Been there, done that, got the t-shirt – FIVE talking points from Sheffield Wednesday latest disappointment against Bristol City
It’s all too familiar isn’t it…
Sheffield Wednesday really had a chance to make the improbable possible on Saturday. With Derby County losing on Friday night, a win would’ve set them up so nicely going into the final four games.
And it was looking good.
Julian Börner put them ahead, and then Bristol City were down to 10 men not long afterwards. But Barry Bannan missed the penalty given for Henri Lansbury’s apparent handball, and it always felt like it could come back to bite them.
But they kept playing, they kept creating chances. Liam Palmer hit the woodwork, and several others missed chances to add to their lead as stand-in manager, Jamie Smith, watched on.
So after chance after chance was spurned, you could feel the collective intake of breathe when Tyreeq Bakinson let rip with three minutes of normal time to go. It just felt inevitable.
Another opportunity missed, and another step closer to League One.
Here are some talking points:
The red card/penalty fiasco
It was all a bit mad, really… Lansbury jumped and put up his hand after Callum Paterson’s mishit his shot into the ground and it looked to be bouncing goalwards.
There were loud claims by Wednesday players for a penalty and a red card as they said he’d tipped it over the bar, but there was confusion as practically the entire press box missed the decision to send him off. We all went full on Chris Kamara.
The back and forth on the pitch meant that Bannan was left holding the ball in his hands for quite a while before taking his spot kick, and it’s often those situations that lead to misses.
Technically it was saved, but it wasn’t a penalty that the Owls captain would’ve been proud of, and it proved to be vital.
Looking back with the luxury of replays now, it doesn’t actually look like Lansbury did handball it, and while questions will be asked of why his hand was up there in the first place, there may well have been a case of justice being done from a Robins perspective.
He said in an interview that it’s tough to reflect on good personal performances when the results are coming, and no doubt he’ll feel the same way after what happened in yesterday’s game.
The attacker has now directly contributed to six goals in his last seven games for Wednesday, scoring two and grabbing four assists as he tries to play his part in The Owls’ survival.
He’s played down the middle, through the centre and also as more of an attacking midfielder, and has been a key component in any of the success that they have had in recent weeks under Moore.
His assist for Börner’s opener was his sixth of the campaign so far, overtaking Bannan on five and solidifying his place at the top of the goal involvement chart with 13 in total.
Wednesday may still go down, and in all likelihood they will now, but the former Wigan Athletic man has certainly does his level best to avoid that drop.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt
We all wish that conceding late goals and throwing away leads was something that was a rarity for the Owls after dropping two more points at Hillsborough, but that’s far from the truth.
Bakinson’s goal was the 14th time that Wednesday have conceded in the final 10 minutes of a Championship game this season (they’ve only scored two in that slot, by the way), and made it the 11th time in the current campaign that they’ve failed to win a game in which they were leading.
Only seven clubs in the entire league have led in more games that the Owls (22), but only Wycombe Wanderers have won less. In total they’ve dropped 27 points from winning positions, and it’s been an issue for some time now.
So it was no surprise, but it’s still tough to take.
They just don’t have the ability to see out a game, and that’s the sort of stat that explains why they are where they are.
Get well soon, Gaffer
It was a nice touch from Wednesday, who all came out to warm up with a t-shirt that had a message for the absent Owls boss, Darren Moore, on them.
But while Moore, who is recovering from some serious aftereffects of having COVID-19, will have appreciated the gesture, he’d have much preferred all three points.
He’d have no doubt been furious that his side threw away another lead, and it certainly won’t be helping his stress levels.
It remains to be seen when he will return, and his assistant, Smith, says they can only hope that it’ll be before the end of the season.
Respect the process
We’ll never know what would have happened if Moore had been brought in earlier, but it does feel like he’s already managed to make improvements – even if the results haven’t been what he’s looking for.
Against City, Wednesday had 20 shots on goal and made 15 key passes compared to seven shots and two key passes in Tony Pulis’ last game in charge. Sadly both of those games ended with the same result though.
Moore needs time to recover, but when he’s ready he needs to be given free rein to make the changes he wants and rebuild this Wednesday team. And everybody else needs to respect the process now, because there’s a long few months ahead.