An inspiration and walks to the shower: Heroes and Villains from Sheffield Wednesday's FA Cup win over Exeter City
Sheffield Wednesday maintained their winning ways to progress in the FA Cup, and there were plenty of positives to come out of the victory over Exeter City.
Adam Reach opened the scoring after smashing home a sweetly-struck left-footed half-volley inside the area following a lovely ball over the top from Barry Bannan, before Callum Paterson – who has now scored three in three – sealed the deal with a tap-in from a remarkable run and set-up from Liam Shaw.
A COVID-hit Owls named just four subs on the bench and had a host of teenagers in the side, but put in a professional showing to get the job done at St James Park and book their spot in the next round.
We took a look at the heroes and villains from a good win away as Wednesday made it five games unbeaten in all competitions.
We can’t talk about last night’s game without speaking about the 19-year-old Wednesdayite who stole the show.
Shaw kept up his impressive run of for the Owls as he started in the heart of defence for Andy Holdsworth, and took on a leadership role in between Ciaran Brennan and Ryan Galvin.
Not only did he stop everything that came at him from a defensive perspective, but his assist for Paterson was straight out of the top drawer. Fans understandably want his contract situation wrapped up as soon as possible.
Dec Thompson (and his dad)
You won’t find many better football stories this week than that of Wednesday youngster, Dec Eratt-Thomson.
The 18-year-old was one of three youngsters who made their first appearance for the club on Saturday, but his story means that it’ll probably mean a bit more to him.
He spent years in a wheelchair as a kid after being diagnosed with Perthes disease, with a career in football seeming almost a pipe dream. Fast-forward to now, and it’s incredibly heart-warming to see the teenager make his professional debut, and you have to check out the video of his dad – an assistant at Stocksbridge Park Steels – watching it happen. Lovely stuff.
Brennan and Galvin
The duo had a bit of a shaky start, but they grew into the game massively and completely justified their starting berths… Brennan made more clearances (4) and interceptions (5) than any other Wednesday player, and Galvin attempted (and completed) more tackles (5) than any other player on the field.
Both players were able to stamp their mark on the game with a number of vital interventions in their respective roles, and Andy Holdsworth – a man who has seen them both develop – was understandably delighted with the way that they performed against some experienced Exeter players.
This was certainly the villain this week. Wednesday were hit hard by COVID-19, with the club only able to name four substitutes because of the lack of players actually available for the tie.
It will have robbed a number of fringe players of the chance to stake their claim for a starting berth going forward. Thankfully nobody is struggling health wise, but we wish them all a speedy recovery from whatever symptoms they are dealing with.
It did give us a remarkable picture of Ciaran Brennan and Joey Pelupessy walking pitch side in just their towels to get to the showers, though.