Snarling, silding and a word we can't print: Sheffield Wednesday start with a bang at Cardiff
It’s all well and good coming up with the goods when everything is rosy.
But what was notable about Sheffield Wednesday’s performance in their 2-0 win at Cardiff City was the togetherness of a unit that held each other in a huddle post-match.
It was also in the adoption of a word we can’t print. A modern football colloquialism taken from a term for an old, outdoor toilet and meaning a embrace of the slightly darker arts. You know the one. The one that is most often associated with Cardiff City.
But there was far more to a committed, competent away display. All this with the black cloud of a 12-point deficit and the expectation that whatever happened in Wales would set the tempo for the battles ahead.
Their first goal, something of a gift in its genesis but expertly taken advantage of by first Izzy Brown and goalscorer Josh Windass, was a catalyst for how they went about their business; aggressive, renewed, confident.
Their second the stuff of dreams, an assist for that man Windass and a most Jordan Rhodes of Jordan Rhodes goals; a tap-in that Wednesdayites will hope signals the start of something for their record signing.
They defended with confidence, overcoming one or two lapses in the opening throes, rolling with the lost first balls to man-mountain Keiffer Moore and generally, in the main part, doing their job. Could the home side done more with their vast periods of possession? Of course they could, but they were limited by an Owls defence that held their line and showed up for the battle.
If there was a moment that typified the unity shown on a sunny Wales afternoon, it was on the half-hour mark, when Joost van Aken slid in to intercept Jordi Osei-Tutu with the timing of the talking clock.
With all eyes on the Dutchman, making his first competitive Wednesday appearance in an incredible 770 days, he’d struggled with Cardiff’s physicality up to then, giving away too many free-kicks and looking shaky.
But that tackle brought the Wednesday bench, strewn across the lower reaches of the stands, to its feet. Their roar would’ve been worthy of a goal, so loud it was. They were behind their man.
It was apparent not only on the pitch but in the technical area. Garry Monk, so often seen without shoulders slumped on a dugout since the middle of last season, stood on the side of the pitch as if he owned it, his staff behind him and his players in front.
He kicked every ball from the side, together with Andrew Hughes instructing every defensive line, pushing every press, demanding more, more more.
And more they got. In many ways, the most impressive part of the Owls’ display was perhaps their least dominant, resisting the Cardiff attack for a 15-minute period in the first half that in months gone by would’ve seen them cower, crumble and concede.
Just about everything you wanted to see happen came off; goals for two forwards, a clean sheet and three points.
One small step it may be for Sheffield Wednesday, but for now at least it feels like a giant leap into the season. Minus-nine, the perfect start.
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