*insert Halloween pun here* - FIVE talking points from Sheffield Wednesday’s dire defeat at the bottom
Four defeats in a row. Three games without a goal. Sheffield Wednesday are now eight points away from the 23rd-placed team in the Championship – there was a full moon on Halloween this year, and the Owls find themselves in a bit of a scary situation.
It was better than it was against Rotherham United, but nowhere near good enough. While you probably can’t fault the player’s efforts at Adams Park on Saturday, they simply didn’t have the quality to break down a Wycombe Wanderers side that were chasing their first ever win in the second tier.
Both teams had chances, there could have been more goals, but it was the hosts who took all three points after David Wheeler’s goal on the stroke of halftime saw them take the lead and an impressive defensive display made sure that they kept it.
It was another afternoon to forget for Garry Monk and his Owls, and there were plenty of talking points.
It’s a worry, isn’t it? In six games over the course of October, Wednesday scored only three goals. One was a penalty, one was an own goal, and the other came in the defeat to Brentford so wasn’t able to get any points on the board.
They could’ve scored against Wycombe, they could’ve had a couple even, but there were no really clear-cut chances, and that’s probably the most worrying thing. They’re lacking a killer instinct, and have been for a while. Basically ever since Steven Fletcher got injured, really.
Up against a defence that has conceded 16 goals so far this season, the Owls weren’t able to find a key to unlock it and were effectively limited to long-range efforts that Ryan Allsopp was more than capable of dealing with.
The defence has been a problem with all the injuries, of course. But you can’t win football games if you can’t score goals, and Monk needs to find a solution quickly.
The Dawson/Wildsmith battle continues
It was always going to be tight between Wednesday’s goalkeepers, Cameron Dawson and Joe Wildsmith. Wildsmith got the nod against the Chairboys, and to be fair to him didn’t put a foot wrong – he’ll surely keep his place against Bournemouth?
It did look as though Dawson had done enough to be considered as Monk’s number one for the season ahead, but he didn’t really leave the manager much choice after playing his part in all three of Rotherham’s goals earlier in the week.
So in came Wildsmith, and he made a couple of really good saves in both halves to keep Wednesday in with a chance of a fightback, and – an early miscue aside – looked confident in his kicking as well.
You’d expect to see him in goal in the next game, and the number one spot is probably his to lose now.
Probably the only real positive…
It was good to see Dominic Iorfa back, wasn’t it? The reigning SWFC Player of the Season has been missed desperately since he picked up a hamstring injury prior to the 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers, but after about a month on the sidelines he was back in the XI.
It didn’t take long for the centre back to show his importance to the side, making some key interventions early doors for Wednesday. He also did a pretty good job in keeping Adebayo Akinfenwa quiet, giving as good as he got in what was an interesting battle over the course of the game.
The fact that he got through the game unscathed is probably the only real positive to take from the day out to be honest.
Everybody knows Adebayo Akinfenwa. The Beast. And in his 600th league game on Saturday, the long-serving Wycombe frontman showed exactly what a nuisance he can be – even at the age of 38.
The man often referred to as the strongest man in football, was a constant thorn in the side of Wednesday’s backline, winning numerous headers, using his body to cause problems and he also came close to getting on the scoresheet as well.
One thing that is worth noting is that his mere presence feels like a threat. There was some really panicky defending at set pieces from Wednesday, and while Iorfa did deal with him reasonably well, there’s no doubting he played a big part in Wycombe’s win.
And speaking of Akinfenwa, there was a meeting of old friends as the man they call ‘Big B’ reunited with his former Swansea City teammate, Monk, but some fans weren’t too happy with the fact the Wednesday manager was seen smiling with his old friend once the final whistle had been blown.
It’s got quite a few Wednesdayites riled up, but it should probably be taken for exactly what it is – two old friends, greeting each other after a hard-fought game of football.
People know the kind of character Akinfenwa is, he’ll probably have tried to say something to lighten the mood and Monk has reacted exactly how most of us would’ve done if a mate greeted us in a similar situation.
While it’s understandable that some fans are upset to see the manager smiling after the run of results the club has had, his interview after the game showed how unhappy he is and he’s certainly not taking the situation lightly.
It’s probably not as deep as it’s being made out to be.