Owls stuffed

With well over 3 minutes on the clock, no Sheffield Wednesday outfield player had touched the ball. That is is a very long time in football. Possession reverted to Town seconds after the impertinence and a totally dominant half hour followed.

It was difficult to believe that a more dysfunctional, lackadaisical and puny outfit than QPR would grace the stadium this season and beyond, but Wednesday managed to dip under that low bar just a few days later with a performance which genuinely mocked the reputation of Tony Pulis.

“Hold my beer”, as the over worked social media phrase goes.

The time and space the men in appropriate grey afforded Town was impossible to predict before the game and Town attacked at will with great movement and pace down left and right.

Pipa, who oozed quality all evening, had the first effort following the prolonged spell of possession from the kick off while O’Brien finished a flowing move with a scuffed effort which flew wide. The energetic midfielder is still honing his game following his injury and it feels like it won’t be long before those refinements return him to the player he can and will be.

The Terriers’ haughty dominance looked certain to break the hapless visitors and more great work on the right by Pipa saw him drift inside and find Koroma via a dummy by Campbell. The prodigious youngster easily evaded what can only be described very loosely as his marker and side footed the opener with the casual confidence of a striker in fine form.

With no sign of resistance from the Owls, the hosts continued to pile forward and Mbenza was caught half a yard offside from an excellent through ball by Campbell as he rifled a shot past Wildsmith.

The rejuvenated and rehabilitated Belgian then took a marvellous touch in the area to avoid a committed defender but couldn’t match the set up with a finish and shot wide.

Still driving forward, and probably not believing their luck at playing against an extraordinarily passive opponent, Koroma was played in behind Palmer who, in the full and certain knowledge that he would lose the foot race, body checked him. Up stepped Mbenza to hit a perfect free kick over the wall and in to the top left corner. Wildsmith got a hand to it but it was token resistance to an inch perfect set piece execution.

If Town ever do get a penalty this season, Mbenza had left no doubt that he should be the taker.

Koroma, brimming with effervescent confidence danced along Wednesday’s back four after yet another pacy, incisive break with O’Brien rampaging through a yawning midfield space, and fired a shot just over.

An injury to Hogg and his hopefully precautionary withdrawal rather changed the dynamics of a game which could barely have been more comfortable for the home side, and his departure, or perhaps their growing embarrassment, spurred the South Yorkshireman in to some sort of life.

With Town unbalanced (the choice of Bacuna over Vallejo as Hogg’s replacement was a little curious) the visitors forced a couple of corners. A free header from Lees at the back stick forced Hamer in to his first meaningful action of the night, punching competently away from danger.

More danger was created following a surge by the previously anonymous Luongo, but Sarr, rather painfully, blocked Windass’ effort. It was the first, scant evidence of threat from the Owls and the disruption of Hogg’s departure was a little uncomfortable up to the break.

Bacuna suffered a nasty blow to the face in an accidental collision with Reach following a corner as half time approached and Town rather scruffily got to the dressing room with their goal intact, 2 up but perhaps in need of some regrouping. Wednesday’s reception in their dressing room was anybody’s guess but no doubt Pulis delivered some calm encouragement to his charges.

The second half began brightly for Town who regained some of the vibrancy of the first half hour and Pipa released Bacuna in to the area. Rather than taking on an obvious shooting opportunity, he checked back to successfully bamboozle Iorfa who ploughed in to him to concede Town’s first penalty of the season.

There was a small yet easily dismissible case for the person who drew the foul to take the penalty as Bacuna, Mbenza and Koroma, with good nature, grappled for the honour. The democratic process saw a guy scoring for fun and enjoying sky high confidence, a man who had just added another fantastic set piece goal to the one he popped in at Birmingham lose out to a guy who had suffered a painful head injury just 20 minutes previously.

There is a thin line between bravado and arrogance, which Bacuna managed to stride over with a terrible penalty which went well wide.

Rather than burying a lightweight opposition and crushing whatever affect a Pulis half time team talk may have had, Town were left to manage a game which should have been way beyond the seemingly relegation bound opponents.

Encouragingly, Town did just that, even after further disruption caused by a worrying injury to Koroma who stumbled awkwardly following a typically adventurous surge in to the box.

Mbenza, continuing his excellent form, delivered a great cross which invited but did not receive someone taking a chance to connect. With Toffolo concentrating on defensive duties, most of Town’s good work came down the right involving Pipa and Mbenza but it was too sporadic.

Wednesday saw more of the ball in the scrappy second half but other than a decent effort well saved by Hamer from Windass and the forcing of a few corners, Sarr and Edmonds-Green were rarely troubled. Both exuded calm, particularly the youngster, and with Toffolo staying further back to assist on the left and centrally, it was a comfortable passage to a straightforward and deserved win.

A second home win on the bounce was soured by the injuries to Hogg and Koroma which will further stretch already thin resources and creates unwelcome problems for Corberán with games against far better opposition than he has faced in the last few days.

Jayden Brown’s energetic appearance was useful but it is difficult to see him carrying anything like the threat of Koroma, while Vallejo’s first appearance was far too short to provide clues to his effectiveness as Hogg’s understudy should the team’s engine room fail to recover quickly.

A trip to high flying Bournemouth without Schindler, Stearman, Hogg and Koroma makes the challenge even more daunting, but at least the points collected to ensconce Town firmly in mid table means that defeat, if it happens, won’t be particularly damaging.

But get a penalty taker designated, Carlos!






2 thoughts on “Owls stuffed

  1. Brilliant report again Mr. Glegholt! Really couldn’t understand why Bacuna took the penaltym the miss left us looking uncomfortable at times when we should have been out of sight 💙💙

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  2. Excellent report, as ever, Martin.
    But…
    No “y” in Jaden, and…
    “whatever affect a Pulis half time team talk may have had” – “effect” not “affect”

    Sorry – the teacher in me just won’t let go and it seems such a shame to let these simple errors mar such a good effort. 😊

    Kind regards and stay safe,

    Roger

    [cid:image001.gif@01D4EF8B.1823D0C0] Please visit my HTAFC memorabilia website at https://huddersfieldtowncollection.wordpress.com/

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    Like

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