RAMBLE | Wednesday 1 – 2 Middlesbrough

RAMBLE | Wednesday 1 – 2 Middlesbrough

The festive fixtures.

Football fans across the country rub their hands with glee, as every team has 4 fixtures between the 23rd of December and January 1st.

I’m not sure Wednesday fans were in the eager camp.

Sam Hutchinson had given a rousing pre-match press interview which indicated this game could be a turning point, but then we’ve had a few of those this season, so my hopes weren’t high.

My match-day started the same as any, a quick stop at my Dad’s for a lift.

With family coming over that night, the house was full of food to be prepared, but football comes first.

I can’t remember much of the drive there; I’m not sure we discussed the football at all given our complete lack of excitement.

We reached the chippy at 1.30, plenty earlier than usual. We’d nearly finished when the line-up came out.

Hutchinson had been predicted to play and of course he was there.

No Loovens meant Venancio was making his debut, time to see just how bad this guy was given he couldn’t get a minute ahead of the ludicrously error-prone others (spoiler: he was actually alright).

Nuhiu also got a start alongside Hooper up top, a move I was really keen on given his performances from the bench lately.

Ash Baker made the bench as we were missing a full back 4 and first choice keeper through injury and suspension.

The new medical team mustn’t be much better than the old one, given Westwood, Hunt, Lees, Loovens, Lee, Bannan, Boyd, Forestieri and Fletcher were all missing.

We made our way in after my Mum spent ages staring at the tree and fake snow outside the stadium.

THE MATCH

Wednesday started the same as always. Slowly.

After the promising performance against Wolves I’d hoped for better, but it was more of the same, with Boro looking far more fired up than we did.

Our defence was frequently carved open by through balls. Cyrus Christie swung an excellent ball in and an unmarked Bamford headed harmlessly wide from a seemingly perfect opportunity.

Soon after Van Aken found Pudil who flicked superbly through for Reach. His drilled cross found Hooper, whose excellent lay-off found Wallace, who fired into the bottom corner.

What a goal!

GET IN!

Against the run of play but what a well worked goal! Maybe this was the break we needed!

Any hopes of an improved performance were shattered, Braithwaite should’ve scored after rounding Wildsmith, and Assombalonga fired wide after getting in behind again.

SECOND HALF

The second half wasn’t much better. The strikers became more and more isolated as our midfield sat deeper and deeper.

Wildsmith made an incredible save to deny Braithwaite but soon after Bamford was felled in the area and Leadbitter had an excellent opportunity from the penalty spot.

I told my Dad that Leadbitter never misses penalties, so he proceeded to prove me wrong, Wildsmith making an exceptional save. Maybe this was our lucky day!

This hope was short lived; an optimistic long-shot from Howson went under the young keeper’s body and into the goal. Soon after a corner was swung in and a sensational header from Shotton turned the game in Boro’s favour.

Wednesday limped to full time without really threatening to get level and it was a third defeat in a row for the Owls.

POST MATCH

There wasn’t a lot to say about it post-match. A pretty pathetic display.

Rumours circulated that night that he’d resigned, but a Chansiri statement suggested otherwise in the early hours.

Another twist to the tale came mid-morning, Christmas Eve.

“Carlos Carvalhal has left the club by mutual consent”.

I agree it was time for him to go but I can’t help but be saddened by the news.

Whilst this season has been a disaster, he’s brought great times to this club.

The club’s problems aren’t his fault, and his leaving won’t solve the majority of them, but it had to happen regardless.

I’ll look back on him with fond memories, absolutely sure. I doubt we’ll get another manager anytime soon who’s such a top bloke.

I’d never have guessed when he came in that this unknown Portuguese coach would become my favourite manager, despite his failings.

Whoever follows him, let’s hope they’re a success.

UTO!

Matt (@MattRFez).


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