A rare shootout victory and a Penney for your thoughts: SIX things we picked up after Sheffield Wednesday got off to a winning start – sort of.

It had the feel of a preseason friendly. A preseason friendly after a remarkably short preseason that feels crammed into a small period of time… Oh wait.

Sunday, 6th September 2020, 7:00 am

Sheffield Wednesday secured their spot in the next round of the Carabao Cup on Saturday afternoon after a drab 0-0 draw that saw Cameron Dawson turn hero in a rare penalty shootout win for Garry Monk’s Owls.

It wasn’t the comfortable victory that many were hoping for, but a win is a win (even if it is only via penalties), and the Owls will be in the hat when Phil Babb gets his hands on those balls a little bit later today.

There are still plenty of questions to be asked ahead of Saturday’s visit to Cardiff – Adam Reach up front? Really? – but for now, let’s look back at that Walsall win.

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Cam’s back in business

Wednesday stopper, Cameron Dawson, looked like a broken man after that 5-0 defeat to Brentford all those months ago, but against the Saddlers he looked like a man reborn in terms of where his head is at.

Granted, he didn’t have too much to do, but when he was called upon he did his job excellently. His handling was good, he looked comfortable when he was – rarely – tested, and he saved a penalty to give the Owls the upper hand.

It’s going to be a tight battle between Damson and Joe Wildsmith if Garry Monk’s comments are anything to go by, and the fact that new goalkeeper coach, Darryl Flahavan, can’t pick between the two shows just how close the Wednesday graduates are.

Elev8 were on the front of Sheffield Wednesday's shirts on Saturday. (Pic Steve Ellis)

Penney for your thoughts

He looked good, didn’t he? After a loan spell in Germany with St. Pauli, Matt Penney was always expected to get a fair crack of the whip this season under Monk, and he certainly made use of the half an hour that he was given.

Despite spending only 30 minutes on the field, Penney walked away with the Man of the Match award from Sky Sports, and did plenty to warrant it. He looked like a real threat down the left hand side and could have had a couple of goals to add to his performance on another day.

The Wednesday academy graduate has definitely put his hand up for a start against Cardiff next weekend, and the fact that Wednesday did seem to improve when he got on the field is testament to his impact. Maybe him at LWB and let Harris have a run on the right?

That Brown/Bannan connection

We saw glimpses… Brown was really good and Bannan was solid, but there were patches where you could really see the potential partnership that could blossom between the two going forward.

Izzy looks really accomplished in his role, he’s full of energy, is big, strong and intelligent, and – like Bannan – seems to have a real eye for a pass. There was some lovely bits of link-up between the two of them, and you have to feel like that will only get better as time goes on.

It’s nice to see Baz getting some help in the creative department.

Reach up front? Maybe not for the last time…

‘False nine’ was call from some when we saw the starting XI. Others simply said, “No striker?!” But Monk’s post-match comments suggest that it may not be the last time we see Reach leading the line for the Owls this season.

He said after the game, “I spoke to Adam, I think it’s a case of this season - with the system that we’re using - where can we play him where he’ll be most effective?

I spoke with him and we both agree that centrally is where he’s going to be most effective… He can play deeper than that, and I think in certain games there will be situations where - not as an out-and-out striker - he can be effective.”

Monk does agree with I think everyone else though – SWFC need another striker.

Third time’s a charm!

Wednesday don’t end up in many shootouts.

But after 90 minutes passed today, the Owls were on the verge of losing three shootouts in a row. After losing to Huddersfield Town a couple of years ago to miss out on another Play-Off final, it’s been almost a decade since SWFC actually managed to come out on top on penalties – the last time was beating Blackpool 4-2 in the League Cup back in 2011.

Not only did they win the shootout, but they did it in style as well. Barry Bannan, Josh Windass, Kadeem Harris and Brown also slotted home expertly, and that confidence under pressure is certainly a positive.

Elev8 yourself

There has been talk of Wednesday getting themselves a new main shirt sponsor this season, but Saturday’s game showed that that hasn’t happened yet, with Elev8 being the technical sponsor and shirt sponsor at Banks’s stadium over the weekend.

The white Elev8 logo on the new away shirt actually looked pretty good on the grey camouflage, but it’ll be interesting to see if it’s there again against Cardiff or whether ‘Chansiri’ or even possibly another brand will take its’ place.

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