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Wednesday 1-3 Middlesbrough

1 - 3

Hillsborough, Sheffield

15/09/09 - 7.45pm

Attendance: 21,722


Individual errors cost Wednesday as they let a 1-0 lead slip to fall to their first home defeat of the Championship season against Gareth Southgate's Middlesbrough stars on Tuesday night.

Wednesday proved a match for the visitors and took an early lead when Luke Varney fired in a superb opener to open his Owls account, but a Darren Purse own goal, followed by a slack Richard Hinds pass to allow Jeremie Aliadiere in for Boro's second gave the visitors the points.

Adam Johnson, a thorn in Wednesday's side throughout, rubbed salt in the wounds with a late third to tie the game up for Boro, who went top of the table as the result of their victory.

Wednesday boss Brian Laws made just the one change to the side that drew with Nottingham Forest at the weekend, despite threats to tinker with the side ahead of the Steel City derby clash on Friday.

And it was forced, Richard Wood missing out through injury to be replaced by Mark Beevers at the heart of the Wednesday defence.

The Owls started brightly against a Boro side desperate for victory to go top of the table following their 3-1 success against Ipswich Town at the weekend, and they took the lead just minutes in.

Loan star Varney, who's enjoyed a good start to his second loan spell in the blue and white, was sent free down the left and he twisted and turned his way towards goal before unleashing an unstoppable effort beyond 'keeper Coyne and in off the crossbar for advantage Wednesday.

It was stark contrast to Forest's early opener on Saturday and the early quick tempo set for an entertaining first half.

Without wanting to copy the sitting back routine of Forest at the weekend after their early opener, Wednesday continued to push forward in search of goals, while Boro looked just as threatening on the break.

The visitors had lost just once coming into the match, and their attacking threat, led by the impressive Johnson, was there for the majority of the Hillsborough crowd to see in the early exchanges.

Vital earmarked Johnson as the danger-man coming into the game and he certainly proved to be, giving Owls' right-back Lewis Buxton a torrid time all night.

But, at the other end, it was Wednesday who continued to create the better chances in front of goal, and unfortunate slip by a visiting defender giving Tudgay more time than he realised when unleashing a tame, low effort straight at Hines minutes later.

Boro slowly got back into proceedings, Marvin Emnes firing the first real chance at Grant, which he gathered at the second attempt, before they got on terms in a way that they certainly wouldn't have been expecting, but would take nevertheless.

Johnson had switched back to the right side of midfield and his in-swinging cross gave the Wednesday defence all kinds of problems, especially captain Purse who stuck his head out and glanced the ball on and beyond Grant and into the back of the net on 18 minutes.

The goal lifted Southgate's men but although enjoying a lot of possession around the box, Grant didn't have too much hard work to do against the impressive attacking play from the visitors.

The chances dried up, and Owls boss Laws had cause for concern with the minutes ticking away as Mark Beevers was taken off in what looked like a serious injury following a collision with Grant, Richard Hinds coming on to replace him.

Despite Richard O'Donnell warming up at half-time, Grant resumed in between the sticks despite what looked like a bad injury to the ribs, but he could do little to stop Boro's second just four minutes after the resumption.

Laws will no doubt have asked for cool heads on the restart, and not to give anything silly away early doors, but that's exactly what Hinds did as Aliadiere took full advantage of a lack of communication from the Wednesday backline.

A free-kick, which looked comfortable at the back, was hit by Hinds for Gray, but instead Emnes picked the ball up and his inch-perfect pass picked the former Arsenal man up and he made no mistake with his powerful drive by Grant to turn the game on its head.

It was always going to be hard for Wednesday following their early set-back, with confidence battered, but to their credit they remained in the game and always looked like they could grab something from the clash.

They did have to resist some stern pressure following the goal, Hines seeing a header from a corner brilliantly saved by Grant to keep the hosts in the game early in the second half.

The visitors then seemed content to sit back on their advantage, and while Wednesday did enjoy more in the way of possession, they rarely threatened Coyne, and the Owls crowd quickly became frustrated.

Leon Clarke was introduced for his first appearance of the league campaign as Laws looked to freshen things up and offer some more strength in attack, while Sean McAllister was also introduced, Michael Gray and Tommy Miller making way respectively.

And Clarke did spring some life in to the attack, his aerial ability causing the visitors new problems, resulting in a foul in a dangerous position but which Potter wasted.

The tempo died down, much to suit the visitors, and neither side managed to create many clear-cut chances in the final 20 minutes, that was until Johnson got free to fire home Boro's third and see the Hillsborough faithful head for the exits while Boro celebrated moving second in the Championship.

Full-Time: Wednesday 1-3 Boro

Date:Tuesday September 15 2009
Time: 11:52PM


apart from the first 20 to 25 minutes we were pretty useless. ball was always in the air against a much bigger and physical side. then we resorted to well we've tried everything else lets put it back to grant and let him punt it over the top. thats 2 games on the trot we've played shocking and from what i've seen we've gonna have to work pretty hard to pull off even a draw. not good at all
16/09/2009 06:32:00
if they didnt have o'neill and a.johnson they would be a totally different team!!!! not impressed with brian laws at all at the minute, why play tudgay for the whole match apart from him being injured last match he didnt really do anything-he doesnt change things quick enough!!!! gray is not a winger!!!!!!!! agree with stealthyowl too much long ball just doesnt work-unbelievable that they keep playing it!!! unfortunatley i predict a loss friday-pains me to say it!!!!!
16/09/2009 12:09:00
I still blieve that Laws is close to a miracle worker with the resources we have. We have to accpt that we pay very low wages and can't afford to sign anyone, so it is always going to be a struggle. We were the better team in the first half, but we could not sustain it. We gifted them two goals (what was Purse thinking???? og and a perfect pass to let Aliadiere in) and I guess we could say we may have had a draw. Having said that, we did not desrve it, we looked very shakey at the back and they exposed our weaknesses. There is going ot be a big gap between top and bottom this season and I see us finishing mid-table - no better!
16/09/2009 12:31:00
i'd also like to say that i do think brain laws is a legend for what he's done on the budget he has but as a fan of the owls and of football in general all any supporter wants to see is every single player in there club colors play with passion and desire for the shirt they pull on. we got nothing like that again boro. really pians me to say but we're gonna lose if we play like this friday
16/09/2009 18:06:00
I think most of them were playing with Friday in mind! I don't really mind them losing to Boro as they are my favourites for automatic promotion but for gods sake don't let us lose to the Blunts!
16/09/2009 18:13:00
I thought the balance was wrong in midfield and this caused problems for the team as a whole. Miller is anonymous he was slow and off the pace and this caused Potter to be out of place and had no one to help him. This in turn put pressure on defence. Buxton tries hard and gives his all but against the better wide men in the division he will struggle and he found Johnson too good. I have had reservations about Purse from day one and last night he was poor, he may be a good talker but if your legs are gone that does not help. In the long term Miller and Purse need to be jettisoned, although injury woes may mean purse has to be risked against United. If Purse and Miller play on Friday I am worried.
16/09/2009 18:47:00
lets get this into perspective, boro will go up, fact, they have the best winger in the championship by a country mile in johnson, who when allied with the quality of arca and o neill alongside him , will rip apart better defences than ours this season. we gave them 2 goals and i agree purse didnt have his best night i thought for spells last night we looked good in possession but just lacked the extra bit of quality you need to open up a defence that contained someone with the class of someone like david wheater.
16/09/2009 21:38:00
hear hear wedtillidie we can't win every game and Boro are a very good team.
16/09/2009 22:41:00
I will just say that it gives me no joy to point out that I warned you all about Purse from day one. I still believe that he could be a good squad player but worry that BL isn't the kind of boss to admit he's bought a pup and so will keep playing him. Miller isn't up to scratch and inspite of Varney's admirable work rate we still lack a decent cutting edge up front. Hope BL reminds the boys about Friday and lets them know that it would be just dandy to win a game this week.
16/09/2009 23:26:00
I don't get to so many games in a season due to work and living so far away, i really appreciate reading comments made on vital from fans who watch week in week out. The comment made by dobby1 about finishing mid table seems to me to be a pretty good prediction, but then this is pretty much the case for most seasons these days apart from the ones where we sail very close to the drop zone. Without investment which could never come along. is this the best we can hope for? I'd hate to think we have become a club who just makes up the numbers and whos only light is beating the pigs twice a year? I love Wednesday and always will but can't see the light at the end of the tunnel at the moment. Keep it up Vital and all those fans who watch week in week out and tell it like it is.
16/09/2009 23:48:00
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