RAMBLE | Wednesday 2 – 1 Millwall

RAMBLE | Wednesday 2 – 1 Millwall

We seem to have a habit of playing Millwall midweek in The Championship and this season continued that tradition. Albeit a Wednesday night not Tuesday following Sunday’s debacle at Brentford.

The commute from North Manchester is never an easy proposition for midweek games across the Woodhead Pass from the M67 crawl, and with roadworks at Deepcar I chose the M62/ M1 option with a hope of kinder traffic as the school holidays are still in full swing.

The streaming of midweek games this season predicted a massive drop in home attendances… if the queue on the A61 into Sheffield an hour before kick-off was an indication it looked as busy as ever.

A crowd of 21,349 (about 300 from Millwall) dispelled that myth.

Team news filtered through an hour before kick-off and Jos had made five changes from Sunday lining up with a 4 – 4 – 2 formation.

Social media went into its usual hysterical drama on the gamble of leaving Nuhiu, Forestieri, and Hutchinson out of the starting eleven.

I sometimes wonder if half these posters even attend football matches.

I was looking forward to Matt Penney and Fraser Preston from the academy U23 getting their full home debuts!

Jos has previously stated he has no problems handing places to youngsters over seasoned professionals, and this was a bold call that could have backfired spectacularly.

 

Debuts for two youngsters

THE MATCH 

Wednesday started the game with an intense work rate on the front foot, always looking for attacking options and Steven Fletcher went close with an early header from a Matias cross.

We didn’t have to wait long to break the deadlock, Adam Reach’s cross was only partially cleared by the Millwall defence with the ball falling to Bannan twenty yards out, who let fly with a stunning volley that crashed into the net giving Jordan Archer no chance of a save – A goal worthy of being a match winner on its own.

His first strike since 2016 and long overdue in my honest opinion.

We were now flowing with confidence and a long range effort from Pelupessy shortly after dipped agonisingly close over the crossbar.

A first half where we actually got into gear early and on the front foot, taking control of the game playing with a high tempo, attacking in numbers and playing as a team with purpose and intensity.

Pelupessy, despite previous criticism for his performances, was stamping his authority in midfield giving Bannan plenty of time and space on the ball.

Fletcher and Matias both worked hard up front getting into goal scoring positions and Jordan Thorniley was a shade unlucky heading a Bannan free kick just wide before the half time whistle.

 

Strong performance

Second Half

Barely sixty seconds into the half Bannan’s free kick from the left found Tom Lees on the back post unmarked and he gleefully stroked the ball in at the far post. 2 nil and a comfortable lead.

But as always with Wednesday it is never that simple with us is it.

Neil Harris made a double substitution around 60 minutes in with Tom Elliott and Jiri Skalak coming on. Elliott dominated every aerial challenge and Skalak took a hold of midfield for a good fifteen minute spell controlling possession.

Millwall were constantly pushing for a goal even leaving two upfront when defending corners. They got their reward on 72 minutes a long punt over our midfield saw Gregory put Ryan Tunnicliffe through to slot home for Millwall.. 2- 1 and not so comfortable after all the hard team work in the opening hour.

This lead to a strong spell for the away team with Wednesday dropping deeper as the game progressed, and in turn inviting Millwall forward pushing for an equaliser.

A nervy conclusion to the game as the fourth official indicated a minimum of 4 minutes injury time which agonisingly seemed to become 5 and a half, with Millwall almost grabbing a leveller from a corner, leading to a goalmouth scramble and some last ditch defending from Wednesday in the closing stages of injury time.

 

A good result

At last four points on the board, a first home win and hopefully some confidence in the team going forward in the campaign.

Special mention to Matt Penney who looked comfortable at left back despite it not being his natural position.

Hopefully him and Fraser Preston (who was substituted with cramp late on) will keep their starting places for Saturday’s visit of Ipswich.

Also nice to see the subs not used going through their run downs on the pitch as I left the stadium.

Not sure I ever witnessed that under Carlos…

UTO

Glyn

Owls Alive

Email: owlsalive@gmail.com

Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @CRATESOFSOUL

Images: swfc.co.uk unless stated otherwise


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