Not since the early 60s when they were second only to an exceptional tottenham side in the country’s football hierarchy have wednesday recorded a home start such as this.
Harry catterick’s team won their first nine hillsborough matches of the 1960-61 league campaign, went on to finish runners-up to double-winning spurs and earned the tag of the best owls outfit since world war two.
Wednesday are now only in the game’s third tier so have a long way to go before they reach those sort of heights.
But seven successive home league wins is the club’s best start to a campaign since then and gary megson, his staff and players have added their own bit of history and raised hopes that this could turn out to be a season to remember.
Anyone who has watched the owls over the years has become accustomed to setbacks, slip-ups when all has been going well.
So, would chesterfield at home a week before the sheffield derby be a banana skin? No it wasn’t. Would wednesday be more than a match for united in the big one? Yes they were.
Would colchester, unfancied by many though they had lost only one of their previous eight games, be the ones to end the 100 per cent home record? Even megson had remarked that it’s got to end one day.
But no, the u’s became the latest side to be outgunned. The owls gave another demonstration of strength, organisation, workrate, firepower, menace from set-pieces and staying power.
Colchester started reasonably brightly as well as grafting to stifle wednesday attacks, but manager john ward had to admit: “we got overpowered for the last 30 minutes by a very good side who play to their strengths.
“We gave away too many set-plays; they come up with the artillery and they’re a very strong team.
“When they get ahead, that lifts the crowd and their team.
“We’ve been beaten by a better team. They’re very powerful, they make good decisions, and when they get a goal it allows them to pass the ball around a bit. They have a lot of things in their locker.”
Wednesday also passed another milestone: as well as it being the best home league run from the start of a season in 51 years, it is the longest home winning league sequence during a campaign since 1963-64 when vic buckingham’s side stitched together eight victories between october and january: they finished sixth in the top flight.
The owls are showing the knack of collecting points even from games where they are below their best or the opposition have a respectable spell.
Megson was as honest as ever in describing the first half as being so tame it was at times “like a gardening programme”. Maybe he told the players at half-time they had to dig deep.
He did confirm: “i just told them we had to pull ourselves through it. When games are like that, the first goal can’t be stressed enough. We go on and on and on about it to the players. So they need to get that on board, which, to be fair to them, they do.”
The owls should have gone ahead in the 30th minute. There was nothing wrong with gary madine’s volley from ben marshall’s long throw, and if there was a foul by somebody else i couldn’t spot it, after scanning the incident several times at half-time on the club’s tv system.
Megson’s comment: “ridiculous. I thought it was a poor decision.”
Unusually, madine failed to score. He hit the bar with a close-range chance in the 57th minute, and later mistimed a free header - but that turned out to be an assist as reda johnson followed up to ram home the second goal.
Madine, with lovely footwork and a well-struck left-foot shot, also forced the save that resulted in the ball bouncing to rob jones, who slotted home that important first goal.
Megson praised madine: “he was terrific. He led the line, got hold of the ball; he closed down, and was unfortunate he didn’t get on the scoresheet.
“He’s going to get afternoons like that when he plays ever so well but doesn’t score.”
Another player who made post-derby head
Lines, chris lines, had an influence as well. His wicked 22-yard free-kick forced a first-half save; his crisp pass up to madine began the build-up for the first goal, and his free-kick towards madine led to the second goal.
Megson could probably
Go on and on about the positives in his team. He was asked about chris o’grady, who had a shot well saved: “he’s worked his socks off; he’s strong, gets
Hold of the ball; our suporters will appreciate him; the more time they get on board with chris and the longer he plays for us, the better he’ll get.”
Reda johnson produced another strong display: “the only one who thinks he’s not a particularly good left-back is reda,” observed megson.
Wednesday’s win came only a few weeks after colchester lost 3-0 at bramall lane, so ward concluded: “i’m pleased we haven’t got to come back to sheffield. They’re two very good sides.
“If anybody’s going to ask me which is the better, i ain’t going to tell you, because i really don’t know.
“It will probably go right down to the wire over which finishes on top of the other; they’re two very good teams.”
But charlton and huddersfield are currently the only ones keeping wednesday off top spot.