Date:Sunday April 20 2008
Bloomfield Road, Blackpool
19/04/08 - 15:00
Wednesday put in their most spineless performance of the season at a time when they needed the three points the most as they moved back in to the Championship's bottom three with defeat in a 'relegation six pointer' against Blackpool on Saturday.
Goals from Claus Jorgensen and Paul Dickov gave Simon Grayson's Seasiders all three vital points, despite captain Richard Wood getting the Owls on level terms before Peter Gilbert's controversial sending-off all-but sealed Wednesday's fate at Bloomfield Road.
Owls boss Brian Laws made some changes from the side that drew with Plymouth on Monday night with Bartosz Slusarski securing his first start since moving to Hillsborough on loan from West Brom, replacing Ben Sahar alongside Deon Burton in attack.
Luckily for the travelling Wednesday fans in the unconvered temporary stand, the rain held off, but the blustery wind conditions at the Seasiders were all set to make the game a scrappy one for both sides.
The Owls' had sold out all 1700 in rapid time, but some die-hard Wednesday fans still made the trip to watch the match standing on ladders and on advertising boards behind the goal with no stand, but how they wished they hadn't.
The clash started off in typically frantic, yet scrappy fashion, but it was Wednesday who enjoyed the early possession, forcing the hosts back in to their own half and looking the more likely to open the scoring early on.
But Wednesday were undone with Blackpool's first attacking raid of the game as Jorgensen was left unmarked at the edge of the box to fire a deflected effort by Grant in the Owls goal to make it advantage to the hosts after just six minutes.
It was a deflection that did Wednesday in the early exchanges against Plymouth, and they had to wait over 80 minutes for a leveller, but the Owls produced a quicker response in the relegation six pointer.
Blackpool continued to look dangerous on the break, but Wednesday levelled the scores on 12 minutes as Richard Wood got on the end of a Franck Songo' free-kick via a Burton header to send Rachubka the wrong way and send the travelling Wednesday fans wild.
The goal gave Wednesday a huge lift and they were unfortunate not to turn the game on its head with another goal as Slusarski was put in the clear only to take too long on executing his effot, before Jermaine Johnson saw his effort deflected wide as Wednesday forced a number of set-pieces.
Johnson was looking dangerous for Wednesday out on the right, but as has happened far too often this season, the Jamaican failed to deliver the final product and failed to test Rachubka in the Blackpool goal.
Richard Wood also came close to doubling his tally for the afternoon with a header from another set-piece.
Blackpool were second best, but they always looked dangerous on the break and former Huddersfield Town man Gary Taylor-Fletcher should done better when he was left unmarked in the box to head a Paul Dickov cross straight in to the arms of Grant.
Former Owls target Wes Hoolahan also came close for the hosts with a mazy run which resulted in the midfielder firing just wide of goal.
But Wednesday could do little about Blackpool's second, a fine strike from Dickov at the edge of the box giving Grant no chance other than to pick the ball out of the net just after the half hour mark.
The weather conditions may have been anything ideal, but credit had to go to both teams, who were clearly both out to try and grab all three points, as chances continued to come at either end for both teams.
Grant had to be alert as Stephen McPhee fired an angled drive which saw the former Derby stopper palm the ball away for a corner, while at the other end former Blackpool loanee Slusarski fired just over the bar from close range as the ball failed to drop just in time.
Half-Time: Blackpool 2-1 Wednesday
Owls boss Laws said he needed to inject a bit more in to the Wednesday midfield after the break, and he introduced Graham Kavanagh to replace Burton O'Brien at the start of the second half.
But Laws' plans were thrown in to chaos just six minutes in the second 45 as Peter Gilbert saw red in controversial fashion.
Gilbert cleared the danger from a Blackpool attack and former Manchester City and Leicester City frontman Dickov seemed to follow through with his arm, prompting Gilbert to square up to the Scotsman, giving him the excuse to fall to the floor and bring the red card from the referee's pocked to the amazement of the OWLS' players and the travelling support.
Confusion came to the fore front, with Blackpool putting the ball on the spot, thinking they'd won a penalty, while some Owls' fans also thought the red card had been shown to the Scot, while at the same time the linesman had to walk in to the middle of the pitch following the antics of some Wednesday fans behind him.
Nevertheles, after five minutes of confusion, Gilbert went off the pitch and Wednesday were left with an even tougher task at hand.
Laws was forced to reshuffle his pack following the sending-off, and Jermaine Johnson was the man to be sacrificed, with Lee Bullen returning to the fold at right-back, later to be used in a three-man attack.
Ian Evatt and Dickov both came close to Blackpool, who looked the more likely to add to their advantage rather than get pegged back with their numerical advantage, although Wednesday gave their all in the latter stages, which utlimately proved not enough.
Wednesday did have a decent shout for a penalty as Bullen was felled in the box while trying to get on the end of a cross, but the referee, who was up for stick from both sets of fans throughout, waved away the protests from a desperate Wednesday side.
Graham Kavanagh came close as he saw his free-kick deflected off the Blackpool wall for a corner kick, while Deon Burton continued to fight right until the end as he saw two efforts well saved by former Huddersfield Town 'keeper Rachubka.
Things were made worse for Wednesday elsewhere, with both Leicester City and Coventry City both picking up impressive away victories, forcing Wednesday back in to the bottom three with just two games remaining.
Full-Time: Blackpool 2-1 Wednesday
Blackpool: Rachubka. Crainey, Southern, Evatt, McPhee (Morrell 76), Hoolahan, Taylor-Fletcher (Green 76), Jorgensen, Gorkss, Barker, Dickov (Burgess 86). Unused substitutes: Jackson, Flinders.
Wednesday: Grant, Gilbert, Beevers, Wood, Spurr, Johnson (Bullen 58), Bolder, O'Brien (Kavanagh 46), Songo'o, Burton, Slusarski (Sahar 68). Unused substitutes: Burch, Esajas.
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Date:Sunday April 20 2008
|Derby County||3||-||2||Sheff Wed|
|10. Sheff Wed||34||11||13||10||-2||46|
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