As this was a televised game, I thought I would give a few thoughts about what I saw. Firstly I know this is a bit late, but I have had a really hectic weekend clearing out the garage and making several trips to the dump. I have no idea how we managed to fit everything in! As a result, now is the first opportunity I have had to do a blog.
I don’t intend to do a proper match report, there are plenty out there. It looks like Baz didn’t go, because normally he would have sent it by now. (Unless of course he was clearing out his garage too!) No, I thought I would just give some thoughts about the game.
As many of you know, I live in Devon and so don’t get to many games. Thanks to getting a good retention package with Sky – I have SkySports and so Saturday was the first watch of the Blues this season for me. Obviously it was incredibly disappointing to see so many empty seats, but I can understand why. Last season was ok, and although we have made some positive signings – with the greatest respect to the players signed, none were headline makers that would draw fans back. Also times are difficult for people too. Finally, a televised game always has an effect on a crowd too. Despite that, those who were there made a good noise.
GR really likes us to play deep, and although we are good at counter-attacking, our defending hasn’t been up to scratch recently. Early on in the game we kept giving the ball away. Actually it was for most of the first half. We’d win the ball, get it under control and then give it away. With a team like Wednesday who have a strong midfield and a good forward line, that is VERY dangerous. We HAVE to deal with that. Also defensively there have been real issues in the first few games, however I thought on the whole we defended well on Saturday, but we gave Hooper far too much space for him to run on and score. However I don’t want to be too churlish as we had kept clean sheets in our previous two games.
In regard to us having the ball, we passed it around ok, and although it went backwards quite a lot – I don’t mind too much as long as we do end up doing something positive. The thing is, in the first half – we didn’t have the ball that much. We gave Sheffield Wednesday an opportunity to build pressure, which put us on the back foot which had the effect of putting more pressure on us. Donaldson was isolated, and the occasional time he was able to get the ball, with no support, was unable to do anything of note.
I was amazed we were still level at half time. If it wasn’t for a good save from Legzdins and the inaccuracy in front of goal from the Owls, we could have ( and probably should have) been two down at half time. We did finish the first half stronger though, and as the game went on slowly clawed our way back into the game. This for me has been one of the marks of GR’s hand as manager. The never say die attitude.
Last season the boss was criticised in some quarters for substitutions. Either too late, wrong players, but basically not making any impact on the game. On Saturday, that criticism could not be made. The decision to bring on Stewart and Brown on the hour, changed things. All of a sudden we looked like we could win. Stewart’s first action saw him taking on and beating players – he could become a good impact player for us. We were the better side at this point, so it was a kick in the teeth when Hooper got free and put Wednesday 1 up. It was a good move though, credit for that – but we should have dealt with it defensively. Once again Rowett acted and bought on Jutkiewicz, a move that proved to be decisive.
You know how the last 10 minutes went, fair play to Donaldson for having the bottle to step up to take the penalty after recent failings, and with the combination of the substitutes – we crafted a very good winner.
The result was very satisfying, especially as Wednesday are a very good side and I expect them to be involved in the promotion race. If I was a Wednesday fan, I would probably be disappointed not to get anything as Wednesday did control large periods – but credit to Blues. We never gave up and we took our chances. I know it is early days – but it is nice to be sitting 5th a month or so into the season. It’ll be interesting to see if there will be any money available for the manager in January after the takeover has completed and if we can then push on.