Is it over yet? An F-bomb and full focus – Heroes and Villains from Sheffield Wednesday’s drab draw as Stoke City are held at arm’s length
There wasn’t much to report from Hillsborough to be honest, although it’s a first clean sheet for Tony Pulis as Sheffield Wednesday managed to keep his former employers at bay.
Stoke City are one of the top scoring teams in the Championship this season and have unlocked plenty of defences over the past couple of months, but on a cold evening in South Yorkshire, a commanding Wednesday backline stood firm.
It wasn’t easy to pick heroes and villains from a game where hardly anything happened, but here we go…
Wildsmith didn’t have a great game, but that was only because he had pretty much nothing to do over the course of 90 minutes – but when he was called into action, he played his part superbly.
They always say with goalkeepers that the key is staying focused when you’re not busy, and Wildsmith did just that. After almost an entire game where he dealt with one – tame – shot on target, the Wednesday academy graduate got down low late in the game to keep out a good effort from Sam Vokes.
It came through a lot of bodies and will do Wildsmith the world of good after getting his place back from the injured Keiren Westwood. Wednesday have conceded so many late goals over the past couple of years, that it’s nice to see that level of focus to the very end.
The German’s return to form continued at the heart of the back four, and it looks as though he’s back to his best for Wednesday now.
He’s resurgence began towards the end of Garry Monk’s tenure, and has very much continued under Pulis – he’s arguably been the Owls’ best player over the last few games, and seems to be returning to the composed, confident ball-playing centre back that emerged at Hillsborough when he joined the Owls.
He also gave the journalists one of the most exciting parts of the afternoon when he dropped an F-bomb in his post-match interview.
Tony Pulis’ defensive work
It’s clear that the new Wednesday manager wants to start work from the back, that he wants to build a strong backline so that even if SWFC don’t score, they don’t lose the game.
The Owls needed to fix up their leaky defence, and they needed to stop conceding late goals – in terms of that, it was job done. And they did it against a Stoke side who have one of the most in-form strikers in the league – Tyrese Campbell – at their disposal.
And a villain… The ref?
I thought Tim Robinson had a pretty decent game to be fair, even if there were a couple of calls that both benches clearly didn’t agree with.
His main downfall, however, was giving us five minutes extra time in a game where I think they could’ve played for another three days and still nobody would have scored.
He probably should have done everybody a favour and blown his whistle bang on 90 minutes.
Jokes aside though, I thought he handled the game well despite handing out a fair few cards.