Date: 3rd February 2021 at 10:08am
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Written by kirsikka

The Cherries came into the match following the diabolical display against Reading last Friday and an awful set of January league results in desperate need to kick some life back into the season, or at least put a performance on the pitch. JT brought Kelly, Wilshere, Brooks and Stanislas in for Rico, Lerma, Billing and King.

As a formation, it looked like it would ask a lot of Wilshere since L Cook would need support in the middle from a more traditional CM role alongside him.

The Cherries started with almost immediate sloppy play in their half, L Cook the man guilty of giving it away and possession was never regained before, 50 seconds in, the ball broke to a Wednesday player clean through on goal and we were fortunate that the attempt wasn’t great and Begovic was able to save it.

It’s becoming a hallmark of the Tindall reign that we’ve got a soft underbelly when playing it around at the back. Teams may accept the cost of occasional mistakes for the opportunities it can create by gaining chances of having possession in space bearing down in the other team having worked the ball around.

We seemed to have double down on making mistakes with several every match without ever really getting the upside of the tactic. Our version is so ponderous and lacking in vision a team of snails could probably get back into position before we’ve passed it beyond them.

Wednesday carved open another chance on nine minutes with a simple across the outside of the box which was then rifled at goal, Begovic having to tip it over.

Both those openings had come about from a lack of cover for the defence from the central midfield. The one in the first minute saw the attacker breaking through on goal with Wilshere several yards behind him. This time the attacked was again all alone to make his attempt.

It’s bold to go with such an attacking line-up but if you then fail to exert control at the other end and put the opposition under pressure then whenever they break you’ll always look short at the back.

You couldn’t have cut cheese with our first-half performance it was that blunt. Danjuma nearly had a crack on goal after some neat interplay with Kelly but it was blocked and that was about it.

With the attacking array of talent we had picked, we were fielding what should be the equivalent of a premium box of chocolates up front. However, they made it look like someone had nicked everything but the coffee creams. It’s the sight of those empty spaces which should be full of succulent moments of delight that make it all the more depressing.

At the other end, with the half not far from drawing to a close, more playing out from the back had Lewis Cook give the ball wide right to Mepham who had a man bearing down on him. He turned to pass it back to someone, whether it was L Cook who had now stepped forward, Begovic who was a little off his line or S Cook who was marking a striker remains unclear. What he actually managed was the perfect through ball to the Wednesday striker Paterson.

He then tried to leather it but instead made minimal contact and, a bit like when he shaped to dive to the corner against Reading and then couldn’t stop the ball when it came straight at him, Asmir seemed set to try and make a big save and found himself helpless when the ball was badly hit, contriving to flop over the ball. It dribbled into the net with all the force of an ever so slightly open tap.

The sight of the Wednesday striker guffawing with his teammates when going back for the kick-off tells you all you need to know about the comedy of errors that led to that goal.

Half time and for the second game running the changes were rung, three on is a sign that things have gone very badly in the opening period. Solanke, Wilshere and Stacey making way for Surridge, Lerma and Smith.

The second half was better but not by a lot. Wednesday were now happy to sit back and waste time at every opportunity, then try to exploit the space we were leaving in behind.

There were moments when players worked well together. Kelly and Danjuma linked up quite a few times and maybe that’s the start of a partnership. On the other side, Smith was making inroads and causing some problems with his direct running.

Slack marking yet again at a free-kick left a Sheffield player completely free at the back post but he skewed it over. This is really basic stuff but it’s happening game after game so something isn’t right in the organisation at the back. Over recent weeks I’ve been pointing the finger at Steve Cook for not showing more leadership but the coaches should have been all over this issue like a rash.

Finally, 20 minutes into the half, a ball was hoisted long and the Wednesday defender foolishly let it bounce. The spin on it took it away from him and Surridge raced past him and looked set to shoot on goal when defender made a last-ditch challenge from behind, somehow appearing to high kick Surridge in the chest in the process.

I don’t think there was a single objection to the penalty it was that obvious and Stanislas did his usual job of putting it away to make it 1-1.

There was some life in the Cherries now as they sense blood. They pinned the opposition back with Danjuma repeatedly running at them and leaving them terrified, only for the Dutchman to make a poor final decision with the ball. On the other side, Smith was playing like a winger and tearing them apart, knocking in crosses that never quite reached a man.

Chances came, L Cook had a deflected shot pushed over by the keeper and Brooks couldn’t steer a very difficult one past him from an acute angle either.

This ten-minute spell of dominance was brought abruptly to a halt by a baffling decision from the ref. Stanislas fired in a rocket of a shot which a Wednesday player blocked with his ankle but he fell to the ground clutching his head. With the Bournemouth players still in possession and looking to carve another opening, the ref stopped play for the head injury. After lengthy treatment, to his ankle, the Wednesday player bounced up and play resumed and the momentum was gone from the AFCB play.

It isn’t the first time we’ve seen someone do that against us this season so it looks like it’s become a tactic. Other team breaking away or putting you under pressure? Fall over clutching your head and the ref will give you some respite. I’m not blaming that because we were architects of our own carbuncle this evening but it’s definitely one worth keeping an eye on.

Thereafter, with little creativity on show from the Cherries, we were left to rely on a mistake form the opposition and it nearly came when a poor back pass had Surridge racing after it, through on goal if he could get to it. The defender hauled him down rather than let him get to it to wild demands for a red card from the Cherries bench and players. To his credit, the ref took his time and consulted with his assistant before issuing a yellow. Replays showed there was a good chance the keeper would have got there first so it was probably to right call.

With the game petering out and a point seemingly all we’d get from it, Wednesday found themselves with the ball on our left. Kelly was inside rather than pressing the two attackers so when it came to the second forward he had all the time in the world to set himself and fire in a deep cross which was met by a towering header from Rhodes to make it 2-1.

Lerma did get a shot in on goal from inside the area in the fifth minute of injury time but it was well saved by the keeper. In a sign of where we are right now, Begovic came up for the resultant corner. Everyone (neutral) loves to see a keeper go up but there’s no disguising it’s a sign of desperation when it’s your team doing it.

Another game we would have expected to win. Another game where the opposition came to sit in against us. Another game where we showed very little ability at breaking them down. Another game without a point. Another game where eyes have to turn to the touchline.

There wasn’t a lot to smile about out there tonight so all I’ve got for you are two Willo crackers from the commentary. At one disputed throw-in during the first half, he claimed: “I think the linesman was that close he couldn’t see the ball”. In the second half, after a huge punt upfield that Steve Cook volleyed first time back to Begovic in what Wednesday claimed was a back pass, he said: “I don’t think Franz Battenberg could have done that deliberately”. It was definitely a night that calls for cake.

Conclusions and player ratings against Sheffield Wednesday – Click here.

Man of the match against Sheff Weds

Kelly

Kelly

S Cook

S Cook

Lerma

Lerma

Someone else

Someone else

Your say…

afcblady wrote…

I think one of the main problems we are having is the chopping and changing of the team, a different line-up every match and then at half time bringing another 3 players on. There is no chance of players forming partnerships and I’m sure the morale must be terrible. I’m not a fan of Rico this season but one match he’s playing then he’s dropped then he’s back in a different position and that is just one player. The main problem with sacking Jason is who is available to replace him and whoever it is they will not want to retain all the afcb old boys as coaches. Most new managers bring in their own buddies to help so we’d be looking at getting rid of a lot of staff, can we afford it? – Join the conversation, click here

 
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