Sheffield Wednesday: Youth boss Neil Thompson calls on young Owls to be more clinical after derby defeat
Owls Under-23s manager Neil Thompson is demanding his side improve at both ends of the field following their home defeat to Hull City.
Robbie McKenzie’s second half brace sentenced Wednesday’s young guns to a second loss on the spin in the Professional Development League yesterday.
McKenzie’s double came inside the last 14 minutes of the contest at Middlewood Road after Matt Penney had twice beensuperbly denied by Duson Kuciak.
The Owls, with England Under-18 international George Hirst leading their attack, were outplayed in the first half and could have been trailing had it not been for the heroics of goalkeeper Dan Wallis.
“It was a proper football match and people had to compete,” said Thompson, whose side were narrowly beaten by Crewe Alexandra last week. “We didn’t get close enough to them in the first half, although saying that I thought we had the best chances. One or two were off the pace a little.
“I thought we looked a lot better in the second half but we just conceded goals at critical moments in the last 20 minutes.
“We are disappointed with the final scoreline but it was a good game and we had a few young ones on at the end so it was a good education for them.”
There were positives for the Owls as Wallis excelled again in between the sticks, Connor O’Grady was rock solid at centre-half, Warren Clarke looked assured on the left wing before switching to full-back and Franck Betra made his first appearance in over two years after recovering from a serious knee injury.
Thompson said: “The bottom line is we need to be better at both ends of the pitch. We played some good football at Crewe but didn’t score any goals and it was the same against Hull.
“It’s not as if we didn’t create any chances against Hull as we did. We just need to put them in the back of the net and be a bit more ruthless.
“And it’s imperative you keep a clean sheet. We should have stopped Hull’s first goal at source.
“There was not much between the two sides but we just fell short.”
Wednesday’s development squad are next in action on December 12 at home to Leeds United.
*Owls: Wallis; Lee, O’Grady, Thorniley, Penney; Centeno (Betra HT), Murphy (Rodney 77), Hayford (Kirby 61), Clarke; Clare, Hirst. Substitutes: Walker, Preston.