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Vital Viewpoint - Owls vs PNE

Vital Viewpoint - Owls vs PNE

Our man on the spot, The Owler, provides his player ratings from midweek.

Lee Grant - 7/10

Grant couldn't do anything about the two Preston goals and his overall performance maintained the high standards he has achieved so far this season. I felt he commanded his area well and he showed good agility by punching the ball clear of danger when a catch was deemed too risky. He will surely play in the Premier League one day, hopefully with us.

Lewis Buxton - 6/10

Had a good first half, getting forward supporting Gray on the right flank and was denied a first minute goal by the excellent Lonergan. However, in the second half the ugly side of the Wednesday rear guard showed its head yet again. Buxton seemed to defend deeper, perhaps concerned by his own lack of pace. Buxton must be doing something right in training to keep Simek frozen out of the team, but sadly all too often he doesn't ooze confidence on the pitch.

Tommy Spurr - 6/10

I thought he had a ok first 45 minutes, supporting JJ in attack well down the left side. Made one first rate tackle to break up a Preston counter attack in the first half. Largely anonymous in the second half, which was disappointing. He is clearly lacking form at the moment, but this performance was an improvement from the Coventry game.

Darren Purse - 5/10

He should have been tight on Neil Mellor for the first goal and was frightened to death by Mellor's probing runs in the second half. For a supposedly experienced centre half, this isn't to the standard Wednesdayites expect. Looked more effective when in the opposition box for set pieces and caused the Preston defence problems. He was very unlucky with a deflected shot that hit the post, however, he`s paid to defend and he was way off the pace for me.

Mark Beevers - 6/10

He looked nervous in my opinion, typified by a lucky slice over his own cross bar when trying to clear a loose ball in the first half. Coped well against the aerial threat of Parkin but I got the impression he doesn't have much confidence in his fellow centre back. I would like to see Beevers partnered with Wood for the next game.

Michael Gray - 8/10 MoTM

He got plenty of good crosses into the box in the first half and capped an excellent performance with a fantastic free kick from 25 yards out. He never waned in the second half but sadly the majority of his teammates did not share the same desire and will to win.

Darren Potter - 7/10

I rate DP quite highly and in the first half especially, he was always looking to get the ball on the floor, pass to feet and set up attacking opportunities. Not as effective in the second half but too often he had no one in forward positions to pass to. One of the better players on the night.

James O'Connor - 6/10

Battling performance, scrappy, in your face, everything we've come to expect from JoC this season. I suppose his problem on Tuesday night was coming up against an equally determined Preston central midfield, which I felt got the better of him in the second half. Good headed effort in the second half which was marginally off target. Replaced by Miller.

Jermaine Johnson - 7/10

If this boy could last for 90 minutes and deliver that final ball into the box, he would be a world beater. Desperately unlucky not to score in the first half when he hit the same post twice in a matter of seconds. Industrious in the second half, and unlucky again to see a shot cleared off the line late in the second half.

Leon Clarke - 5/10

Had a great first 15 minutes and then nothing for the remainder of the game. He was perhaps affected by his tackle on Gunnarsson on the Saturday as he shirked from a few 50/50 challenges which big Leon is normally well up for. Poor performance and no surprise when subbed for Sodje.

Luke Varney - 4/10

If any scouts from Derby were watching, they won't be in any hurry to take Varney back after this inept display. I counted one meaningful effort throughout the 90 mins, the rest of the time he was chasing shadows. Cannot seriously be a contender for a starting place once Sodje and Tudgay are fully fit.

Akpo Sodje - 5/10

Oh, why didn't he just put his foot through the ball when presented with a half chance right at the death. Akpo desperately needs a goal to kick start his season. Clearly lacking match fitness at the moment and didn't have much influence on the game when he came on.

Tommy Miller - 4/10

Sorry Tommy, but in my opinion you are 'stealing' a living at the moment. Brought on with only 15 mins to go, granted, but what's with the square three yard passes all of the time? I haven't seen any creativity from TM in previous matches and last night was no exception. His poor delivery from corners confirmed my fears that we've brought in a midfielder who is well past his best. Vast improvement needed.

Francis Jeffers - 5/10

Massive praise for ignoring the boo boys (what was that all about, he's still wearing the blue and white stripes you know) but had no time to make an impact.

Conclusion - It was deja vue for Wednesdayites after seeing an excellent 45 minutes of football ruined by the manager seemingly substituting half the team at the break with a bunch of strangers who don't know what the phrase 'same again lads' means. Seriously, what do we have to do to get a decent 90 minute performance out of the lads? Over to you.

Thanks to The Owler. Note: If you're a member of our forum, and you're going to the match, you can contribute player ratings for the site. Watch out for the forum thread each week, volunteer, and we may select you for the job!

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Auckland Owl
Date:Thursday October 22 2009
Time: 9:00AM


Good stuff. We thought Tommy Spurr had a bit of a mare last night. Agree with your man of the match- top man as always- can't believe he's 35. Varney so far has played every game at 100mph too but what happened last night? He was strolling around by comparison but still quality. I thought the whole team looked knackered after 60 mins.
21/10/2009 21:18:00
Just can't play for 90 minutes, most frustrating game ever. Varney got an 8 in star which was strange. He definately wasn't our MOTM.
22/10/2009 09:25:00
Ok, we failed again. It is now in the past so let's lift the team for Friday. One of my best mates is a Watford fan so we've got to win.
22/10/2009 10:56:00
no offense but i STRONGLY disagree with the Varney rating. as far as im concerned its hardly chasing shadows. its called closing down. putting pressure on the defenders. if he didnt do it youd be saying he was lazy. several times he intercepted the punt up field from a defender and kept the ball in their half. maybe were just not used to seeing players with a good engine who chase lost causes. i cant remember him giving the ball away either. how you can give him a lower mark than sodje who did naff all again i do not know. i just don't get this Sodje loving that goes off, all apparently based on 30 minutes on the first game of last season and a goal against united?? he still has a LOT to prove in my opinion. Also for me clarke had a better game than hes been given credit for.
22/10/2009 14:39:00
No offence taken at all TarnOwl. It's all about opinions and I ran these by my mucker who was sat next to me at the game. I guess you saw a side to Varney that I didn't appreciate. You should have a go if you haven't already. It's fun to do but harder than it looks when you're trying to concentrate on as much as possible.
the owler
22/10/2009 15:26:00
i can imagine it is owler. i pretty much agree with all the other ratings. especially of purse. His defending was nothing short of schoolboy at times. showing players inside and letting the ball bounce. Ive really tried to back him but hes making it difficult. Think weve got to go with beevers and wood at watford if wood is fit of course. also the booing of jeffers was embarrassing. he looked quite sharp considering.., though as you said no real time to make an impact.
22/10/2009 15:38:00
Grant commanding his area, Varney only a 4, Potter a higher mark than JOC, youre avin a laugh surely. Don't let Potter take corners and freekicks anymore, because they are very poor indeed, Leon didn't turn up at all for me, just stood watching Varney working his socks off. You can't chase the ball down AND be in a prime position for scoring goals. Absolute disgrace Jeffers coming on, smacks as sheer desperation Mr Laws. Just what on earth do you say to the players at half time for us to end up with yet another night and day performance. Gray been the player of the season for me by a country mile and hardly ever wastes a ball. Get him in the centre of midfield instead of Potter, I think it's worth a try, and just remember, it's only my opinion.
22/10/2009 17:23:00
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