“Let me tell you a story about the time it didn’t go wrong…” – FIVE talking points as Sheffield Wednesday banish some demons at St. Andrews

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Sheffield Wednesday fans are no stranger to late disappointment, so when it doesn’t happen, there’s something to shout about.

Hearts were in mouths at the end. Whether it was yours truly in the stadium, my old man listening on radio or the hundreds of supporters watching on iFollow – those last 20 minutes felt like a hundred.

And it was weird, because it was just a league game. No more important than any that had come before it. But that win against Birmingham City felt big – and the celebrations afterwards showed that it wasn’t just the fans that felt that way.

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Now, with the dust settled and Garry Monk and his team already turning their heads to Brentford, I took a look back at some key talking points from the Owls’ trip to the Midlands.

Let me tell you a story about the time it didn’t go wrong…

The importance of a 1-0

Well, 1-0 wins are important. They’re the games when you maybe don’t deserve to win, but snatch one and hold on. Or, as was the case on Saturday, it’s those games where you create loads of chances, manage to take one of them and then show some mettle to cling on after the late onslaught that almost always comes from the opposition.

Sheffield Wednesday are now on -4 points after their win over Birmingham City.Sheffield Wednesday are now on -4 points after their win over Birmingham City.
Sheffield Wednesday are now on -4 points after their win over Birmingham City.

Wednesday have dropped so many points from winning or drawing positions in recent memory that fans can be forgiven – I think, anyway – for almost expecting what happened against Queens Park Rangers… As I’ve said before, that felt different because of the 10 men, but ultimately it was the same result. Three points were turned into one – and Monk and his team were left frustrated.

Saturday could easily have been another one of those. If Callum Paterson hadn’t just done enough to badger George Friend into heading just wide or if Joost van Aken (more on him later) hadn’t done what he did to stop Jonathan Leko – but they did do those things.

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Ultimately, Wednesday should’ve been out of sight by halftime. Adam Reach’s great effort early doors, Josh Windass’ freekick off the post, Paterson’s header just wide, were all excellent chances to have made it so.

In the past the Owls have been made to rue those misses, but not on Saturday. On Saturday they got their first 1-0 win of 2020, and it feels – for now at least – like a bit of a watershed moment.

Joost van Awesome

Van Aken has been much maligned by Wednesday supporters. Largely because he happened to have his worst game in a blue and white shirt in the most watched, most judged game possible.

When the Dutchman arrived in England I think most of us could see the makings of a good player there. His technical ability cannot be questioned, but he did (self admittedly) need time to adapt.

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I was lucky enough to talk to JvA earlier in the week, and one thing he told us was that he chose to go to Germany because he felt like it would be more beneficial to getting his SWFC career back on track than returning to Holland. Turns out he might be right.

But that attitude, the fact that – despite the vitriol – he never wrote himself off at Wednesday, even if others did. That’s the sort of character I’m here for, and it’s the sort of character that Wednesday need this season.

His block from Leko was as good as a goal, for me. And it typified his resurgence and the general attitude of this group of players.


Even though it got a bit sweaty towards the end, there was nothing much to write about regarding Cameron Dawson – but I’m going to do it anyway.

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I’m not sure what Darryl Flahavan and Monk have said to him, but Cammy looks like a different player this season. It’s like they’ve reinjected him with a confidence in himself that looked to have been completely drained out of him by that fateful day at Griffin Park.

At St. Andrews he wasn’t asked to do much, but everything he did do looked comfortable. Coming for crosses he looked composed, and his handling in general was everything you want it to be – uneventful.

You could see after the game how much the clean sheet meant to him, and hopefully he can keep proving a few people wrong for a long time to come.

Huddle FC

I don’t know about you, but this feels like a very likeable Wednesday team. Monk’s done a bang up job of getting some real personalities in to add to the ones that were already there, and there seems to be a lot of ‘us against the world’ about them.

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The picture of Dawson and debutant, Aden Flint, giving JvA a big ol’ hug at the end showed that, as did the fact that everyone was there to join Barry Bannan (who, as an honourary Aston Villa fan, will have enjoyed his goal) to celebrate what proved to be the winner.

I asked Paterson about that after the game, and it’s not a forced togetherness. This lot really care about each other, and about the battle ahead.

He told me, “That’s what we’re like behind closed doors, and we want to send a message that we’re like that all the time. It’s good to see, it’s good for everyone to get involved.”


Massimo Luongo at centre back you say? Surely not? You must be wrong.

I wasn’t.

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He was fluid, he drifted between the centre of defence and the holding midfield role, but he was once again fantastic. The discipline it requires to play the role he did yesterday cannot be understated, and the Australian international is very quickly becoming a key component to Monk’s Wednesday machine.

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