Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sheffield Wednesday Match Report - 19/8/6

Argyle 1 Sheff W. 2

Wotton (pen) 42: McAllister 51. O'Brien 82:

Attn: 14,507.

McCormick 5, Connolly 5, Doumbe 5, Aljofree 6, Hodges 5, Norris 7, Wotton 7, Summerfield 6 (Djordjic 6 ), Capaldi 4 ( Buzsaky 6), Hayles 6, Chadwick 6 ( SEB 7).

Subs not used: Sawyer, Reid.

Argyle suffered their first loss of the season as Sheffield Wednesday nicked the points in typical Sturrock style. Holloway changed the team from the Sunderland game and dropped Ebanks-Blake in favour of Chadwick, otherwise it was as you were.

Well that was a bit of a shambles.

Why have a lovely manicured pitch when the ball spends as little time as possible on it? Why boot the ball as high and as far as possible to two shortish strikers playing against two tall lumbering centre backs?

After producing my season ticket wallet and membership card and then my voucher and then my passport and driving licence and inside leg measurements I was eventually allowed into the ground.

Wotton and Coughlan shared a frosty handshake, not looking each other in the eye at the toss up. Sheff W had the first chance when a ball through the Argyle defence for Wade Small left Doumbe and McCormick in confusion, McCormick could have come out but stood his ground. Luckily Small shot wide when he should have scored.

As torrential rain poured down, Norris won a nailed on penalty as he latched onto a through ball from Hayles and was hacked down from behind in the penalty area. Out on the streets it would have been classed as GBH and 4 years inside. Wotton was just about to pick the ball up and place it on the spot when the ref (Mr Melin) waved play on! Hey, how is that then? Why didn't Melin give it? What about the linesman? He was closer and didn't give it!

Wotton then had a 25 yard free kick sail narrowly wide.

At the start of the game Capaldi lined up at left back but as the game progressed both he and Hodges alternated between left back and left midfield. This just didn't work at all. Time after time Wednesday exploited this as both Hodges and Capaldi were caught upfield, it was left to Aljofree to come across and provide the cover, getting injured and receiving a yellow card on one occasion.

And then the ref did give finally Argyle a penalty, which is just as well because he never gave Argyle anything else! Hayles chased a stray back pass to Jones, the Wednesday keeper had run out to near the corner flag to clear it. The attempted clearance hit Hayles and rebounded into the area. With Hayles now advancing on goal he was brought down by the desperate Jones. The ref had a look at his linesman, who was further away but made the decision and gave Argyle the penalty. As Jones was the last man he had to be sent off, those are the rules. Not according to this ref they're not! Jones just got a yellow card! Now Wotton could place the ball on the spot and thump it in, low and hard. 1-0.

Overall the first half didn't offer much excitement.

And so on to the now traditional half time entertainment provided by Djordjic.

Would Holloway change it around and tell the players not to hoof it as far as possible only for Coughlan and his equally tall mate to head it back? No. But Hodges did stay at left back.

And then disaster, which could have been avoided. O'Brien broke down Argyle's right and put in a great cross, Hodges and Aljofree got sucked into the middle, McCormick flapped and there was McAllister at the far post. Not to worry Capaldi would have tracked him back. Except he didn't. The unmarked McAllister had time to pick his spot and shoot. 1-1. Basics, basics, basics.

Argyle did show some urgency, especially after Buzsaky and Djordjic were introduced, but the ball was still booted high to Hayles and Chadwick and, yep you guessed it, Coughlan headed it straight back.

Ebanks-Blake replaced Chadwick, but Sheff W could have taken the lead when Brunt lobbed McCormick but his effort hit the top of the cross bar. McCormick just didn't inspire any confidence to his defence, who were all jittery.

Argyle now enjoyed a purple patch and at last put some pressure on Coughlan and co. but just as the game seemed to swing Argyle's way, Sheff W broke away and Kenny Lunt (or is he called Lenny?) put O'Brien away with a great pass. O'Brien coolly slotted past McCormick to make it 2-1.

In the closing minutes Ebanks-Blake could have grabbed a hat-trick. First his header from a Buzsaky free kick was saved on the line by Jones, the Sheff keeper. And then with Argyle piling on the pressure Hayles hit the crossbar, Ebanks-Blake shot just wide and then came the chance of the game in the last minute - Ebanks-Blake got on the end of a cross and with the goal at his mercy he headed over. What a miss!

Game over.

It's work in progress for Holloway but some of the play baffled me. Hodges and Capaldi didn't get to grips on who was playing left back. This confusion contributed to Sheff W's first goal.

Chadwick and Hayles didn't gel. I didn't think Hayles was contributing much until he won the penalty. He didn't get involved much in the second half either. I suppose it's difficult when the ball isn't played to feet. Ollie - Evans isn't here anymore!

Capaldi disappointed me, he was at fault for the first goal, he just didn't stay with his player.
It was obvious the players were allowed to express themselves, Norris left his position on the right several times and wandered across the forward line, a hanging offence when Pulis was in charge. Sheff W. won every ball in the air, in defence and attack, even though all their strikers are injured. Lack of height in the Argyle team is being exposed. We need that "beast" pretty darn quick, actually we need two "beasts", one up front and one in defence.

Still one defeat after 4 games isn't bad but after todays performance Holloway has a lot of work to do but don't worry Ollie, we are all behind you.

MOM: Norris


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