Question of the Week
What should happen to the EFL Trophy next season?
26/08 Sheff Wed 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
Grimsby Town 0 Sheffield Wednesday 1
26 Aug 2000, Nationwide League Division 1
Butterfield was replaced by Black at half time. D Smith went to left back and Black to left wing. For the first minute or two it seemed to pep Town up, they were a little sharper in attacking. But only a little. Nothing of any note whatsoever occurred in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Apart form the booking of a Wednesday player (for kicking the ball away) This was about 30 seconds after Pouton had thrown the ball away in a similar incident. Di Piedi complained to the referee that he hadn't booked Pouton, so the referee brought the free kick 10 yards forward. Yes that was THE excitement on the first 10 minutes.
Sheff Wed rarely got near the Town goal, through tactics (they got "tighter" and sat back), and better defending by the Town central midfield, especially Coldicott. Town still played a lot of longer balls up to the heads of Clare and Jeffrey, or over the top. There was very little penetration, with the wingers rarely being passed the ball in the last third of the pitch. Pouton seemed to spend an inordinate time 35 yards from the Town goal, receiving the ball facing McDermott. The Sheff Wed tactic of pressing right up to Town players when they received the ball worked a treat. It's like they'd seen us before! I don't recall Sheff Wed having many efforts on goal until the last 10 minutes. A couple of long shots (the nearest/best of which was an attempted curving chip with the outside of the boot, following a breakaway. There wasn't enough elevation or pace and Coyne saved easily) and few crosses and, the most dangerous, when Hinchcliffe floated a free kick to the far post and it went over everyone. The last player was a completely unmarked Sheff Wed forward, 6 yards out. They got the free kick when the referee decided the Sibon had been cynically upended by Coldicott. He'd actually trodden on the ball and fallen over. Ahh continental skill, honed at Ajax you know. None of our players could do that, could they. Excepting, Pouton who tripped himself up in the first half doing one of his "step-overs".
It must have been very close as three players ended up in the side netting as the ball was cleared. Town had a penalty appeal when a shot was charge down in the area, the ball bounced to Black, in a central position. He sliced a volley a couple of feet wide, despite having plenty of time and a clear sight of the goal. Sheff Wed nearly scored another when they broke away in the last 5 minutes. The ball was eventually worked to the spare man on the Town left. From about 8 yards out, to the left of goal, the winger smashed a drive to Coyne's left. Coyne dived and parried away for a corner.
A minute later Town had the best chance of the game, perhaps the only clear opening. A cross from Town's left was sent deep, towards the far post. As Livvo challenged, the ball rolled to Clare, alone about 12 yards out almost on the penalty spot. He slipped as he tried to shoot and the ball squirmed in a strange arc past Pressman's left hand post. Now that should have been a goal.
After that Sheff Wed broke away, got a corner, time wasted and that was it. Three points to the mundane team in white, nothing to the perspiring striped ones. The players were applauded off, mainly because they had tried so hard, if ineffectually. Several players looked below the standard required, being just not up to it at this level. We produced virtually no "football", that thing we are supposed to be renowned for, the only danger was created by McDermott surges and balls lumped into the box for Livvo/Groves. Raven had a very good game (unlike Des Walker he can head straight) as did Mcdermott (despite a couple of dodgy passes forward). Pouton flattered, but produced little, Coldicott had a storming second half, and D Smith was efficient in defence (although he annoyed the crowd by letting loose balls go out for throw ins rather than keep them in, especially in our own half). Jeffrey tried, oh did he try. No-one can fault him for commitment. Tony Daws Mark II? Groves had a shocker - he just looked too old.
The whole team looked like it had just had a weight put on its shoulders, not taken off. There can't be too many players on Lawrence's list marked "must keep" after that. In some ways it was worse than the Preston game, as Sheff Wed were so average. At least Preston had wit and invention. Still, can't fault the effort. That probably makes it worse, doesn't it. If they are doing their best and that was it..
Well, at least some people were happy - the Osmond Stand were having a ball.
Man of the Match - McDermott, with Raven getting a mention in despatches.
Photos by Nick Osborne
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