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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Wednesday 2 - Watford 1

Hillsborough, Sheffield

24/03/10 - 7.45pm

Attendance: 18,449

Wednesday 2-1 Watford

LUKE Varney provided a late, late show to fire the Owls to three crucial points in a relegation scrap against Watford at Hillsborough.

The on-loan striker kept his cool to provide a superb finish just a minute from time to fire Wednesday above the Hornets and four points clear of the Championship relegation zone.

Fellow loanee Eddie Nolan had given the Owls the lead early in the second half of what was mainly a drab affair before another loan player, Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley, levelled with a superb free-kick for the visitors.

But Wednesday were deserved winners on the night, just, and Varney's late winner could well prove to be the most important goal in Wednesday's season to forget.

He was the only change to Alan Irvine's side that drew 0-0 with Derby County at the weekend, coming in to replace Leon Clarke who dropped to the bench.

Captain Darren Purse was given the all-clear to play despite fears this week that he might miss out through injury.

The first-half passed with little skill and few chances from both sides - the positions in the table certainly didn't lie for either side in the first 45 minutes.

Watford will have come to S6 and have been the happier of the two sides had the game ended equal, and it showed with their place in the early exchanges.

The Owls did go for it early on but poor final balls, a lack of support play and poor finishing cost them throughout the first-half.

Only James O'Connor's ambitious long-range chip - which went well wide of the Watford goal - came close to testing either goalkeeper in the opening 25 minutes of a drab affair.

Wednesday were dealt a blow on the half-hour mark when Tommy Miller had to leave the field injured, Leon Clarke coming on to replace him and partner Marcus Tudgay in attack, with Varney moving to midfield.

But the change, which also saw Wednesday change to a 4-3-3 line-up, did little to change the flow of the game or spark it into life.

As the match wore on the Owls faithful - backed by a not-too-bad following of 18,000-plus inside Hillsborough - grew slightly restless and Wednesday didn't get the best reception when they went in at the end of the first-half.

Half-Time: Wednesday 0-0 Watford

The game couldn't get much worse on the resumption and both sides started to make in-roads in the opening exchanges.

Marcus Tudgay should have done better when he placed a header well wide of goal while at the other end Heidar Helguson was the first Hornet to test Owls stopper Lee Grant.

The chances were still only half-chances though and the game seemed to need something special to spark it into life and break the deadlock.

And it came from the Owls' on-loan left-back just over ten minutes after the restart.

Nolan found his way by two Watford markers on the right before being given the space and time to drill a low shot underneath Hornets stopper Scott Loach.

In the truth, the Watford number one should probably have done better with the effort but that wasn't going to stop Nolan celebrating his first goal as a Wednesday player.

Wednesday should have taken the momentum, but in typical fashion they let Watford back into the game.

It was unfortunate that the referee awarded a free-kick for handball right on the edge of the box, but Cleverley wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth as he fired the visitors level with a superb free-kick.

The game could have gone either way as both Helguson and Varney saw chances come and go.

It all looked too late when Owls boss Irvine introduced Francis Jeffers from the bench in place of Tom Soares.

But on 89 minutes Varney was left in plenty of space on the left to surge towards goal before unleashing an unstoppable effort to give the Owls three crucial points and start wild celebrations at S6.

The striker was booked for taking his shirt off in the celebrations - but it was worth it.

The victory could well prove to be Wednesday's biggest of the season, and they need to take it into a vital clash at Coventry City this weekend.

Full-Time: Wednesday 2-1 Watford

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The Journalist

Writer: Nick Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday March 24 2010

Time: 11:36PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Tremendous result!!! 1st half was very poor!! tudgay HAS to be dropped, that guy is useless. tommy spurr is another, pointless balls he plays down the wing, every game it has to stop and his uncertainty on the ball is very worrying. i also think we need to start having shots from outside the area-we try n walk it in all the time!!! U.T.O!!!
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25/03/2010 00:02:00

Varney looked more effective when he was on the left and Jeffers impressed, his work rate and vision commendable.
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25/03/2010 08:37:00

Really interesting post match comments from our gaffer - "Watford controlled the game... had all the possession... lost to a referee" ... Sky couldn't believe how one sided 2nd half was by Watford (until Varney scored) .... but those that were there know it was a lot closer than that!
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25/03/2010 08:38:00

Sounds like a case of "sour grapes" if you ask me ! Sometimes you get the decisions and others you dont.
skeggy owl
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25/03/2010 10:56:00

That's ironic when Watfords only goal scored came a freekick which wasn't a free kick (although it was executed brilliantly to be fair) The game was fairly even but the standard of play was far from great from both clubs I thought. As for the calls to drop Spurr and Tudgay - I disagree. Spurr is quality but there is a bit of a 'kick the ball in the air' mentality which frustrates me. Tudgay drops too deep and I don't think that works particularly well with Varney - or at least they didnt link brilliantly yesterday. Varney for me, is a cut above our other striking options. He's more clinical generally and is a real threat cutting in from the left.
Carbone's Padawan
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25/03/2010 16:10:00

thought the first half was awful couldn't see a goal coming. however second half was much better, thought we were the better team, cant think a shot other than the goal from them in the second half! although typical wednesday to put us through that and then score in the last min.thought eddie nolan was great again. UTO!! and get something from the game on saturday.
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25/03/2010 16:44:00

massive massive win now lets not lose at coventry and get our selfs save.
beverley owl
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25/03/2010 18:32:00

i agree with cp re: tommy , the lad is quality and as a team its clear that the game plan is very much play early into the channels and go from there, hence balls from both full back that look like aimless punts at times, in my opinion he is the best defender we have (although purse has beem immense recently) and i actually think his forward play is getting better in what is only his third season as a recognised left back. tudgay cfor me is desperate for a rest, he isnt winning enough headers which is a massive part of his game and just recently his touch has deserted him, id like to see franny start with reg up front on sat, he has to earn a contract for next season somewhere and is not gonna do that from the bench. massive win last night a draw sat will do nicely and then we can seal our safety by stuffing the pigs thus making sure they cant get in the playoffs at the same time! up the owls
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25/03/2010 19:44:00

wedtillidie if there is anything i dont want its jeffers draining our budget with a new contract, you could replace him with two/three new players and still be saving money.
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25/03/2010 20:40:00

Wednesdayforlife you are spot on. Jeffers may be playing for his future but he's a striker who's been with us for three years and has scored almost that many goals. The truly pathetic thing is that carbone's padawan is right when he says that Varney shows more of a cutting edge up front. How poor must our other strikers be for that to be the case. Don't answer we all know. BL should have gone looking for a striker last summer (and the summer before that) but he didn't and our woeful form in front of goal cost him his job. Now poor old Father Ted is having to try and get performances from the same set of non-scorers. I listened to AI on the radio when he said he'll enjoy next season much more if we survive (thank God for Crystal Palace not paying the bills). I for one cannot wait for this season to end and the good Father to make the team his own. In the meantime I'll be praying to (in no particular order) God, Jehova, Buddha, Allah, Vishnu, Oden, Jupiter, Zeus and any other passing deity for those 9 points we need. Roll on next season.
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25/03/2010 22:28:00


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