Frowns, downed and Izzy Brown: talking points from Sheffield Wednesday's powderpuff defeat at Brentford

Three in a row, then. 15 to go. There’s still a lot of football to be played, but the odds on their relegation are sadly dwindling..

Thursday, 25th February 2021, 6:00 am

Sheffield Wednesday fell to a 3-0 defeat at Brentford that could have been more. Hey, it was better than their last visit to the Bees.

The Owls huffed and they puffed but in the end they just didn’t have the quality to match their title-chasing opponents.

Embrace some group therapy in a few talking points.

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Osaze Urhoghide battles for the ball in Sheffield Wednesday's defeat to Brentford.

The first goal..

Let’s get it out of the way. It was ugly. And when Wednesday concede first this season they lose, every single time.

The ball seemed to bounce around in the Wednesday box for a decade, everybody looked at one another and then Brentford scored. A full 24 minutes had gone by this stage and the Owls had been firm at the back, Tom Lees in particular impressing.

And then that. Bryan Mbeumo, usually such a threat with his head, nodded home.

Nobody took responsibility, nobody showed the sheer ‘to hell with this’ to get rid of the thing. And they paid the price as teams do against good Championship teams.

For large periods, particularly in the first half, Wednesday weren’t terrible at Brentford, but they were terrible in the moment that mattered. The second was far too easy, the third was weak and in truth Brentford could have had a couple more.

When you haven’t picked up a single point from behind all season, they are lapses you simply cannot afford to make.

..and on that

Come on now. Time is time. Sheffield Wednesday have now played 31 games this season without fighting back to win a single point.

In a little over 10 weeks time they will know for absolute certain what division they’ll be playing in next season, indeed, they may well know earlier than that.

How many games do they need to win between now and the end of the season to stop up? Anything between quite a few and a lot. You fancy they’ll have to reverse their ugly statistic before then.

In isolation, it’s a stat that suggests a lack of fight, when in fact it’s more down to the fact any obvious route to goal is unknown.

Punching light

The painful reality may well end up being that at the end of the day, they just don’t have enough.

Wednesday worked and pushed and tried, but there was steel missing from their defence and a complete lack of bite in their attack.

Brentford centre-half pairing Winston Reid and Ethan Pinnock had one of their more dominant days at the back. They just weren’t tested.

Reach all over

You’ve got to feel for Adam Reach, who throughout his surely a victim of his own versatility. His better performances have come out wide this season, providing crosses early to the likes of Callum Paterson and Jordan Rhodes.

Shuffled back into the middle following Liam Shaw’s suspension, it was a move that offered more legs in the middle of the park alongside Barry Bannan and Sam Hutchinson, though he was played further forward alongside Elias Kachunga.

And like others tasked with getting the attack going, he struggled and was replaced by Fisyo Dele-Bashiru before the hour was out.

Brown and out

Just how far has he fallen down the pecking order? A exciting new face under Garry Monk who seemed to show promise going forward, he watched on as rookie Dele-Bashiru wandered on in his place.

That’s nothing against the former Manchester City youngster, who recorded a classy goal for the Owls’ under-23s last week.

It wasn’t until there were 15 minutes left and the 20-year-old hobbled out of the game after a nasty one from Dalsgaard that he was given a chance. The question is; if not then, 1-0 down with a game there to be opened up, when will he get a proper go?

Super setting

The Brentford Community Stadium is an arena built for Premier League football, of that there is absolutely no doubt.

Everything about the place is to top tier standards, from the concourses to the Premier League-mandatory replay screens in the press box.

The investment of owner Matthew Benham has been a huge driver in their ever-increasing fortunes, but the fact is that this is a facility built by a long-term strategy and vision.

There has been a clear roadmap to this point for several seasons. Other clubs would do well to take note.

No Westwood

The Owls will be without their number one for a wee while. Joe Wildsmith was named ahead of Keiren Westwood pre-match, who jumps onto an injury list including Massimo Luongo and Andre Green.

“Gutted I’m not with the lads tonight,” the former Republic of Ireland stopper posted on social media shortly after the team news was released.

“I’ve been playing with a pain in my ribs for the last two weeks which I put down to being bruised.

“But an x-ray has confirmed I’ve broken my ribs. Football is a contact sport and unfortunately these things happen and I’ll try to get back as soon as I can.”

Broken ribs don’t tend to be particularly quick healers and now Wildsmith has another chance to push his case, you have to wonder whether Westwood, out of contract at the end of the season, might be in danger of having played his last game for the club.

Teams

Brentford: Raya, Dalsgaard (Roerslev, 85), Reid, Pinnock, Sorensen, Janelt, Jensen, Ghoddos (Zamburek, 85), Canos (Toney, 66), Fosu (Dasilva, 75), Mbeumo (Emiliano, 85)

Subs unused: Daniels, Pressley, Gilbert, Bidstrup

Sheffield Wednesday: Wildsmith, Palmer, Urhoghide, Lees, Penney, Harris, Bannan, Hutchinson, Reach (Dele-Bashiru, 55 (Brown, 77)), Kachunga (Paterson, 77), Rhodes

Subs unused: Jackson, Borner, Dunkley, Pelupessy, Hunt, Windass

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