Monday, 21 April 2014

Sheffield Wednesday 2 v Charlton Athletic 3

Jose Riga's team selection ahead of this awkward looking fixture caused understandable consternation amongst Addicks fans. The dreaded trio of Harriott, Church and Sordell returned whilst Wilson was again a substitute. 

As if to prove the point, we raced into a two-nill losing position after only eight minutes and we all began to fear the effective loss of four points as our goal difference looked like taking a battering. I was following the match on Charlton Life but with no Premier League distractions, Sky Sports News was the place to be as Neil Mellor provided frequent updates from Hillsborough and the goals faster than they could be relayed on Charlton Life.

News of a third goal after ten minutes had me momentarily heading for the top shelf for the hard stuff but Neil told us we had levelled and that a striker had scored. Marvin Sordell no less and from a Harriott cross! That eased the tension but I think we all expected Wednesday to score the next goal and soon. Half an hour passed with no more goals but Mellor was more reassuring with every update. None of our rivals were winning either and Birmingham were making a pigs ear of things at home to Blackburn having gone two-down. As I was praying to get in at half-time only one-down, we got the update from Mellor again of a goal and we were only level! Not only that but Sordell had seized on some defensive indecision to score the goal and Mellor said we deserved it.

Doncaster were down to ten men and facing an uphill second forty-five at Millwall. Yeovil were 0-0 at home to Huddersfield and Blackpool were drawing at Brighton. With Barnsley still to concede at Derby it was looking promising and after an hour it got better. Barnsley fell behind, Brighton took the lead we scored an unbelievable third at Hillsborough. Sky showed Marvin Sordell split the centre-backs and run on and beat the keeper. More compliments from Mellor and Addicks the world over were eating their words, rubbing their eyes, poking their ears and generally wondering what was happening.

We appear to have won with minimal fuss after that as Yeovil and Barnsley both lost. Blackpool took a point at Brighton and Millwall were held to a disappointing point for them against ten men.

Amazingly, we now find ourselves elevated to 18th in the table with only two games left for most of those below us. Yeovil and Barnsley need minor miracles now and it really is just a battle for the last place.

As we look for a final hurrah at home on Saturday, Birmingham face Leeds at St. Andrews, where they should be capable of securing three points. Blackpool travel to neighbours Wigan for a derby where the home side will be playing to secure their play-off spot. Millwall will be at QPR for what could be an explosive fixture as the R's look to build confidence ahead of the play-offs which they secured today. That leaves Donny who are at home to play-off chasing Reading. Blackpool, Millwall and Donny could well be as-you-were going into their last match.

On Tuesday, us and Birmingham play our home games in hand against Watford and Wigan respectively and anything from those should be about enough.

Last day then and there is a tantalising possibility that us and Birmingham could be safe and Blackpool, Millwall and Doncaster are left scrapping for the best result with only a point between them. With us able to lose at Blackpool, Millwall will need to get something at home to Bournemouth to overtake Doncaster who will be playing the Champions, Leicester. Squeaky bum-time but we can ensure we are out-of-it before Blackpool and could still play our part in Millwall's relegation, unlikely as it may sound after their recent revival.

I am left wondering how we scored three today and how Marvin Sordell got a hat-trick. I won't change my opinion of him - that he is nowhere near good enough for the Championship - and I hope he returns to Bolton in the close season. It may be that Wednesday were slack today at the back. They have conceded eight in the previous three games and they have nothing to play for. That may be harsh on Sordell but the alternative would be to suggest he is a better player than he has shown for us. He may also have been playing for his future but you think he might have tried a tad harder in the last few months if that was the case? I'd accept that supply hasn't been plentiful given our wing weaknesses and general inability to thread though-balls, but he's still fluffed most of the opportunities he has had. 

For today at least I am raising a glass to Marvin Sordell for a performance that will be remembered for keeping us up as long as we don't contrive to blow it from here.

1 comment:

Geoff said...

Identical reaction to your para 1, Dave, and then it was the garden for me, but roars from No1 Son meant I had to check the score regularly. The texts have been humming from Ireland, Cornwall and down the Thames. Not there yet, but hope. HOPE!

NB Harriott has to be the first name on the sheet for any future match at Hillsborough.