Angry Sheffield Wednesday fans call for Xisco’s exit after Swansea City capitulation
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Before the season had started Wednesdayites probably wouldn’t have had Swansea away as an important game, just a typically tough trip to South Wales to face a side that they’d hope to get something from if things went their way.
But things have changed since the fixtures came out… Both teams went into this game in search of their first victory, both managers already under increasing pressure, and both sets of fans reaching points of desperation that they didn’t think they’d be experiencing so early in the season.
Back in yellow the Owls started relatively brightly, Anthony Musaba – given a start after his goal in midweek – had an early sniff after being found by Lee Gregory but couldn’t get the ball out of his feet, and then the forward got a chance of his own after a perfectly-timed run saw him receive the ball and sting the hands of Carl Rushworth.
But as the game grew increasingly physical stoppages became more regular, and Michael Duff was forced into a change with just 10 minutes on the clock after an injury to Nathan Wood. Harry Darling replaced him.
The first half for the most part looked like what it was, two sides low on confidence and struggling to make things happen – so when Pol Valentin grabbed a handful of Josh Ginnelly’s shorts the Swans attacker made sure he took his chance. Down he went, Anthony Backhouse pointed to the spot, and Jamal Lowe made no mistake from the spot. 1-0.
After that, Wednesday seemed to fall apart. They hadn’t been great before, but following the goal it went to pieces. A foul throw from Valentin summed things up, and on the other wing Juan Delgado wasn’t able to make any sort of impact. Mistakes crept in everywhere, and Swansea nearly made it two before the break when Liam Cullen found the back of the net only to see the linesman’s flag go up.
Xisco made no changes at the break, opting to give them a bit longer to try and turn things around, but it quickly became clear that it wasn’t going to happen. The away end flitted from angry to self-deprecating, chanting for the exit of the manager and the owner, Dejphon Chansiri, before singing ‘We’ve got the ball, we’ve lost the ball’. The Marvin Johnson version of Shakira’s ‘Waka Waka’ also did the rounds.
Just two players in the starting XI remained of the 14 that played at Wembley just four months ago, and it’s hard to fathom just how much has changed since that fateful day under the arch. Calls for the manager’s head grew louder and Wednesday lost their way further and further – Josh Windass and Callum Paterson were introduced to try and get back into things, but things weren’t going to get any better.
When the chips are down things don’t go your way, something that Bambo Diaby realised as his close-range effort cannoned off the crossbar, and moments later it was 2-0 as Jerry Yates firing past Devis Vasquez – who’d looked shaky on the ball on a couple of occasions. Fast-forward another three minutes and it as 3-0, Charlie Patino clipping it past the Colombian after he found himself one-on-one.
Disjointed and toothless Wednesday bumbled along, a change in formation to a back four not providing much respite, and Duff will have breathed a sigh of relief as it became apparent that he’d be getting that first win after all.
Michael Smith and Ashley Fletcher came on, as did George Byers, but the Owls’ race was run. According to those in the away end Xisco’s is, too. Chants of ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’ rang through the chilly Swansea air, and as Wednesday slipped to the bottom of the Championship table it’s difficult to see a way back.
Last season it felt like the pieces of the Sheffield Wednesday jigsaw were being put back together, like they were fixing themselves from the inside out – bit by bit. Over the summer that jigsaw has been sent flying. They’re in trouble, and at some point something’s got to give.