinging a hopeful ball in.

In all honesty, it wasn’t the best ball and should have been defended better, but the keeper and defender collided and it fell right at the feet of Nuhiu to tap his second goal, and our fourth, home with ease.

Another highlight followed in Nuhiu doing some sort of dance that was a cross between a Salsa and some form of Bee Gees inspired disco dance. It wasn’t the best celebration ever but I am sure it won’t keep him up late at night.

The aim now became clear, get that man his third and that match ball at all costs.

Terrific final day performance

Mission Possible As He’s Already Got Two (my favourite of the Mission Impossible franchise).

He came close, a looping ball into the box moments later might have fallen to him if Joao had left it, but Joao poked his header agonisingly wide.

A little selfish it may have been, but who wants a striker who doesn’t want to score with every chance he gets?

Norwich however had other ideas, and decided to bag themselves one goal for the travelling fans. A little bit of tiredness seeped in at the back, and Timm Klose managed to grab a consolation goal and show Oliveira how scoring was done (if you’re reading this Oliveira I don’t mean to come down on you so hard, you just didn’t have a great game. We’re still on for dinner with my parents at the weekend I hope?)

Despite Norwich City bagging a goal, Nuhiu was not to be stopped.

He was an absolute beast, and when it fell to him in the box and he managed to strike a looping header, we all held our breath. Could it be? The hat trick we had waited to see for so long? Not since the days of yore had we seen it, since the shining knight Sir Neil Mellor. Surely this was it? Here… It… COMES…

Nope, Gunn rudely shot our hopes down, with a magnificent save none the less. Still, the git.

As the ominous ticking of the clock continued, it felt like we may not see it after all.

However, then we were granted a miracle. A rather sloppy tackle on Forestieri that, initially, I thought had been waved away as not a foul, was brought back and given to us.

Forestieri picked up the ball though, and for a moment, if only a brief moment, I thought he was going to be the evil villain in a M Night Shyamalan inspired twist.

Matchball for Atdhe

Of course, I would have still celebrated if Forestieri had taken it and scored, but it would have been through gritted teeth.

Thankfully we need not have worried, he cheekily handed the ball to Nuhiu, in a “I was just messing” kind of way.

Nuhiu even offered it him back, which was sweet but at the same time also never going to happen. So there we were, moments away from the hat trick, my dad couldn’t watch, my mum had a grin on her face that was a mixture of “I believe in you Atdhe” and “oh my God I am so nervous” and I was there, cool as can be. I never get flustered at games. Never. Not even a little bit… Okay a little bit…

Did Nuhiu bury it? OF COURSE HE FUPPING DID!

I can’t remember ever punching the air so many times.

My dad asked me which way he went (it was right) but at the time I couldn’t answer because it went in a blur.

Not long after, the full time whistle went.

 

FULL TIME – WEDNESDAY 5-1 NORWICH

 

It goes without saying that a 5-1 win at home on the last day of the season did wonders for the collective mood around Hillsborough, however it shouldn’t cloud our judgement.

We have a massive rebuilding task this summer, and we will all need patience and understanding towards Jos and the boys.

After the game, many stayed behind to show their appreciation to the players, in particular Loovens and Ross Wallace, both of whom shall be missed.

There was a nice little presentation for them before the lap of honour, and you could see that they were truly appreciated for their time here, in particular Loovens who has stuck with us through so much. It was touching, it really was.

However, it was also a sign that we need to move forward now, we can’t rely on nostalgia to keep us moving upwards, and big decisions will have to be made.

Jos has proven himself worthy of the chance to take this team forward

So, my overall thoughts?

Well after reading back my last ramble, I came to the conclusion that this one needed to be a bit more positive.

I am not sure what was up with me last time, maybe I hadn’t got my full eight hours (unlikely), maybe I was hungover (likely), but it didn’t make for the most exciting of reads.

So, for the sake of positivity, I will say this, I am excited for next season.

No, that doesn’t mean I think we will go up (personally I would just be happy with a top 12 finish and maybe challenging for the playoffs) but it does mean I think we have redeemed ourselves under Jos.

There will be frustrating times, both during the season and the summer, plus we definitely have a job on our hands reshaping the squad, however it feels like we have turned a corner.

It feels like we are now more aware of what we need to try and turn things around. With a fully fit squad who knows what we could accomplish?

Even if we don’t manage to get up next season, it feels like we are putting things in place that will help us towards our ultimate aim of promotion, whether that is next season or not. Let’s just enjoy the ride.

As the old saying goes, don’t worry, be Atdhe.


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

Images: SWFC, unless stated.


One Comment

  1. A wonderful little diatribe (I think thats the right posh word ! ) of the last game of the season
    and totally reflects my own views of the day and possibly next season. Pity this wasn’t published in the ‘nationals’ as most papers totally ignored making any commentary on the Owls as they focussed on relegation battles.

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