Sheffield Wednesday and Monty Python – FIVE talking points from the Owls’ defeat against Middlesbrough
Seagulls circled the Riverside like vultures waiting to pick at the carcass of a fallen Sheffield Wednesday side – but, because of results elsewhere, there was nothing to feed on.
The Owls, after their latest defeat, bore a resemblance to the old fella thrown over John Cleese’s shoulder in Monty Python and the Holy Grail…
“I’m not dead!” he says. “I’m getting better.”
“No you’re not,” comes the reply. “You’ll be stone-dead in a moment.”
He ends up on the death cart in the end, and it’s hard to see how Wednesday don’t suffer the same fate. Chucked onto a cart of teams who – despite former glories – are condemned to fall further down the English football pyramid.
Wednesday aren’t dead yet, but they’ve got a hint of The Black Knight about them now, and the latest defeat ‘tis certainly not just a scratch.
Josh Windass gave them a bit of hope from the spot after Andre Green was brought down after some great work in the box, but after forcing it back to 1-1 they led things slip in the second half to fall to a 3-1 loss that left them four points adrift of safety with just six points to play for.
Here are some talking points from a miserable day in Teesside.
If there’s one thing that they’re doing more of under Darren Moore, then it’s creating chances. They’re getting into better positions, managing more shots on goal, and look much more of an attacking threat than they have done for most of the season that’s gone.
But while Windass’ recent output of four goals and four assists in his last nine games is admirable, they’re still not taking the chances that they need to win football games.
Boro had less total shots yesterday (14/18), and less shots on target (5/6), but managed to score three while the Owls had to rely on a spot kick to get themselves on the scoresheet.
Windass at 1-1 and Jordan Rhodes at 2-1 both had glorious chances to alter the course of the game, but the opportunities were spurned and Boro made them pay.
It’s nothing new, but it’s still just as frustrating.
Missed chances part two
It’s not just the literal missing of goalscoring chances that’s the problem. How many times this season have Wednesday been given an opening – a chance to close the gap on whoever might be above them – and they’ve not held up their end of the bargain.
Yesterday was another one of those days.
Boro have nothing to play for, really. While Wednesday are clinging on to their Championship status for dear life – and a defeat could well have sealed their fate today.
But for now, the football gods keeping working their favour. Both Derby County and Rotherham United lost, so even though defeat was a heavy blow for the Owls, it wasn’t the death knell that it could’ve been.
The Rams and the Millers losing isn’t a new thing though… They’ve lost their last five and four games respectively, but Wednesday haven’t been able to capitalise – today being just the latest example of it. Those two points dropped in the dying embers against Bristol City could be the difference between staying up and going down, and soon enough their luck with regards to other results will run out.
Probably the only positive to take out of the Boro game was the performance of the former Aston Villa man… Green looked a threat, and was definitely Wednesday’s best attacking outlet in a game where they created enough chances to take something from the game (again).
The 22-year-old hasn’t had the ideal start at Hillsborough as he dealt with a bit of an Achilles injury, and it was only his second start for the club, but he looks like he’s at least trying to make up for lost time.
It was some twinkletoes from Green that won the penalty for the equaliser, and he could’ve had a couple of assists too if chances were taken. He created both the aforementioned Windass and Rhodes chances, putting it on a plate for the pair really.
He said afterwards that they ‘can’t keep doing the things we’re doing if we’re going to get out of this’, and he’s right, of course.
When Lees stays down, you know it’s bad. He doesn’t go down easily, and he stays down even less often. So when you see him banging the floor in agony, you fear the worst.
It’s an ankle injury. They don’t know the extent of it yet, but he left the field on a stretcher and there’s a strong likelihood that he’s played his last game of the season, and – because of his expiring contract – possibly his last for the Owls.
It’s never nice to see a player get injured, but the circumstances of this one make it even worse for the experienced defender. He’s needed in a relegation scrap, but it could also have serious repercussions for his career. If it’s serious, he may well find himself in a bit of limbo without a contract next season – it’s all very precarious.
He was taken to hospital during the game, and now Wednesday wait to see how bad it might be.
Bad day for Börner
It was one to forget for the German… It was his mistake that let Yannick Bolasie in for the opening goal, and there were a couple of times after that that he looked far from comfortable with the ball and made a few questionable decisions. There was some big credit due in the first half when he pulled off a brilliant block to stop the hosts getting another, but a questionable clearance of his led to the third goal, and it’s certainly not a game he’ll be looking back on with any sort of fondness.