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Watford 2 Sheffield Wednesday 2 (14/03/2009) 14/03/2009

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

Thunks from a very silly game against the Owls

1- I made the mistake of suggesting to ig after about an hour that the ref was doing OK.  The ref then proceeded to lose it completely… Jeffers staying on after kicking Loach was extraordinary, Wood’s yellow card utterly implausible (if he fouled Priskin it was long before the covering defenders arrived), Cowie had a penalty shout ignored and plenty of controversy surrounded Wednesday’s late goal….

2-…none of which alters the fact that after an utterly punchless first half, our domination of the second after being handed back Loach’s earlier gift should have seen us comfortably ahead.  Unlike Wednesdayduring their first half superiority, we had made more than enough good chances to win the game after the break.  That’s where the blame lies… a one goal lead always leaves scope for someone to do something silly. 

3- Speaking of which, I do hope the discussion over whether Jon Harley is a left back is over.  Love him to bits attacking, love his commitment and energy, but you can’t buccaneer forward when there’s nobody behind you from left back.  We need Lloydy back on the left pronto.

4- Lee Williamson’s a decent central midfielder, but one suspects that this was his last outing “in the hole”.  His replacement by Hoskins was as obvious as it was overdue.

5- Credit to Scott Loach, who overcame a howler to command his area for the rest of the game.


1. stephen hoffman - 14/03/2009

Hi i was at the game today in the upper rous – there was a moment in the second half where the Rookery seemed to think watford may have scored from a free kick -thinking goalie may have carried ball over line – i was just wondering any truth to this?

2. JohnF - 15/03/2009

To take the good points; Brendan was willing to change things to make it work, we battled in the second half and looked by far the better team, Tamas worked his socks off throuout and was largely responsible for causing the mistake for the own goal.

I agree Matt that Harley isn’t a left back and he did not have a good game. Why don’t more of these chances fall to forwards. McAnuff took his goal well but when he gets into a shooting position it invariably seems to be straight at the keeper.

The referee and the three big incidents – well if ever a game deserved to be checked to see if there was excessive late betting, this was it. He did everything he could to ensure Wednesday got something out of it. The decisions were mind boggling and I just wonder how anyone could not agree that referees can change whole seasons. Why is there no comeback on these fools and why is the whole referee organisation so secretive!

3. Matt Rowson - 15/03/2009

stephen – it was certainly close, but the lino wasn’t in line. The claims were more vociferous than they might have been, the incident coming off the back of the “professional foul” that didn’t yield a red card.

JohnF – the ref had a stinker, but you win some you lose some in that respect. Show me a fan that DOESN’T think that their side always gets it rough from referees. See thunk 2… we had the chances to render refereeing errors irrelevant.

4. The Great Big O - 15/03/2009

I agree with everything said so far. But what about Wednesday’s own goal, eh? A twenty-yard thunderbolt, straight and true. If Tamas had hit it, we’d have been continuing to purr about his one-on-one finishing.

It seemed inexplicable at the time. Later on I felt – like JohnF – that the ref’s decision-making had the definite whiff of aiming for a certain result. Maybe someone had bet on a half-time draw too.

5. Tim Turner - 15/03/2009

Not sure about the ref being biased – he was just inept. It’s worth pointing out that Jobi could also have gone for a very late tackle; presumably he got away with it because it was by the touchline near the halfway line, and the guy he fouled wasn’t badly hurt. But some refs would still have got the red card out.

Re the 4-5-1: it was obvious to everyone in the ground that it wasn’t working, but if Hoskins really wasn’t fit enough to play 90 minutes, Brenda didn’t have any choice.

Which begs the question: why isn’t he looking to get an attacker in on loan, rather than a midfielder and a defender, as reported? Having sold Ashikodi and sent Robinson and Henderson out on loan, he’s left the squad ridiculously short of strikers.

6. Red - 15/03/2009

The referree didn’t give the penalty, the linesman did-yes the one right in front of the Wednesday supporters.
Fantastic own goal-and strangely I also thought about match fixing- one goalie, one defender and one referee, all in on it. Hows that for a conspiracy.

7. Druid - 15/03/2009

The own goal wasn’t a straightforward thunderbolt; having got away from Priskin, Beevers actually had to put a tiny bit of curve on the ball (clear to see from the Rookery end of the LR) to ensure that it would get past the keeper’s fingertips and still creep inside the post! One of the finest…

8. Back from Hammerau - 15/03/2009

Will Beevers be at The Grove (or whereever) in May to accept the trophy for Goal of the Season?

9. stephen hoffman - 15/03/2009

with the jobi tackle i sit in the middle of the upper rous so had good view of said incidence it looked much worse than it actually was- and the guy made a meal of it -also there were players behind him-therefore only yellow card

as for harley i going to stick up for him in left back – yes he had a bad game today but he’s had many good games there as well- the burnley for 4 years seemed pretty happy with him at left back -and look at how he played against tottenham -kept lennon quiet and played excellently against chelsea. i think no one really came out with credit in our first half performance apart from our saviour will beevers – who apparently used to have prem clubs looking at him-not any more lol.

10. Matt Rowson - 15/03/2009

Disagree stephen re your last point. We were awful going forward in the first half but, Harley and Loach’s aberration aside Wednesday didn’t get particularly close to our goal, or make much in the way of chances given their dominance in the middle of the pitch. Williamson (M), Mariappa and Doyley were all at least passable in the first half.

11. Brian - 16/03/2009

Harley actually made a great tackle, slow-mo reveals that the Wendy fella dived … and SIX minutes, what was that for?

I’ve a feeling that all those shouts of “you don’t know what you’re doing” etc. just got the officials backs up and they conspired to ‘do us’ towards the end.

12. stephen hoffman - 16/03/2009

i didn’;t think williamson in the first half was anywhere near his best the amount of times he gave the ball away and looked more hesitant than usual.

13. Weymouth 'Orn - 16/03/2009

Red (7) is right about the referee and the penalty.

Wednesday supporters coming out the ground said:
a) it was a foul
b) the ref crossed his arms in that play-on thing they do
c) when he looked to the lino the guy had his flag across his chest.
So maybe the lino was right and the ref not?

Anyway, I reckon Beevers must now be the best one-on-one finisher in the Division.

14. DM - 16/03/2009

With you on all five Matt.

I do hope that first Wendy goal won’t lead to a chorus of calls for Loach to be dropped. Young goalkeepers make mistakes, goes with the territory. That he rcovered well only adds to his growing CV. We have a very good keeper in the making and must show patience with him.

Re: L Williamson starting in the hole. Poor choice, quickly rectified. If Hoskins wasn’t considered fit enough to start, surely it would have made sense to start McAnuff in there, who should be capable of at least a passing impression of Tommy Smith, and give Cauna a chance to shine on the left wing?

15. DM - 16/03/2009

NB – Mean to type McAnduff or Cowie…

As you were !

16. DM - 16/03/2009

Where’s the bloody delete button Rowson !!!

17. Dan - 16/03/2009

Hmm, well a point each was probably a fair reflection of the play overall. Doesn’t stop a penalty in the 6th minute of injury time being a sickener though.

At least we have further proof, as if it were needed, that 4-5-1 / 4-4-1-1 / 4-1-3-1-1 / whatever the hell it is, is just not going to work with the players we have. I thought Willo (L) did ok, and that he should have stayed on with Jenkins getting a rest at half-time, but that system just completely blunts us regardless of personnel. It blunts the crowd, too. Much better after half-time, getting the ball forward and wide and putting some pressure on the creaky Wednesday defence.

The referee… good God. When he managed to find fault with the first half kick-off I suggested to my dad that we might have a right one here, and so it proved. (I also called the 6 minutes of injury time correctly too – lottery numbers are available for a small fee…)

Was it just me who saw a little bit of H in Jobi’s insane charge across the pitch, which was always going to lead to a Wednesday player being left on his backside. Great stuff!

18. Johnny Boy - 16/03/2009

Tend to agree with all the points made and although Williamson did not do it ‘in the hole’ I felt it was fair he was given the opportunity, and when it didn’t work , it was rectified.
Does anyone else think, and I am not sure if this is a good point or bad, that having been a team who were good/notorius for wasting time in the closing minutes – who can forget Jordan Stewarts long treks accross the pitch to take corner kicks, extratime substitutions etc. On Saturday there was none of that, we kept going forward and, personally, I liked that eventhough it probably lost us the game, but then again there had been other opportunities for us to win it – but what do I know.

19. Wat4Steve - 16/03/2009

Difficult not to talk about the ref as he was that bad.

1 – Where did 6 minutes of injury time come from?

2 – Why was Jeffers on the pitch to take the penalty after kicking out at Loach?

3 – Why have decided it was not a penalty did the ref let his linesman overrule him without even going over to talk to him?

4 – Why was Wood not sent off for a professional foul?

5 – Why do we always get crap refs?

20. Wat4Steve - 16/03/2009

I thought we played 4-4-1-1 all be it with Williamson in the hole, whether or not it or would ever work is a different debate. 4-4-1-1 has worked in the previous 6/7 games Dan so why the change of heart?

Harley, I thought Doyley was left back v Chelski? Surely whilst Hoyte had a poor game at Plymouth he has to be better option at right back, with Doyley at Left back than Harley at left back? He may have been a half decent full back once but IMO his legs have gone.

I have always found it strange that a player not 100% fit should start on the bench. Surely the laws of averages say he starts and comes off when he is done?

21. Dan - 16/03/2009

Wat4Steve – The first half formation was absolutely not what we have been playing recently, with Willo quite clearly playing in an attacking midfield role rather than as a supporting striker. It restricts our approach play to the middle third of the pitch, and Priskin consistently left his central role to go and win the ball out wide only to find that no-one else had filled the hole in the middle. Cork was sitting behind Jobi, Jenkins and Cowie (whereas in the second he played as part of a central duo with Jenkins). Consequently we created absolutely nothing, much like the early days of Buck’s reign where we played the same way. I think I’ll settle on 4-1-3-1-1 to describe it, even though written down that just looks ridiculous.

Contrast that with the way we set up after the break, and indeed against Forest with Rasiak and Priskin. Tommy, I’ll grant you, hasn’t played as an out-and-out second striker but he has very much formed part of a front two rather than taking an attacking midfield role. Essentially it’s 4-4-2 bordering on 4-2-4, with four attackers encouraged to make runs and move around – and it’s great to watch.

I suppose it’s possible that with a change in playing staff, and a pre-season behind us, we can make the other formation work. But even if we do I bet the football isn’t half as fun as the last few games have been.

22. stephen hoffman - 17/03/2009

my apologies got it wrong-meant tottenham game with harley.

23. JohnF - 18/03/2009

Interesting stats. This season while Aidy was in charge for 17 league games we won 4 drew 3 and lost 10 then under Malky we had 1 win and 1 draw, while under Brendan for 18 league games we won 8, drew 3 and lost 7.

September was when it started to go pear-shaped and of course a run of poor results, whether due to the team performance or, in the case of Reading (H), the officials, dents confidence and vice versa. The question is how resilient is that confidence with 3 tough away games on the trot?

Nine points from nine games would certainly see us safe, 6 might but uncertain and 3 I’m sure would see us relegated. The change around under Brendan actually bodes well but we may yet have issues with injuries and the mental toughness of some very young players.

24. Daf - 18/03/2009

A little off topic but I found this interview with Neil Cox very interesting. As if we needed cofirmation of what was happening behind the scenes……….


25. Matt Rowson - 18/03/2009

Certainly interesting Daf, but hardly “confirmation”. It’s Cox’s opinion… no doubt honestly held and represented, but his interpretation of events. Kinda damning, admittedly… but one bloke’s take.

26. Simon - 19/03/2009

I think it’s always difficult to know exactly what to make of an interview like that. As you say, Matt, it doesn’t look too good but Cox had a bit of a reputation at the time for being very opinionated and not scared of rubbing people up the wrong way and he undoubtedly left on less than happy terms so his views are understandably likely to be slightly slanted.

I found it interesting, though that “some of the lads were owed up to 70,000 or 80,000”. Assuming “some” was not just the odd one or two, that leaves a few of them on £17,000 per week give or take. No wonder we imploded so spectacularly when the ITV money fell through.

27. toby - 19/03/2009

i dont know wether anyone noticed but jeffers took the penalty from in FRONTof the spot. the lino that gave the penalty should have noticed this either bringing the ball b ack or dissallowing the goal. if it had of been on the spot scott loach would have svaed it because it was just out of his reach from infront. jeffers is a total co**.

28. simmo - 19/03/2009

JohnF – I am probably making the same point as you but with a different slant. We seem to concede a lot of late goals which cost us points.

Having checked the stats for this season, so far we have conceded 11 goals in the last five minutes plus injury time costing us 9 points. We have scored 4 goals in the last five minutes gaining only two points from those late goals. An extra 9 points (or 7 if you balance it out) and we would already be safe. If you add in an extra 2 from the Reading game and perhaps we would be on the fringes of a play off place

Are our players mentally tough enough or do we lack fitness to play 90 minutes +?

Sorry to come over a bit Aidy Boothroyd with stats but I do think they illustrate a concern.

29. Fran - 19/03/2009

Simon, Where do you get the 17K per week from? Coxy said it was 9 months’ money, so approx 39 weeks. 80K/39 = approx 2K/week.

30. Matt Rowson - 20/03/2009

The 80K constitutes the 12% deferral Fran, not the entire salary?

2K/0.12= 16.67K…

31. Fran - 20/03/2009

Oops, brain not working.

Thanks, Matt

32. GraemeB - 20/03/2009

What’s most interesting about the Cox interview is his claim that Simpson offered to repay to him the entire deferment from his own salary if the captain could persuade the other players to take only 70 per cent of theirs. Neil of course refused, and told the rest about it — you can imagine how that went down in the changing room!
I do take your point Matt that the interview represents only Neil’s take on events, but whether or not Simpson did make such an approach is surely a matter of fact, not opinion, and Cox says there were others present when the offer was made. It’s hard to believe that he would make such a thing up, and although Simpson apparently tried to retreat by claiming the remark had been a joke, no-one believed this.
A fascinating insight on our ex-chairman.

33. JohnF - 20/03/2009

Simmo, a good point and not one that I was making. Is some of this due to desperation to “keep them out” because we have allowed ourselves to retreat too deep and so we put ourselves in the position where such decisions can be given?

34. Daf - 21/03/2009

Fran – It is almost impossible to believe isnt it. When you next look at the East Stand you now know where at least some of that money that could of been used went. Incredible.

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