RAMBLE | Wednesday 1 – 1 Hull City

RAMBLE | Wednesday 1 – 1 Hull City

It was all a bit strange today. We had missed out on tickets for Wigan for various reasons, stupidity being top of the list and it meant this was the season opening game for me and the Young Un but when your football club has a start like we’ve had you really don’t know what mood to be in or how to prepare yourself for the oncoming game and season.

It’s not simply that we lost on the opening day away to a newly promoted team but bickering and fighting amongst our own fans, both verbally on social media and physically at that Wigan game, that would be bad enough, but when the chairman makes a statement that depresses every Wednesday fan by laying out the financial situation and that we have been under a transfer embargo for months our minds drift back to not too long ago when we thought dark times were behind us and the future was bright.

Even on the way to the game the chat between me and the Young Un was a little out of kilter and listening to Radio Sheffield where, it might just be me that feels this, they seem to be revelling in every bad thing coming out of the club at the moment. Has not signing up to radio coverage really made them that bitter?

We don’t like change

As we walked to the ground it felt as though we weren’t the only ones feeling subdued, the vibe as we weaved in and out of Wednesday fans was the same.

We got to our seats and I have to say I’m not liking this new music thing. I thought it would be good to have just Sheffield bands playing before the game and at half time but I don’t think it helped the mood at all if I’m honest, though I admit, that might just be a generation thing…what with me being old git. Mindstya, no one will convince me it’s a good idea to have Joe Elliott singing at Hillsborough…or anywhere else for that matter

Just to add to the air of things not going well, they brought out the giant flag to send up the kop.
They got the kids to carry it towards the kop and they sent it over the barrier right in front of us to pass backwards.
The problem with that is, right behind us is a pillar so when it reached there it ended up in a crumpled heap and passed behind it. It never recovered from that. It went all the way to the top of the kop in a crumpled mess.

THE MATCH

When the whistle went for kick off there wasn’t the usual buzz of expectation…the roar from the home crowd, such as it was, seemed muted….It was a strange old feel to the start of this game, the vibe around the ground just wasn’t like it has been for previous opening home games of the season, the fans and the team on the pitch still seemed to be suffering a bit of a hangover from last weeks defeat at Wigan.  The hangover was so bad that whilst we were all rummaging around for cold pizza on the floor Hull opened up quite brightly and coulda/shoulda been two goals to the good inside those opening minutes.

They breezed past our weary and disjointed looking defence with ease and put the ball across the six yard box, both times within a couple of feet of the goal line….the slightest of touches on the cross from our right and they’d have been ahead, better composure for the second and again, a Hull lead. You could hear already the sucking of teeth from the Wednesday fans, desperate for today to kick our season off properly and put last week firmly behind us.

It didn’t pan out like that though, we looked slow,we lacked spark and we definitely lacked drive and togetherness. The only thing in our favour was that Hull seemed content to let us have plenty of the ball and not worry too much about possession. When we had it we seemed content to take our time and pass it about without ever going anywhere. There was little movement from our players to give outlets to the player in possession and very little movement all round. It all seemed a little bit…I dunno…sluggish…sedentry….whether that was coming from the crowd to the players or vice versa I don’t know, but it wasn’t good.

Mauled by the Tigers

What also wasn’t good was those Hull City shirts. I don’t remember them being quite that bad. They used to look like tigers in previous strips, now they look like they’re playing in our last season second shirts…are they using our hand me downs now? Before Steve Bruce was at Hull I always had a bit of a soft spot for them, no idea why, but I did. I loved it when they turned up at our place years ago in big numbers, doing that very camp ‘mauled by the tigers’ thing and moaning that we’d only opened one turnstile and they were still queuing up outside long after kick off. Well today, going by how many were in the away end we could have opened the cat flap and not bothered with staff wages on the turnstile. What a poor show this was. Unless it was a protest at our ridiculous ticket prices, which ARE beyond the pale to be honest, I expected more from them.

I also expected more by way of reactions during the game. I know there weren’t many of them but the Young Un made the comment during the game. What does it take to get them going? Not just making noise but reactions to shots, to corners, to fouls, to bad decisions, all of it…nothing. They could have sent a pile of cones by proxy and they’d have been far more lively

Don’t get me wrong, the football overall wasn’t edge of the seat stuff, it wasn’t good a lot of the time but it wasn’t all bad…we definitely didn’t look at our best but we had moments, especially from Fletcher, who throughout the game caused problems for Hull and on another day would have scored a hattrick. In this half following a scintillating drive by Reach and a perfectly weighted pass, Fletcher got on the end of it and hurtled at pace into the Hull box with only the keeper to beat….if he could lift it, we were in but he chose ‘Option B’ – kicking the ball straight at the advancing keeper – who, in all fairness, had done well to be so quick off his line to meet him.

Within a few minutes of that chance Hull were back up our end and taking pot shots at our goal….It was a good move by Hull to be fair to them and the first came from Bowen following some strong play by him to shrug off the Wednesday defending and from just outside the box he let fly, luckily for us hitting the post, past a full stretch Dawson in the Wednesday goal…to his credit the keeper was quickly back on his feet and he needed to be…the ball rebounded off the post into the path of Evandro who took aim between the posts…this time a great reaction save from Dawson, he’d done incredibly well here had our young shot stopper, showing great agility and tenacity but the ball had spilled out again and this time to a waiting Frazer Cambell…this time we weren’t so lucky and he swivelled to hit the ball home passed a very angry and frustrated Cameron Dawson. We were a goal down and no one seemed surprised.

One of the Hull fans gets carried away

The cones in the away end didn’t move.

With our players at the moment though there is always something to focus on, not always for good reasons but there’s plenty to look at and think ‘well that’s promising’ or ‘blimey, he’s not coming on as well as I hoped’

In this game I was desperate for Fox to shine. He’s not had a fair trial from the fans IMO and after a promising start at the club he’s become a bit of a focal point for the boo boys and I wanted him to show that he’s come through that and emerged a better player for it. Well things didn’t exactly go that way. He had his moments, the odd stary pass, running into trouble but he was doing a lot of good stuff too that was going unnoticed for the main. In particular a cracking triple tackle right down in front of us just outside the box. A quick tackle once, back up on his feet, another great tackle on the next player, back up and same again…had that been pretty much any other player they crowd would have been on their feet applauding and it was a great shame because he did well as the rest of the defence had gone missing again. Up to this point his mistakes were no better or worse than anyone else in the team and there were a lot of mistakes. Sloppy passing. Poor positioning.  We didn’t look good.

Just before half time though, any sympathy or urgency I had for Fox to do well went straight out of the window.

Fox played a very sloppy pass, another in a growing line of easy Wednesday passes that was once again cut out by a Hull player. No sooner had he done that and the home crowd gasped and sighed, almost instantly and in some stupid bid to redeem himself or in pure frustration, Fox lunged at the Hull player and brought him down. The crowd weren’t happy at Fox, neither was the ref who gave him a yellow card but as he sat on the turf waiting for the inevitable card to be produced he was holding his leg…I turned to the Young Un and said ‘He wants off here’.

His body language had deteriorated with every slight mistake throughout the game but now he had downed tools completely and wanted to be anywhere other than on that pitch. He took his card and as he did so the manager had Thorniley stood pitchside ready to take his place.

Thorniley; A good replacement

It’s deflating is this kind of thing, especially when you’ve given them the benefit of the doubt and stood their corner longer than most and perhaps longer than they deserve. You expect, you HOPE for a little bit of grit and determination to show they’re going to fight through this adversity. With this simple action he had given in….I understand it…but I didn’t like it and I was done with him from that moment. From the moment Thorniley came onto the pitch he took everything in his stride and hardly, if ever, put a foot wrong.

We aren’t a team, a squad, a club that can carry anyone at the moment. We have enough shit going on in and around the club and we need everyone to at least show they are trying. At least show they WANT to play for the club. To show the fans what they are prepared to do and stick it out through all the shit storms to come…and in our hearts, as Wednesday fans, we know there’s more to come. As Wednesday fans we know there’s ALWAYS more to come.

Shortly after Fox left the pitch the whistle blew for half time and a short break from the cut and thrust of watching two bang average teams stroll towards a damp squib of an ending

SECOND HALF
We all know that Jos isn’t the sort of manager that shouts at players. We knew none of them would be getting the hairdryer treatment at half time but still, we hoped for a bit more pep in our performance. A little bit of spark from somewhere to drive us forward against a dull and lifeless Hull side far more removed from that Wembley team that beat us as we are from the team they beat.

We needed to come out of the traps quickly and get straight back into this game now…and that’s pretty much what we did…we looked a lot livelier from the restart…still not brilliant but loads better than that first 45 and within 5 minutes we were back level

We got a corner which was slung in by Bannan I think but it was half cleared and Forestieri was off after it, at the same time as a Hull City player and as they came together Fessie went down. Now my natural reaction these days is, we’ll get nowt and he should stay on his feet but the ref was perfectly placed for this and blew straight away…for a pelanty! My gasp was so loud I was dragging it in from Barnsley. It certainly livened up the Wednesday fans. Fessi was on the ball straight away and placing it on the spot. No one else was taking this.

He stepped up…a little falter in his step and slides the ball to the keepers right. I thought the keeper could have done better but he didn’t move and it wasn’t as though he

blamed it hard and low, he side footed it in. That didn’t matter.

Fessie to the rescue…again

We were back in the game and overall, probably fair. The Wednesday fans had something to shout about at last.

 

The cones were unmoved in the away end.

Now we’ve seen plenty of games like this. Dull knock-about games where everyone seems to be ambling about. We go behind then we get back into it and suddenly realise we can win the game and attack non stop for the rest of the game. Hmmm…that didn’t happen. We reverted back to type and we STILL didn’t seem to have any urgency about us. Sure enough we created a couple or three decent chances and Fletcher, who was one of the players that had played pretty well, had some very good chances indeed to put the game to bed but missed a couple of sitters…OK. Maybe not sitters but two glorious headed chances should have tested the keeper at least and he knows it.

I’ll tell you something else for nothing…put ya money away, this is for free…The haircuts of our players leave a lot to be desired and I speak as one naturally gifted with a beautiful barnet. It seems a lot of our players have had brand new haircuts and I don’t know which barbers they went to but they need to go back and get them finished. They all look as though they’re straight out of the Bad Haircut 100 Catalogue. Bannan is the double of Billy Whizz now, Reach looks like he’s got a yard of neck and Forestieri looks like some likkle world war 2 orphan, ready to be shipped off to North Yorkshire for safe keeping. Did they send off for these haircuts and they’ve been sent the wrong sizes?

Bannan in full flight

I’m having trouble differentiating between Bannan and the ever impressive, Ash Baker. He looks as though he’s morphing into Bannan and I got them mixed up any times, he’s like a mini me version, he’s like Banny Baker….oh yeah, when I thought of that at the ground it made me laugh way too much. I know, I know…don’t judge me.

I know I’ve made it sound as though we were really poor and at times we were. Some very sloppy passing and not Hollywood passing, this was short passing or trying to do too much at the wrong time and gifting possession away far too easy. Poor tackles, late tackles and lunging tgackles that will only lead to one thing. Fortunately we seemed to have a ref who was well chilled (Innit) He was a bit like ‘Cool Dad’ at his kids party. He didn’t want to be seen as an adult so was being extra chilled. Another ref may have given a few more yellows and maybe even a couple of reds.

Some of our players look as though they are going to take time to find their stride but some also seem to have found it already. I mentioned Fletcher who is taking up good positions, just needs his sights adjusting but the two young lads, Thorniley who came on for Fox and Banny (Ash) Baker were excellent throughout and Baker was probably man of the match for me. The good thing about him, as with all the players this early in the season, he is going to get better.

MOTM Banny (Ash) Baker

Both Bannan AND Fessie did plenty of the good stuff but we need that of them, we EXPECT that of them but they also made quite a few mistakes too. It’s their standing at the club and in the team that allows them plenty of leeway with that.

The half wore on and whilst we were playing much better we weren’t playing well enough to actually win the game and neither were Hull. It all drew to what seemed an inevitable draw and one that most fans had ticked off as the result 15 or 20 minutes into the game.

I can’t lie to you, it was disappointing. It was a let-down but after the week we’ve had with the coming and going and toing and froing at the club I suppose it was only to be expected. This was probably a fair result overall with both sides having missed good chances but neither really doing enough to say they should have won.

Things will improve, well I HOPE they will. On the pitch I mean. We are powerless with regards to the off the pitch stuff. That will have to do whatever it does and we will sit by and wait for the outcome. It’s not going to be easy and Wednesday fans aren’t known for their patience, with anything but we really do need that. We need to understand that we aren’t in a position to sign anymore players. Not just class. Not just big names ANY players. We had a go at promotion. We threw everything at it and we failed. Now we have to sit it out until we’ve paid our dues in full and then we can start again.

All we need is, Radio Blah Blah

Whinging and moaning about not bringing players in won’t help. Getting on the backs of the players we DO have, definitely won’t help. We need to cut them some slack. We need to appreciate that this may not be where we want to be. It may not be the squad of players we actually want but it’s what we’ve got. Changing managers won’t help either and neither will pestering him with the same questions about Westwood and whether he’s playing, where he ranks amongst our keepers and why we haven’t sold him. We need to ignore the media and especially Radio Sheffield and Rob Staton when they bang that drum. They don’t have the best interests of our club at heart at all. They only look for sensationalism at every turn. If they can whip fans into an angry mob and get them having a go at their own club then it’s job done for them. We need to ignore them.

If we genuinely believe WAWAW then it’s time to show it now.

It’s not the end of the world. There will be worse results to come but there will be better too.
When they DO come, let’s make the most of the moments in the sunshine, however briefly they may be.


Steve:Beastie
Twitter: @beastie_ @owlsalive
EMail: admin@owlsalive.com


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