League Two Form Guide
Question of the Week
How long before new manager arrives?
By: Tony Butcher
A grey, cold, dry Yorkshire day. The Leppings Lane (upper tier) filled up steadily from 2 o'clock, such that by kick off the Town support had spread to cover most of the end, around 2,000 at a rough estimate. Conversely the Wednesdayites trickled in slowly, almost in embarrassment.
They sat together in great big chunks, leaving acres of empty seats. Their "ends" had a peeling paint effect. Despite the huge choice of seating available one bloke resolutely sat right behind a huge steel pillar, like he wanted to be there but couldn't bear to actually see his team.
Town warmed up for almost an hour trotting across the pitch, then almost coalescing into the dreaded circle of passing. The teams were announced a couple of times with Fostervold gradually having his name completely mangled. First he was Nut Anders Fostervoid, then Nut Festervoid. Some may say that was an accurate description, which may be cruel.
Lennie's Lucky Line-up Lottery balls came up with the following players, in a 4-4-2 formation: Coyne, Butterfield, Fostervold, Enhua, Groves, Campbell, Burnett, Willems, Coldicott, Donovan and Nielsen.
The substitutes were Croudson, Gallimore, R Smith, D Smith and Livingstone.
Enhua and Groves were the centre backs, Campbell played wide left, with Coldicott wide right. Nielsen and Donovan formed a muscular committed strike force (Excuse me while I make an embarrassed cough at that suggestion). Town played in the red stuff.
Town kicked off away from their vocal support (which took 20 minutes to get round to "those" songs - chanting an anti-Yorkshire song at Sibon and Di Piedi seemed particularly stupid). Nothing happened at all in the first 5 minutes. Both teams kicked it over the top of each others defence. So it was a Pressman/Coyne kickfest.
Wednesday then had what can only be described as an attack. The ball was played over Fostervold, down the line from the half way line. One of the Wednesday attackers (Sibon I think) ran after the ball whilst Enhua and Fostervold ambled back a bit, assuming an offside. The Owl crossed from near the left bye line and the ball was intercepted by Burnett. Five minutes later the same thing happened. A short diagonal pass from the half way line went between Fostervold and Enhua. Both again stopped and assumed an offside. Sibon ran on and Groves ran across to intercept. Sibon turned inside Groves, who promptly fell on his bottom (his own, not Sibon's), and Sibon dragged a rubbish shot 5 yards wide from about 15 yards out.
Nothing happened for another ten minutes, unless you want to have a detailed account of four Wednesday offsides, a dozen aimless hoofs up the pitch from Coyne, two long throws from Wednesday which went into the side netting and a Willems booking for cracking Westwood on the shins in attempting to hook a long punt back from the bye-line as Westwood "shepherded" it out.
It was noticeable that Butterfield was NOT chipping the ball thoughtlessly down the right wing, almost as if he was under strict instructions. Unfortunately, that is what he should have done on a couple of occasions, which resulted in him being caught in possession and then giving a terrible pass to Burnett just outside the Town area. Nothing came of these potential moments of danger as Wednesday could not shoot at all.
After 20 minutes Town hit their stride and bossed the game (ie started to pass through the centre of midfield). This was the only period when anything approaching acceptable football was played by either team. The catalyst for this excitement was some interplay down the right involving Nielsen, Donovan and Burnett which resulted in Coldicott (the flying winger) whipping in a cross to the far post which Campbell headed 23 yards wide - he wasn't tall enough and it skidded off the top of his head. Perhaps if he had Di Piedi's flowing locks he could have big-haired it in.
A couple of minutes later Donovan was viciously looked at by someone bigger than him and Town were awarded a free kick 30 yards out, to the right of centre. Isolated yelps from the Town supporters of "leave it to Menno" were rewarded by Campbell running away and letting Willems do as he pleased. And it so nearly, nearly pleased. The man with a foot like a steam hammer trundled forwarded and smashed the ball towards the top right hand corner. Pressman, the man who ate all the Chupa Chups, sailed gracefully towards his right and parried the ball away.
A couple of minutes later, after Town had encamped 20 yards from the Wednesday goal, Willems cracked in a high curling corner from the Town right to a couple of yards beyond the back post. Enhua headed firmly down and the ball hit the bottom of the post and was scrambled away as Burnett followed up. A couple more scrambles from corners followed, with Burnett being crowded out from both (his first was blocked for another corner, his second was sliced high and wide as he attempted a falling hooked scissors kick).
During this 20 minute period Burnett beat out the game's tempo with cushioned volleyed passes and little tricks to create space for himself. He had the Town supporters purring twice with audacious feints, the best being when he flicked the ball over the head of a Wednesday midfielder, ran past him and sent a 30 yard ball out to the left wing. Wednesday's answer was to kick him. Their midfield enforcer (Harkness, I think) scythed through Burnett from behind, sending our hero (literally) flying. The ref had a "quiet word" only. Then Harkness wellied Burnett again from the side. Not even a free kick given.
The only flowing move of the game produced Town's best chance. Some determined tackling in midfield by Butterfield resulted in Burnett collecting the ball half way inside the Wednesday half, on the right. Some neat one touch play involving Donovan and Nielsen saw the ball make its way out to Coldicott who crossed low and hard to the 6 yard line. Butterfield continued running and threw himself towards the ball and missed. The ball continued to the back post where it bounced awkwardly to Campbell, gong over his head. He spun and tried an overhead kick which went straight to Pressman.
I have a vague recollection of a Nielsen shot after a breakaway, which he hit straight at Pressman from 20 yards and that's just about it from Town. Wednesday were dreadful, their only tactic was to chip and chase, principally down the Town left. Unfortunately for Town, the linesman was useless and missed half a dozen obvious offsides, which caused great difficulty, though ultimately no danger.
The other unfortunate thing for Town was that Enhua and Fostervold ambled through the half and expected an offside every time. Enhua was very lackadaisical and was trying too many tricks with the ball, with not enough concentration when he didn't have the ball. There were numerous occasions when Wednesday players were left to run into space on the Town left with no reaction from these two. Wednesday were so poor they either couldn't pass it accurately or the unmarked players mucked it up.
In the last 5 minutes of the half Wednesday had a period of exerted pressure, almost entirely due to the referee failing to give free kicks to Town when Groves was fouled in the box and when a Wednesday player dived badly near the linesman (a free kick was given to them). And Wednesday very nearly scored from a long throw. Eventually their long throw "expert" got one on to Sibon's head at the near post. It was glanced across the goal and over Coyne. Burnett and Groves dived in and hacked the ball off the line. Apart from a couple of long shots which went nowhere near goal and a couple of slips from Groves and Butterfield on the edge of the area, that was it in terms of action in the first half.
If anyone deserved to be leading at half time it was Town, they created the three best chances of the half and were the only team trying to play any constructive football. Neither side were defensively sound. The Town back four were like strangers again, with Enhua and Fostervold being particularly unaware. Once again Fostervold hadn't made any tackles! But he did get in the way well. When the ball was on the floor Town had a modicum of control in midfield, the problems started when the ball was in the air. Many minutes were taken up watching the ball fly from one 'keeper to the other, with Coyne having a really bad day for slices and hooks. Nielsen tried 100% one and a half times, which yielded excitement and crossing opportunities. His disinterested demeanour meant it was like having two Donovans up front, the real and fake jellyfish, if you will. The crowd were calling for Livvo quite early. And Coyne didn't have one save to make.
Stu's half time toilet talk - I should really let him do it himself as he was in the ground and, presumably, was in the toilets at some stage. The buzz in the tea bar was "Wednesday are useless, we should be winning, our defence looks a bit ropey, Burnett is class, what's poor old Stacy doing playing right wing, Isn't that Alan Pouton over there?". Yes the mystery of the disappearing King of the Step-Over was partly solved when he was seen munching a pie in the tea bar under the Leppings Lane end. He was in with the supporters, rather than the players bar. Now what does that say about his current standing in the squad?
The report continues in the second half
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