SWFC NotLive: Player ratings from Sheffield Wednesday's 2005 League One play-off final win over Hartlepool

In an attempt to fill the football-shaped hole left by Sheffield Wednesday’s suspended clash with Bristol City last night, our man Alex Miller fired up the YouTube and ‘live blogged’ the Owls’ historic 2005 League One play-off final victory over Hartlepool United.

Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 12:00 pm

All two-and-a-half hours of it.

A recap of all the action – from kick-off to Drew Talbot’s pulsating final kick – can be found right HERE.

But retrospectively speaking, who did the business and who wilted in the Cardiff sun? Let’s take a look at the retrospective player ratings from a memorable day in the Welsh capital.

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David Lucas – 7

Made a couple of good saves but was ultimately beaten twice on a day that Hartlepool produced little.

Came to collect Pools’ second and didn’t get there, but rallied late on to produce one save of real class and help take the Owls into extra time.

Paul Heckingbottom – 8

Happy days: Wednesday scorers Glenn Whelan, Drew Talbot, Steven Maclean and Jon- Paul Mcgovern celebrate their win.

A typically committed performance from the left-back, who dealt with the threat of Humphreys and Williams manfully.

He offered danger going forward at times, too, laying on a couple of sumptuous crosses. The sort of display that could bring frosted tips back into fashion.

Richard Wood – 8

The younger half of Wednesday’s nightclub bouncer pairing at the back, Wood stood up to every challenge on the day, crashing into challenges and dominating aerially.

Should really have spent his career at Wednesday.

Lee Bullen – 8

Should have done much better for Pools’ opener but made it up for elsewhere with a lion-hearted captain’s performance. Iconic.

Alex Bruce – 7

The youngster could have got out to stop crosses better but Bruce faced up to the challenge and handled the pressure.

Off for Collins on 75 minutes in what was a game-changing triple substitution.

Chris Brunt – 8

Brunt didn’t quite have his shooting boots on and spurned a couple of chances, but between the boxes he was a menace, driving at the Hartlepool defence and delivering good service into the front two.

Craig Rocastle – 8

Threaded play together nicely and shielded the defence from any threat of Pools’ runs from midfield.

Tired late on and was dead on his feet in extra time, but earned leeway on that front. His best Owls performance?

Glenn Whelan – 9

The best player on the pitch by several miles. Took his goal – a rare one – with real class, and ran the show from start to finish.

Seemed to run all day and was as effective in defence as he was in attack. A deserved man of the match performance

Jon-Paul McGovern – 8

What a threat. Bagged Wednesday’s opener in the right place at the right time and provided a constant outlet.

Jinked his way in and out of the Hartlepool defence on more than one occasion and looked as though he was playing a league too low. Dodgy hair.

Lee Peacock – 7

Not quite his day offensively, but together with Quinn he battered the Pools defence, holding up play for the Owls midfield to bob onto.

A hugely committed performance typical of the man. Off for young Talbot with 15 remaining.

James Quinn – 7

Quinn only bagged two goals in his Wednesday career but offered so much more in a five-month spell.

Ran his socks off and bullied defenders. Deserved a goal to cap an eye-catching performance. Off for that man MacLean.


Steven MacLean – 8

Wrote himself into Wednesday legend by scoring the 82nd minute penalty that took them to extra-time.

Hadn’t played for three months and had only started training three days previously. A heroic performance.

Drew Talbot – 9

Won the penalty for MacLean’s vital equaliser and bagged himself a dream goal to seal it.

Patrick Collins – 7

The talented youngster battled hard and broke up play but his radar was slightly off going forward.


Paul Sturrock – 10

There must have been so many times he found himself thinking about bringing top scorer MacLean on.

As it happened, Sturrock timed the sub to perfection, along with the introduction of Talbot. It was the ballsy triple-sub changed the course of Wednesday’s history.