Sheffield Wednesday: Narratives everywhere as George Byers and Liam Palmer shine against Bolton Wanderers
Goals from George Byers and Liam Palmer secured all three points for Wednesday as they got exactly what they came for at the University of Bolton Stadium: three points, a clean sheet, and a strong performance.
Thousands of Wednesdayites made the trip to cheer on their boys in yellow, and they will most certainly be heading home with big smiles on their faces...
The Palmer narrative
Not many players can say they’ve played 350 games for the same club, but Liam Palmer joined that list at Wednesday this afternoon as he clocked up his three and a half century at the University of Bolton Stadium.
There was a nice touch for him before the game had even kicked off after it was revealed that he’d been given the captain’s armband despite Barry Bannan returning to the Wednesday XI – the best he’ll have been hoping for, probably, was three points and a clean sheet.
But the football gods, and Josh Windass, had other plans…
Palmer’s day got even better when his number 11 expertly slid a defence-splitter through the Bolton backline, and the skipper made no mistake as he fired past James Trafford and into the back of the net.
Chants of ‘He’s one of our own!’ were belted out from the away end, and it’s certainly one of those days that he won’t forget.
The Byers narrative
Football’s funny like that, isn’t it… It finds ways to put a cherry on the top of so many stories and themes. Palmer’s was one of them – Byers was, unequivocally, another.
After the drama of midweek, with slapped palms and heated words, there were a lot of eyes on Wednesday’s number 14 today. Many were wondering if he’d even start the game.
But Moore said that it was water under the bridge, and proved that as he handed him a starting berth against the Trotters. A good performance from him would’ve been enough, but again, more was to come.
Bannan and Johnson combined fantastically down the left after an error gave Wednesday an opening, and the popular midfielder was right where he needed to be to slot home front relatively close range.
His celebration? Belting down to the away end at the other end of the pitch, of course. He’ll have enjoyed that, and so he should!
The debut narrative
It was as tidy a debut as you could wish to see from Mark McGuinness… He was brought in to add to the Wednesday backline, and we were told that he was comfortable on his left, hence the decision to bring him on board.
Well, not only did he have a strong debut in terms of his own performance, but he also brought strong cover to Marvin Johnson when it was required, and he looked like a player that’s been playing and training in this defence for months – let alone a couple of days.
He won all of his aerial duels (3), had a 100% tackle success rate, made as many clearances as the whole Bolton side combined (6) and wasn’t dribbled past even once. That’ll do nicely.