Sheffield Wednesday vs Charlton Athletic: Breezy win as Owls charge into the playoff places
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It was a confident and competent display that started in the best possible fashion and before some Wednesdayites had settled into their seats.
Indeed, the match was only six minutes old when George Byers, he who joked early in the season as to his questionable record with the ball in the air, expertly deflected Barry Bannan’s swinging free kick past Craig MacGillivray in the Charlton goal.
Of the midfield trio, it could have been argued that it was the former Swansea man that had received the lesser of the plaudits in a transformative few weeks for Wednesday’s season, quietly going about his business as Massimo Luongo and Barry Bannan gathered headlines.
But it is the trifecta in equal parts that have made the difference, their attributes complimenting one another as they go about controlling matches.
Marvin Johnson was once again on the left and the front two played their part; Saido Berahino, fresh off that Doncaster goal, was quietly excellent, dropping in and opening things up for those around him. To the Charlton defence, Callum Paterson was a big Scottish headache.
And it was the headache that finished off a lovely move on the stroke of halftime. Massimo Luongo, relatively quiet on the ball up to that stage, released Johnson with a perfectly weighted ball, for the in-form wide man to push a ball across with similar quality to find Paterson lurking with intent.
Let’s have it right, the opposition were not up to much on the day. Johnnie Jackson’s side arrived on the back of four defeats on the spin and looked worthy of every inch of that stat; tired, leggy and lacking in ideas.
A word on the sand-sprinkled pitch, a factor that played a part in conversation leading up to the match but in truth – barring one ball that bobbled over the foot of Jack Hunt – had little impact on the action itself.
Darren Moore has spoken about the Owls’ hankering for a smooth Hillsborough playing surface. All things considered it passed the test, but the ground staff will be praying the rain stays away ahead of the visit of Burton Albion on Tuesday. Sometimes, life’s a beach.
The outlook is certainly sunny for Wednesday at current, who are back in the top six after months of oh-so-nearly. Their second half display was breezy rather than breathtaking but at no stage did they let their grip on the game loose.
They’ll have tougher tests, but from back to front Wednesday dominated Charlton. Moore will tell you there’s a long way to go in this season, the players too.
As for the ‘oh-so-nearlys’? That of course remains to be seen.
Sheffield Wednesday: Peacock-Farrell; Storey, Hutchinson, Palmer; Hunt (Gibson, 78’), Luongo, Byers, Bannan (Sow, 90+2’), Johnson; Berahino (Kamberi, 71’), Paterson
Subs unused: Wildsmith, Iorfa, Brennan, Brown
Charlton Athletic: MacGillivray; Gunter, Lavelle, Famewo; Matthews (Jaiyesimi, 30’), Gilbey (Fraser, 71’), Dobson, Morgan (Stockley, 46’), Purrington; Lee, Burstow (Leko, 60’)
Subs unused: Pearce, John, Harness