RAMBLE | Wednesday 1 – 1 Leeds

RAMBLE | Wednesday 1 – 1 Leeds

I went on my own to this one. After last season’s shambles of a centenary year I’d lost nearly all enthusiasm for The Owls and opted to go on a decent holiday this summer instead of forking out for a couple of season tickets for me and the boy, opting instead to pick and choose our matches. This season I’d only been to the Millwall match before this one.

For both the Millwall match and this one I’d booked Tom into the SWFC community programme match day experience. £15 for games and coaching at the training ground, then to the ground for some snap, watch the match and given a programme. Cheapest babysitting around.

Dad still has his season ticket in the North but by the time I’d got around to buying a ticket all the seats around him were taken, and friends who may have fancied the game chose to watch on TV instead.

So, Billy-no-mates got to choose one of the random single seats available slap bang in the middle of the kop.

I’ve not been on the kop since the Brighton play-off, so I was mildly excited by the change. That was soon dampened when I got into the ground and went through the farce of trying to get a pint and a pie. First I tried my luck at one cabin that looked every inch a ‘bar’ only to find they only sold bottles. I was directed to the bars at the corner of the stadium and managed to get a pint, but no pie. These are only available at another, completely random hatch.

After finally succeeding in feeding and watering myself I took my seat. The atmosphere was building as Leeds fans began to fill the away end. The main questions about team selection were answered; the majority of the winning team at Villa keeping their places, with Forestieri and Thorniley replacing Matias and Pudil who were omitted from the squad completely, presumably injured. The one main surprise was the inclusion of Isaac Rice on the bench, another youngster earning his blue and white stripes.

Two young stars

The game started briskly, a typical derby. Frenetic in places, snapping tackles, loose balls, a bit of a midfield battle. An early (and easy) call for the referee saw Forestieri dart after a loose ball into the box, running across the defender and trying to engineer a clip to the ankles, throwing himself helplessly to the floor. No penalty. Later viewing of replays show the ref got it right.

Thankfully the energetic Wednesday had turned up tonight. The lacklustre showing at Forest just over a week ago now a distant memory following the impressive display at Villa. It’s a good job we had turned up too. Leeds were showing their credentials as promotion contenders.

They’re a team of tall, strong, athletic footballers who are also good with their feet. Their tight, crisp and precise passing all over the pitch was too much for us to deal with. Wednesday had to sit tight, keep their shape and try and press from the front whenever it was safe to do so.

As the half went on, Dawson’s goal was living a charmed life. A fingertip save over the bar; a heart-in-the-mouth interception from Baker nearly finding his own net; a header against the post coming back to a Leeds player whose goal bound shot was miraculously cleared by Fletcher (I think). All these coming amongst a series of long shots which Dawson held well.

Wednesday had their chances too. Forcing a few corners. Baker had a great shot turned around the post and Hector had a pot shot that went easily wide. Bannan tried a shot/cross from the apex of the box that drew a few ‘ooo’s from the crowd.

It was every inch a Yorkshire derby, just needing a mistake of a moment of brilliance to set the teams apart.

Then it happened.

If we hadn’t seen Reach score goals like this before we may have considered it a fluke.  Striding onto a Fletcher nod on from a throw in, young Adam looked up, picked his spot and unleashed a wicked, dipping half-volley which crashed against the top of the far post before bouncing and nestling into the roof of the net.

Rapture. Scoring in a derby always produces the wildest of celebrations, but doing so in such spectacular fashion is something else. I hugged and jumped around with my new-best-friend-that-I’d-never-met. What. A Goal.

Absolute screamer!

An invigorated Wednesday pushed for a second against a stunned Leeds team who looked very much like they were about to fall apart again.

It’s a well-worn presumption that a goal just before half time is a disaster for the team going behind, and a fillip for those taking the lead.

How far from the truth tonight.  Wednesday re-emerged for the second half with the obvious instruction to park the bus.  An absolutely disastrous bit of tactical brilliance from Luhukay.  We reappeared a shadow of the team that finished the first half, Leeds came out with their chests puffed out ready for battle.

It was like the Alamo. Attack after attack, Leeds pummelled the Wednesday back 9. Dawson was clearly following instructions to play short out of defence. A tactic that only brought on more pressure as he chose the wrong pass, or our players didn’t have the skill or movement to string three passes together against an energetic and well organised Leeds team. We were falling in to the trap of relying on Bannan all too often – playing him the pass when he was clearly in no position to safely receive the ball.

When the equaliser came it was no more than Leeds deserved. Klitch curled an unstoppable strike past a desperate Dawson.

This at least woke Wednesday up and we again began to dare to venture past the half way line.  My personal man of the match Matt Penney was a real bright spark coming forward, occasionally finding himself in an advanced central position following one of his fine runs and on one occasion forcing a terrific save from Peacock-Farrell in the Leeds net.

Penney charges forward

When the whistle sounded for full time there was an audible sigh of relief that despite throwing away a lead we’d somehow managed to draw this game. Leeds were far, far better than us. You have to admit that. That said, the fact that we are four games into a ‘tricky run’ and have picked up 5 points so far; sitting comfortably in mid-table (and crazily only 4 points off the top) shows that we could at least make a push for the play offs this season. Not that I think we’d do that well in them if we were to come up against teams of the calibre of Leeds again.

Joe

Owls Alive

Email: owlsalive@gmail.com

Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @GrenoOwl

Images: swfc.co.uk unless stated otherwise


2 Comments

  1. Leeds absolutely battered us, we are a long long way behind them in every area on the pitch.

  2. Spot on and very accurate reflection, I only hope the SWFC management reflect and start to think about tactics and selection for playing the teams around us.

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