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Wednesday 2 - Hartlepool United 2

Hillsborough, Sheffield

21/01/12 - 3pm

Attendance: 17,469

Wednesday 2-2 Hartlepool United

Wednesday were left disappointed at home for the second week running as Antony Sweeney's late leveller gave Hartlepool United a share of the spoils at Hillsborough.

It was a case of two points dropped as far as Gary Megson's men were concerned as Sweeney produced a superb late lob over Owls stopper Nicky Weaver to give the visitors a point.

Neale Cooper's men had taken the lead early in the second half through Peter Hartley, who was lucky to be on the pitch following a first-half foul on Gary Madine, before the Owls hit back to take the lead through Jermaine Johnson and Madine.

But Sweeney's late strike saw Wednesday drop vital points at home for the second week running after Charlton Athletic inflicted a first home league defeat on the Owls last weekend.

Lewis Buxton made a welcome return from injury to plug the gap left by Ben Marshall in midfield, while Madine continued in attack and Mike Jones made his second start of the spin following his move from Bury.

The blustery conditions were going to make any kind of free-flowing football difficult for either side but it was Wednesday who started brighter when Chris O'Grady sent an early effort wide of goal.

The Owls continued their attacking threat towards the Leppings Lane end and Mike Jones was twice thwarted in a glorious position. The new man got on the end of a Buxton cross and saw his first effort blocked by a defender before Scott Flinders, the Pools stopper, did well to block his second shot.

Despite having most of the early chances Wednesday let their standards slip as the half wore on. First, Weaver had to be alert to deny former Owl Steve Haslam, and then Reda Johnson rushed back to clear the danger after a sloppy back-pass put the Owls in unnecessary danger.

The hosts soon got back in control and Madine will have felt he should have done better when his flick from a dangerous Johnson cross beat Flinders but drifted the wrong side of goal.

United were lucky to go into the interval with all eleven men on the pitch after Hartley hauled down Madine when the Owls' top-scorer was through on goal. The home support called for a red card but the officials only decided on a yellow after consultation.

Half-Time: Wednesday 0-0 Hartlepool United

Wednesday were slow out of the traps in the second half and the visitors took full advantage by stealing into the lead.

The visitors won a corner kick and Evan Horwood swung his set-piece on to the head of Hartley, who powered his header beyond Weaver to make it 1-0 in United's favour.

It gave the visitors a big lift and helped push Wednesday, or should that be Jermaine Johnson, introduced as a second half substitute in place of Reda Johnson, into the next gear.

Pools led for just eleven minutes when the Jamaican produced a superb leveller for Megson's men. He charged towards goal on the right and beat four men before unleashing an unstoppable low shot beyond Flinders and into the back of the net.

The goal gave the Owls the lift they needed in search of three crucial points. Danny Batth headed just inches over the bar from a Paul Lines cross before Miguel Llera, introduced for the inured Rob Jones, also came close.

Wednesday looked the more likely to bag the next goal and that came with just over 15 minutes to go through that man Madine. The Owls' top-scorer was well-positioned inside the box and he waited for a loose ball to drop before slamming it into the back of the net to put the hosts in control.

It looked like there was only going to be one winner as Wednesday dominated possession. Ryan Lowe came close to grabbing Wednesday's third when he chipped his maker before drilling a low effort wide.

But the Owls were hit with a sucker-punch with just three minutes to go. Weaver was caught off-guard and Sweeney produced a pin-point lob over the Owls' number one to give the visitors a point.

Full-Time: Wednesday 2-2 Hartlepool United

Wednesday: Weaver, Otsemobor, R Jones (Llera 65), Batth, R Johnson (J Johnson 46), Buxton, Semedo, Lines, M Jones (Lowe 56), O'Grady, Madine. Unused substitutes: Bywater, Morrison.

Hartlepool: Flinders, Austin, Liddle, Collins, Horwood, Monkhouse, Sweeney, Haslam (Brown 80), Murray (Humphreys 67), Hartley, James. Unused substitutes: Rafferty, Boyd, Baldwin.




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The Journalist

Writer: Nick Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday January 21 2012

Time: 6:35PM

Your Comments

Totatlly gutted with that result.Again enough chances made but not put in the net.We need to step up to the plate now and get this team back on the winning track before a season that looked full of hope gets dragged from under our feet.Think Ogrady shud av ago on the wing and giv lowe a chance.
ollyowl70
Agree Olly, Lowe should be given a go up front from the start. He looked good when he came on. This result feels more like a loss than a draw. We need to do a Charlton and grind out results whether we play well or not. Bring on Tuesday, we need a win to keep the pressure on or we might find ourselves slipping down the league after such a promising first half of the season. UTO WTID.
Owlsmad
I see Ben10 didn't even make the bench today after a very productive reserves game mid week. Surplus to requirements at Stoke, a great player not playing football.... Saddens me. Come home to S6 Ben, we miss you. UTO WTID.
Owlsmad
If we don't win Tuesday will have to settle for playoffs I reckon, not even a draw will be good enough. Were making chances but just not making them count. And how many times are we going to drop points late on?
OWL25
Boys there is still a lot to play for! The next game against Scunthorpe won't be easy and then MK Dons. They are coming thick and fast. This team still has a lot left in it and I think some players will get a chance over the next few weeks who haven't played recently. The team will start to pick itself and I see us getting maximum points for the whole month of February, then lets see where we are!
Devon_Owl
It was not a classic and we need to be taking 3 points week in and week out at this stage.But still we had the luck with the blunts,dropping points and also MK.Huddersfield were lucky to take 3 points.Still win our game in hand and there are 3 teams joint second and we still have to play each other .Does anyone agree that maybe Weaver has come back too soon?When Bywater had a run we was not conceding many.It is hard as they are both great keepers.And also O Grady is not hitting the next as often as he should be?should Lowe be given a start from the off?
garrymo
How many more times do we have to listen to the comment "We have to learn" Who is teaching them? and who is not learning? only GM knows who it is. Were all looking forward now surely for this not to happen again, but if it does I suppose we'll just have to learn.
andymac-scoresagoal
Luck is against us at the moment. Thanks Nick for pointing out that Hartlepool had The Almighty playing for them and if Ryan Lowe hadn't chipped him his low drilled effort would surely have gone in! Plus, Huddersfield were gifted two points by a referee performance Mr. Magoo would have been proud of. I'd have preferred it if the Pigs scabbed a draw too, but you've gotta laugh! I won't suggest where GM needs to make changes but I bet there are some between now and MK away.
OurMaurice
Sorry lads but Wednesday need to start keeping clean sheets like others around us, 8 clean sheets out of 26 games says it all, even Tramere and Walsall have let less in than us and played a game more, 20 games left, we need 10 clean sheet and that would probably see us go up, when your not prolific at the other end it puts more pressure on the defence to keep it tight, our best result of the season so far is 3-0 against Exeter we need a few more results like that please Gary, and stop letting in silly goals, don't think its anything to do with luck you make your own luck, for me its just bad finishing and poor defending, get one of them right and with points we have at the moment should see us home, rant over.
ecco owl
No arguments ecco owl. I'm loathed to criticize Weaver, or RO'D for that matter. Keepers make good saves, that's what they're there for. But how a defence plays in front of them is best judged by looking at the stats: (League only) Weaver P8 Clean sheets2 Defeats2. RO'D P6 Clean sheets0 Defeats3. Bywater P12 Clean sheets6 Defeats1. I'm sure GM has already figured this out for himself.
OurMaurice
I agree OurMaurice as much as I like Weaver the defence doesn't seem to have the same confidence as when Bywater is between the sticks. I would also like to point out to the bright spark who decided that a reserve team is pointless that if we had a reserve team then we would be able to gradually bring players back into the team that are returning from injury, everybody in the ground could tell that Madine isn't fully fit otherwise he would have buried the chance he had in the first half. In my opinion Lowe needs to start he always looks bright and full of energy when he plays, we need at least 2 wingers as JJ has now had is good game for the season (not taking anything away from the lad he took his goal very well) and we need a central defender if GM doesn't have the faith in Beevers to step up as Jones gets injured more often than not. I have to say though that the whole blame can't be placed on GM and the team, surley the officials have to take some of this as they don't have the abillity to make simple decisions for example Buxton running the ball out of play and then back in I sit on the left hand side of the kop and I could tell that was at least a yard if not two out of play and then later on the blatant hand ball by Lines something Maradonna himself would be proud of and thats just in our last game. I have honestly seen better officiating in a Sunday league game. rant over UTO.
SWFC Tubes 84
The thing is I don't think we currently have our best 11 out. I think the Bywater Weaver argument proves this. I am hoping some players are going to start playing their way into the team. I also think this could be the time for Mark Beevers, could he not replace Jones? I've had this strange feeling since the season started that it could be a Steel City playoff final and I think this team has the potential to create some new Wednesday legends. Although they are misfiring at the moment I think there is a good spirit at the club and some real potential. rant over UTO
Devon_Owl
Anybody noticed the drop in form coincides with the reintroduction of the "Goal Machine"?
dooleys left leg
I think the return of Madine & Buxton is the one bright spot on our horizon right now. We haven't played particularly well these last two games but we could have easily won them both. Disallowed efforts, goal line clearances, referee decisions, luck does play a part. If there is no chance of us getting Ben10 back then GM needs to come up with a few alternatives. Mike Jones hasn't been an instant hit so he either persists with him or sticks him on the bench. JJ might have earned himself another start but only if he can show some consistency. I think Lines could do more sometimes and most of us would prefer to see Lowe in from the start. With or without Ben10 I have faith in Meggo finding that winning formula real soon.
OurMaurice
Have to agree with the majority of what has been said above... I think that Saturday has to put down to Meggo though. I think he had his restrictions in who he could select but I didn't agree in what he did. Yes weaver was off his line for their second goal and for that he has no excuse but I think other factors contributed to our draw that felt like a loss. I felt for Mike Jones... who's a wide right sided midfield player who CAN play anywhere across the midfield (to do a job) he played the whole first half on our left, Buxton playing the right. (He got under fifteen minutes in his preffered position - buying players and then playing them out of position is something I thought we'd got past!?!) There were more positive ways we could have played with the players available. First half I would have played Jones infront of Buxton on the right and we could have played JJ, DJ or LP in front of Reda. The more the first half progressed the less clue we appeared to have and that was mainly due to the opposition doing the right thing and cutting the direct ball out to the front two. The extra player they sat infront of Madine and the Big "O" limited their chances a great deal and being they were instantly under pressure from the second the ball came toward them. The more advanced Jones got to try and help out up front the more exposed Reda became the number of times I saw three around him with no help meant that we kept inviting pressure. The fact that O'Grady couldn't play his usual hold up game letting the team advance was clear from 15 minutes in but we didn't have a plan "B". We started the second half with plan "B" and to be honest is wasn't much better. Plan "C" bore fruit but that was a more desperate solution. If we needed any clearer indication that we lack creative wing play I can't think of one. If teams put three on our front two there should be space for other players but we couldn't take advantage of it. Left Saturday feeling very low and look at the table thinking that if we dont find the answers we may slide to fighting for the play-offs and with the number of games we have there are plenty of points to still get one of the two automatic spots. If we want it we are going to have to show the ambition as a club to go and take it as no one is going to make it easy for us. UTO
4evaOWL
In regards to Weaver/Bywater I think they both have their own strengths and weakness' in regards to Saturday forgetting the off the line lob I wasn't too happy with Weaver's distribution... One drop kick in the entire game. I know we don't want to see the long ball but Bywater offers more in opposition half distribution.
4evaOWL
bywater by miles for me. weaver was all over the shant in the 2nd half of last season, bywater has more control over the defence
Hirsty's Shinpads
Who would have thought we would be discussing the selection of Weaver??? He was the first name on the sheet at the start of the season. We have however bought a quality keeper who is eager for matches and who has proven himself. I'd be tempted to see what Llera can do given the chance of a start, he appears very eager to impress as well and Jones may benefit from some time on the bench. Llera is clearly better on the ball and if we want to see creative play from back to front maybe it's time to see how badly he wants to prove his past clubs foolish for letting him go. WAWAW
4evaOWL
Tomorrow night I'd like to see from the start Bywater, Reda, Llera, Batth, Buxton, JJ, Lines, Prutton, Jones, O'Grady and Lowe. I know dropping Semedo seems strange but I think he's been well off the his best and I don't know if he's started to believe his own anthem but I think he needs a reality check. As for Madine he's still a little off 100% from what I've seen and I'd rather see him given the last half hour to give him the best chance to get his Mojo back. UTO (I know suggesting dropping Madine, Semedo and the Captain seems mental but those in our leauge have adapted to our play and without a player like Marshall to unlock things we need a new plan.)
4evaOWL
Blimey 4evaOWL! Only five changes from the side that started on Saturday? (Or four from the side that finished) Happen as well they didn't lose then. I flatly refuse to predict Meggo's team selection (ever again) but I'd be amazed if either Madine or Semedo were 'rested'. And that goes for Rob Jones too, assuming he's fit.
OurMaurice
Yeah I know OurMaurice... don't think the changes will happen, I'm not even saying they should really?? I guess I'd just like to see us change it up and play differently and adapt with greater ease, if we can't do that with the players on the pitch we need to play different ones. We have a distinct and known starting 11 now and our opponents are setting themselves to play against us with far too much ease. We haven't bought a squad of players that can play and win with ease and we can't stick to plan "A" either. I know at the start of the season we all wanted to see a stable starting 11 and a positive way of play but we find ourselves now being far to predictable. The basics have been worked on by Meggo and we are a great deal better than we were (Hence our leauge position) with a way to go, we are so much further on but predictable we remain. Without the creativity and positive play from midfield (previously supplied by Ben 10 we are going to struggle). His stat's spoke for themselves 5 goals but more importantly 12 direct assissts and continuous positive play. I know I'm suggesting more changes than are probably required but I don't see why we should play MJ and Buxton out of position either. I was really looking forward to seeing what Buxton and Jones could do when paired up down the right but didn't really get the chance. I will wait and see living in hope rather than expectation. In the next 8 days I'm hoping that we get 6 points away from home and that we put a great performance on in the cup win or lose. (I wouldn't risk key players in the cup game though) IMMIT
4evaOWL
I take it we can consider Buxton ahead of Otsemebor. I have always thought Otsemebor was actually the better full back going forward. I agree with 4 eva owl though. Megson should make some big changes for tomorrow's match and it's time we started using this squad because I believe there are other options within it.
Devon_Owl
I think Meggo plays half his side out of position just to confuse the enemy! Seriously though, most visitors to S6 know what we're about by now and their coaches set them up to pack their defence and strike back quickly on the counter. If we score early (which doesn't happen often enough for my liking) it's not such a problem, they're forced to change their approach to get back into the game and that can open things up. There's nothing quite so frustrating as trailing at home against a side capable of shutting up shop. Meggo has shown he's willing to gamble and in fairness most times it's paid off. Away from home is a different kettle of fish. The onus is on them to make the running and they're usually buoyed by the atmosphere etc etc. Plus, we haven't quite mastered our own counter attacking game yet. Well now's our chance; three games to prove me wrong (again!).
OurMaurice
Does playing players out of position confuse our own team and players though?? We haven't got the players that are miles better than what the other teams have able to shine whatever position they play in. It was clear in the first 15 minutes Saturday what they were going to do and without the early goal we needed to adapt to the situation but the players on the pitch seemed unable to do this or were instructed not to. We could have dropped Buxton back into the defense and played wing backs just to see if that could have made the front two have a little more space as we invited them to come forward. I'm not saying that I have the answers but I think the team needs to be asking a lot more questions. I agree OurMaurice the first goal is all important for the development of the game for us but it really didn't look like we had what was required to find it Saturday. I know I've said all this but I've not turned on my team and manager nor will I ever. I'm still really positive in regards to where we are going and I don't want a return to feeling the way I did last season when we struggled to make any progress. What I am saying is though Meggo was looking for a post Ben 10 solution Saturday and if that's the best 11 he could put out it wasn't good enough. I hope Milan can support Meggo with the few days we have left in the window as the talk of three players seems to have gone VERY quiet and if we've not got a better solution than what we showed we need them if we are to make the push we all desire. What the difference a year can make last season we were worried about what the future held in regards to our great club and now we are discussing finding that last 10-15% we need to own the division get in to the Championship and push on. IMMIT
4evaOWL
I'm slightly concerned that with just a week of the transfer window left our chairman is otherwise engaged, I hope that doesn't affect our chances of adding to the squad. I'm dreaming of the day I wake up to the news Ben 10 has signed for the remainder of the season or even better, for good!!
sussexowl
I read I think in the Star that the numbers being spoken about in regards to BM BM do do doo do was 500,000 on a 10,000 per week contract. I can't see why on numbers like that we've not made the offer (Maybe we have??!) I can't see him losing us money even if we were to sign him for the rest of the season and sell him in the summer. That sounds a bit mental but all I mean is that I think he represents at his age a great investment. I'm also concerned that Milan is otherwise engaged at the moment but maybe he's talking to Harry about giving us a hand with some top quality players with some off the book payments??! UTO IMMIT
4evaOWL
You can sense Meggo's frustration when he gets asked about Ben10. Of course he wants him back as much as the rest of us, but Paul Aldridge deals with that side of things and his record seems... Well, let's say we're all hoping for the best. By the way, when I was twenty years old I was on 39 a week (and married). Mind you, my left foot wasn't worth a *****!
OurMaurice
Having done my normal daily trawl of the papers and websites it seems that Meggo is now saying that his main focus has turned to a creative center midfielder and he has communicated this to the money men??! I know he's frustrated about talking about wingers (especially Ben 10) you can see it in his face and hear it in his voice but we still need really good one before the window closes. Having seen Roberts play with Rhodes on the TV the other night you know he's not coming our way. I can only hope that Meggo's move in focus means that maybe the winger solution is sorted??! Maybe one of the next 5 clubs he asked for a winger said yes and the player is soon to be on their way willingly?? 7 days to make the three signings Gary suggested... think he's regretting saying that now as it looks like he's not going to get what he wants!! (Trying some reverse pyscology lol). Oh and OurMaurice... ya left may not have been all that but I'm sure you had a wand of a right??! ;o) As for when I was 20 can't remember what I earnt... drank every penny and had a whole lot of fun not being married. I had two sub-standard left feet and the closest I came to being a proffesional sports person was a drunk game of pool or a dangerous dart match!! UTO
4evaOWL
 

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