Monday, 24 February 2014

Sheffield Wednesday 1 v Charlton Athletic 2

Blimey Old Reilly! Fasten your seat belts lads, those misfits have only gone and done it again. 

I was convinced we would go out of the F A Cup tonight at Hillsborough. Our form has been poor of late with too many disjointed player comings and goings. The managers contract still hasn't been sorted out yet and I have been waiting for the wheels to come off. Saturday's tight victory over a misfiring Super-Hoops hadn't convinced me, even if I took it heartily.

I decided to try again and join the world of the streamers. Something I haven't been able to do successfully previously. All that pfaffing around registering on dodgy-looking sites and not getting to watch what you wanted had put me off previously. Tonight, however, I persevered. I knew we were one-up because I heard the newsflash over the commentary of the Hull v Brighton match as I drove home. Eventually I found OleOleTV, whoever they are, and a straightforward stream of the action. It was pretty crappy quality but I strained my eyes and imagined what our 1947 Cup Final victory would have looked like at home on a screen about the same size as my i-pad. All I needed was black-and-white.

As it was it took me a good fifteen minutes to come to terms with who was playing in the red shirts. I couldn't miss the swashbuckling Wilson who was defending the right-hand side of our box. Morrison's prowling walk was also recognisable through the granulated pixels but there were others I wasn't familiar with. Our goalie was white, which was unexpected, but his beard has grown so much since I last saw him that it took me a minute to recognise Ben Hamer between the sticks. His conversion to Islam became more familiar as the match wore and his punching, sprawling and flying saves became ever-more desperate. 

Richard Wood emerged alongside Morro in central defence and they were shepherding a young Morgan Fox in for Rhoys Wiggins. In front of them Johnnie Jackson appeared with Jordan Cousins, a grown-up looking Diego Poyet and Calum Harriott who had scored our opener. Simon Church ran the line with the unfamiliar partnering of Astrit Ajdarevic.

Having battled to maintain our early lead, Wednesday equalised around 58 minutes I think, when from a free-kick they knocked down a header which Charlton loan target Leon Best swept into the top corner. It had to be him and I thought we would be washed away after that. Wednesday certainly threw everything at us as the aerial bombardment intensified but Morrison and Wood stood tall. Wilson fought for every inch and Fox and Jackson tidied-up around them. Wednesday forced last desperate challenges and squandered a couple of close-range free-kicks as we held our breath.

Eventually we released the pressure and from a rare forward foray Miguel Lera handed us a chance after conceding a free-kick and earning a booking as he did it. From the deep ball into the centre from Jackson, a host of red shirts poured forward and the one furthest forward was that tryer Simon Church. Churchie timed his run perfectly and was bravely in before a charging keeper and got just enough on it to head home. 

Game on and for ten minutes Wednesday blew it. Instead of focusing on the task in hand and getting at us, they lost it a bit and several more names went into the book as player after Charlton player were bundled off the ball or kicked up in the air. Glenn Looven's agricultural challenge was typical but it played into our hands. They did manage a header off the inside of the post which looked like it may have crossed the line but Hamer scooped it out and was clearly this side of the line as he did so. 

It was all hands to the pumps in the dying minutes as we made our staggered changes but the Wednesday crowd were heading for the exits and the first-half of our Sheffield mission has been completed. I wrote after the Huddersfield Cup victory that it was "beginning to look a lot like Millwall." That continues to be the case and with the lowest ranked league club left in the competition as our quarter-final opponents, we almost look favourites to make a Wembley semi-final appearance in a proper cup for the first time in my life. Quite amazing given the upheaval of this season. It would, of course, be typical Charlton to go and fall flat on our faces at Bramall Lane but after this evening's performance, I have a gut feeling we will see that one out too.


801912601 said...

Think there will be a great turn out for this one - lets hope we get as many tickets as we can. Wonder what the chances are of some special trains being arranged.

Dave said...

801912601 - are you Barry?

Anonymous said...

Dont think there will be so many going looking at the sunday 12oclock kick off. Shame would of been biggest turnout outside of london for sometime.just booked travel lodge sheffield for the sat cant face the coach journey.heres hoping for a wembley day out. Dave the train.

801912601 said...

Hotel booked for Saturday night - there are a few of us travelling up to enjoy the northern delights. Looks like a few different attempts are in the planning for mini buses and coaches but dont fancy leaving at the crack of dawn. (and Yes I am Barry)