Often Partisan

Sheffield Wednesday Reflections

Two goals from Gary Hooper condemned Blues to their first league defeat of 2016 at a wet St Andrew’s. Blues had taken the lead when Clayton Donaldson made the most of a ricochet from Tom Lees’ clearance in first half injury time but they were undone by two goals in two minutes in the second half.

I said when Blues beat Ipswich we’d play better than we did in that game and lose; I didn’t imagine it would happen in the next home game. In what was an extended first half following a sickener of a collision between Wednesday keeper Keiren Westwood and defender Sam Hutchinson, Blues had looked in control for large portions of the game and were in some ways unfortunate to only be one up at half-time. Blues had been continually pressing and it finally told as Michael Morrison stopped Tom Lees from belting the ball into the stand, allowing Clayton Donaldson to slip home his first goal since Fulham away on November 7.


The game turned on two substitutions in the second half. Firstly Wednesday replaced the ineffective Aiden McGeady with Atdhe Nuhiu giving the Owls a focal point up front for Hooper and Fernando Forestieri to feed off; secondly Blues took off the tiring Jon Toral for Diego Fabbrini. Blues had slowly been losing a grip on the game and I think Rowett made an error in swapping like for like when it seemed that the team needed more bite in the middle – particularly as Will Buckley had also looked like he was blowing out of his arse.

Wednesday’s equaliser was down to a bit of class. Two successive 1-2s in the middle of the park left Paul Robinson among others chasing shadows with Gary Hooper able to move into space and lash home from 18 yards.

Almost immediately after, Diego Fabbrini fell over under a strong but fair challenge just inside the Wednesday half, allowing the Owls to break down the right with Forestieri before the Italian played a beautiful ball across the Blues box for Hooper to slot home from close range. There was a slight element of controversy due to Maikel Kieftenbeld being blocked off in an off the ball challenge, but I can’t honestly think it made any difference.

Fabbrini may have felt he had a penalty later on but in all truth he went down much too easily – no doubt to the joy of the bloke behind me in Block 19 who thought he was auditioning for a role as a U-Boat captain in a remake of Das Boot, as much as he was shouting “Dive, Dive, Dive”. I don’t like seeing players dive – even to our benefit – and I think it went against Fabbrini when he was legitimately fouled in injury time with the ref waving play on.

I honestly think bringing on Fabbrini was a mistake. As talented and as creative as he is, when the pitch is marshy because it’s been raining continually for hours and we’re tiring I think Blues would have been better served bringing on Davis and shoring up a bit in midfield with fresh legs to make tackles and stop Wednesday from taking control. By the time Vaughan came on I thought the game had gone and the chance to take Buckley off in midfield was gone – but maybe that’s just hindsight.

Against Ipswich we rode our luck somewhat – but today proved that we can’t continue to defend as we have and expect teams not to score. Wednesday’s strikeforce is somewhat more expensive than ours and it showed as they were clinical with their finishing. As intricate for the build-up for the first was, none of Morrison, Robinson or Grounds could get close to their players allowing Hooper the chance to show why Wednesday paid a reported £3million for his services. Grounds was caught upfield for the second and as much as Robbo tried to get across to stop the cross he was never going to get there.

Is it a reality check that Blues aren’t good enough for promotion? The naysayers will say so and I can see their point but I don’t think it’s much more than fine lines that is keeping us out of the playoffs. Rotherham away is going to be an interesting test – a bottom three side scrapping for their lives to stay out of the relegation trapdoor. If we can bounce back with a result there, then I’ll believe.

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74 Responses to “Sheffield Wednesday Reflections”

  • Dino Tiltoni says:

    Good report. That’s how I saw it. Fabbrini conned the ref twice and then he put his whistle away. As you say, Davis would have been a better sub in the conditions.

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      Completely agree and the genie is out of the bottle in the Referees Forum – watch Fabbrini of BCFC; he’s another who goes too easily

  • KC says:

    Hopefully somebody will have a quiet word with Fabbrini about diving – maybe Robbo should be the man for this. :)

    Buckley should have been subbed around 70 minutes as he was pretty well done by then. Bringing on Davis at that point may well have disrupted Wednesday’s play.

    But as you say, hindsight…

  • James Keenan says:

    Take your chances and you win the game. Donaldson, for all his good work, is not clinical whilst Hooper is! On to the next one.

  • Bluesfan says:

    Why isn’t Rowett playing Ryan Shotton in defence we needed someone to come in and go into the team right away yet he doesn’t is it because he’s not fit enough.

  • theguvna says:

    Was a foul on Fabbrini in the build up (IMO) and a clear block on Kieftenbeld, irrespective of her the it may or may not have made a difference. We did lose something when Toral went off, but Fabbrini was fouled in the box. The Kop lino was dire, constantly flagging for dubious offsides, yet failing to see the high kick on Clayton under his nose.

    We were never looking like we would concede, until the conjured up a quality goal. The goal seemed to deflate us for about five minutes, and it cost us.

    At the end of the day, it’s still only three points….

    • .KC says:

      Totally agree Guvna

    • ChrisG says:

      Sorry guvna but hen we’re on the same points as the opposition it’s more like 6 points

      • theguvna says:

        Chris,maths is maths, three points! Put it another way, let’s say that they lose next week and we win, it’s just the same three points. In the main, we have quite a nice run in, and there’s still a long way to go. I’m trying to put a positive spin on things.

        Anyway, we more than matched Wednesday, apart from the finishing. They looked vulnerable at the back, and had we taken our chances, the pundits on the television would have been saying what good side we are, instead of how good Wednesday were. In the main, they only looked a threat through the middle, where they did have strong players and good movement. I think that we are there or thereabouts, and good enough to compete at top six level.

        Although we beat Ipswich 3-0, I thought that they were a better side that Wednesday. All about opinions I guess!

    • paule says:

      I thought both were fouls on Fabbrini & as much as people don’t like it if a player gets touched they go down, if he was diving why wasn’t he booked? If you listen to Rowetts interview he watched both incidents four times and he said they were both definite fouls, the official’s in that game were poor which ended up in him losing control at the end and booking the wrong player.

  • Que Sera Sera , when you make the sky the limit you encounter black clouds at times , now turn that disappointment into anger , the next team we play is going to pay , come on your SUPER BLUES prove it ….KRO

  • mattblue says:

    As Diego warmed up, the fans cheered him on like he was already our next Dugarry. 15 minutes later, he’s booed like a Robbie Savage who’s just handed in a transfer request. Toral is our best player; taking him off changed the game. Fabrini was marked out of the game and reacted to this by diving at any given opportunity.

    Grounds was woeful again. I think Maghoma makes him look less rubbish by using his pace and stamina to track back. Every time Grounds gets the ball, I fear for the worst. Responding to other comments, Caddis doesn’t deserve to be dropped; he had an excellent game. Both Wednesday goals came through the middle, not the flanks.

    Looking at our promotion contending rivals objectively, their away support was superb and their reserve keeper made some excellent saves. Blues were unlucky to not get a point today but as I said, we would’ve done better if we could’ve kept Toral on.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      The booing was for the referee not Fabbrini. Why would he be booed for being fouled ffs.

      • Dave Mann says:

        The linesman on the kop side second half was more at fault than the referee in my opinion and the pointing of fingers and booing was aimed at him aswell as the referee . KRO

        • Shirley Blue says:

          My main point being it wasn’t aimed at Fabbrini as somebody had posted before. Yes the linesman was abysmal but the key decision was made by the ref to allow play to go on for their winner when Fabbrini was fouled and Kieftebeld blocked out.

          • Dave Mann says:

            Very true and I agree with that but I was just making another point that’s all ! KRO

          • Mattblue says:

            Hi Shirley. He was booed/groaned at during one point with an overhead long ball which he tried to take down with a first touch and was unsuccessful. Certainly the messiah welcoming disappeared after a few dives and no impact on the game.

    • ChrisG says:

      Mattblue you obviously watched a different game to me cos to say Grounds played badly was a bit unfair, i’ve been on his back all season & thought he should be dropped but i’ll hold my hands up & say he’s played well of late. Because of the weather it was a very tricky pitch to play on, sometimes the ball spun off at 100 mph & other times it just stopped dead & I think every player coped pretty well under the circumstances. Fabbrini even had time to practice his diving for the next olympics.

      • Dave Mann says:

        Fabbrini will get us a lot of free kicks but he must be carefull in his play acting , the weather helped him yesterday but he’s gonna get booked a few times if he carries on diving as much as he did yesterday , we were laughing round by us every time he went down but also appealing :-) KRO

      • Mattblue says:

        Sorry Chris but I disagree. He made several stray passes, generally doesn’t know what to do when he’s in an attacking position and seemed reliant on Maghoma to help him defend. Been to lots of games this season and he is consistently our weakest link in my opinion.

        • ChrisG says:

          So the rest of the team are perfect passers of the ball?, the point i’m making is it isn’t just Grounds that’s crap at passing,the majority of the team regularly make stray passes. If I was to name one player who is consistantly bad it’s Gleeson, another would be Cottrill, but they make up for that with other attributes as does Grounds, that’s why our defensive record is pretty good & why I think it’s unfair to single him out. I agree that some of his appearances have been dire, but as I said before he has improved of late.

  • Womble Joe says:

    Your comments mirrored mine exactly

  • .KC says:

    Agree Toral was our best player and is pure class but was he injured ? I saw him wave to the bench as though he needed/wanted to go off.

  • Tony E says:

    Toral hadn’t trained all week because of a swollen knee, also he cramped up before being taken off. I thought Fabbrini was the right call to bring on, it was a difficult pitch and he has instant ball control. The lino on the Kop side was abysmal, not keeping up with play and guessing re the offside decisions, at least two maybe three were incorrect.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      I was surprised Toral started. We are all experts after the event with the benefit of hindsight. We know now that Davis was probably the right sub but I was thinking the same the conditions were made for Fabbrini and we needed a second goal.

  • Bromsgrove Blue says:

    Big disappointment today with the result. We had enough chances before Wednesday staged their comeback. Donaldson could have had a hatrick and other chances went begging. Against teams like Wednesday, I thought one goal would never be enough . As a number of people have commented we should have brought Davies on to shore up the midfield which seemed to tire in the last quarter. Next week’s game at Rotherham is now a must win, if we are to maintain our momentum for the playoffs. Kro

    • Mitrkwood55 says:

      Let’s not forget we provided Rotherham with a 2-0 win at our place back in September which ironically cost their manager his job!

  • Dave Mann says:

    A lost three points today as soon as Toral went off but he was injured and did signal to the bench , Fabbrini went down every time he got the ball and should have been booked for diving on more than one occasion , the linesman on the cop side second half was a joke and gave off side every time we went forward , a defeat that’s hard to take as we were by far the better team and with those goals being conceded I think shotton starts centre half next week at Rotherham … Still in there fighting and Bluey was right that we would lose but then he says we lose most games. so bound to be right now and again , the vile won but still 8 points off safety with 13 games left so still in massive trouble … As for Blues, chin up and still playing very well even in defeat and a winnable game at Rotherham next Saturday will put us back on track Ime sure of that . KRO

    • Bluey says:

      Dave don`t add lying to your ever growing catalogue of stupid traits.I do NOT forecast us losing every game so why say it? And to be fair if i did would that be any worse than saying we`ll win every game like you do? I know it must be irritating for you that i was accurate and you were 100% wrong but that`s the way the cookie crumbles.

      • almajir says:

        Can you two (not just you Bluey) please grow up? If you can’t get on then please ignore each other – I don’t have time to delete playground comments.

  • FlowerPower says:

    Is it a reality check that Blues aren’t good enough for promotion?

    No. First defeat since 6 games ago is quality form.

    Our last defeat was 9th of January to Bournemouth.

    One defeat and you are already starting to question lol We certainly wont win them all and we don`t need to!

    <Keep Right On! Believe!

    • Dave Mann says:

      I will have some of that FlowerPower , FlowerPower , that’s the reality check some fans need to realise , lose a game and we’re doomed again , rediculous , those fans who were there yesterday know where we are and what can be achieved this season and that’s all that matters to us more supportive fans , well said ! KRO

    • Shirley Blue says:

      Spot on FP. Some of the negativity on here is just amazing after one defeat. We didn’t deserve to lose yesterday but that’s how it goes sometimes. Their equaliser was brilliant and the second shouldn’t have been allowed.

    • almajir says:

      Did you read what I wrote or what you thought I wrote?

      • Shirley Blue says:

        I wasn’t referring to your article but some posters on here are writing us off.

        • Art says:

          It’s always a matter of opinion and as said on many previous occasions I don’t think the squad is capable of getting into the play offs this season.This is not me being negative as it would be fantastic for the club the players and the manager.By nature I have never been a negative person and having recently beaten cancer I hope this gives a little insight into my personality and my belief that positivity is a very powerful asset.

          I just think we are improving slowly and under GR we could eventually achieve promotion but not this season – a top 10 place would be a great performance given the lack of investment during the first half of the season.

          But it’s only my opinion….

          • Mattblue says:

            In my opinion we do have a squad capable of getting into playoffs; I don’t think it’s negative to critically reflect on areas that could be improved on. During the match, I stay to the end and give my best support.

  • ChrisG says:

    If Fabbrini could learn to look up & pick out a pass he really will be a star, before they scored there was a pass through the middle to Maghoma who would have been away, but he checked back got fouled & the chance was gone.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    At the end of the day, it’s only 3 points lost. We picked up 3 unexpected points at Derby, so it’s swings and roundabouts. We still have a very good chance of finishing in the play offs, but with sixteen games left, when the chance comes, we need to take it if we’re going to get in that top 6 and stay there, before the other teams start to pull away.

    Unfortunately, we’re going to get poor refs more and more now, it seems to be the norm these days, but, it just means we’ll have to up our game and do the job ourselves, so we don’t have to rely on those idiots to give us anything. We’re more than capable of it.

    • Dave Mann says:

      I can understand your anguish as is mine against the referee and the linesman but I don’t think there out there to favour anyone , they see it as they see it and we as fans will always act accordingly when things go against us , yes they were bad yesterday but I think calling them idiots are a bit strong , they go out and do the job they thinks right and the calls they think right , yesterday was a bad day for us but we will get refs who will give us the odd call when we think it should have gone the other way do its swings and roundabouts , not a dig just my opinion staffs , KRO

      • StaffsBlue says:

        My point isn’t that they’re favouring one team or the other Dave, it’s that they’re generally just p1ss poor at the job and we, as other teams, are going to suffer for their mistakes. It’s just the way it is these days. Like I said, we just have to up our game a bit and put teams to the sword, so that their decisions have less impact on us.

        • Dave Mann says:

          Correct , and for the record it’s never gonna change so until technology completely over rules referees decisions then we have to accept it and deal with it , all us fans suffer from one way or the other and at the end of the day the ref does what he thinks right , I’ve refereed and trust me they don’t go out to make mistakes but human error occurs , we lost 2-1 yesterday because they scored more goals than us and not because of the referee , again my opinion and I will leave it there . KRO

          • Dave Mann says:

            At Rotherham we win 2-0 with a dodgy penalty and a goal that was off side .. Do we moan then about the referee , no , so let’s put it In perspective please , point made , goodnight !! KRO

  • Shakespeare says:

    Good post OP exactly how I saw it , strangely not too disappointed because I except they were the better team and had four dangerous attackers who showed the extra class and yes in hindsight Davis should have come on and offered some resistance in the middle , I think Gary was chasing the 2nd goal and the win when the draw would have been a decent result.
    Anyway onwards and upwards let’s move on to Rotherham .

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    Agree on the Fabrini substitution and it should have been Davis.GR must have felt a bit compelled to give him his home debut I think.
    No panic though,setbacks and defeats are all parts of the process.Its how you react to them that is important.A good performance next week at Rotherham and this will be quickly forgotten about.

  • Mineheadblue says:

    I wasn’t able to go yesterday (been unwell) but listened on Player. Throughout the 2nd half Kevan Broadhurst kept saying that we shouldn’t be trying to defend a one nil lead and should be pressing far more. I completely agree with that. We’re not good enough to sit on one goal against a side like Wednesday. For me, GR should have brought Davis and VSO on before they got their second.
    More importantly I think that we didn’t just lose a six pointer but we lost a significant psychological battle. All week certain players have been saying that ‘we owe SWed a result and that they didn’t fancy playing us’. That backfired and handed them the advantage. If we do make the play-offs we could find ourselves playing them….who knows….and we’ve missed an opportunity to bolster confidence. I agree that our next game assumes even greater significance.
    Reading through some of the comments above, it’s clear that people disagree a fair bit and sometimes respond to posts with both barrels. I just think that when people are it’s more often down to disappointment and not a reflection on anything else…..we all love The Blues or we wouldn’t bother!! (Just my opinion).

  • Dave Mann says:

    Hope your feeling better Mineheadblue .. Anyway don’t always take what Broadhurst says as the norm , we could have scored four or five and for me we was not sitting on 1-0 lead , yes a second goal could have killed the game but it was not down to us sitting back with ten men behind the ball letting them attack us , strange how we see games differently but fans and commentators do and that’s what brings on a difference of opinion . KRO

  • Mineheadblue says:

    Thanks Dave. You make a good point about opinions and it’s good to hear that we could have scored more with a bit of luck. KRO

  • Dave Mann says:

    Luck was something that was with us yesterday but it was all bad !! KRO

  • Andrew says:

    We don’t have the ability to score enough goals. We get promoted then it’s by very luck circumstances. I’m not concerned about the last 5-6 games cus we have been punching above our weight. Just can’t see those ugly wins in us. We need a couple or three players you know will score when it matters and we don’t have that.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    I’ve always thought we won’t go up with Caddis, Grounds, Spector and Davis as regulars. I’ll add Vaughan to that now. As it stands Shotton could take one of the full back berths which leaves just one of the above in situ unless injury requires them.

  • Retired&Weary says:

    I was as frustrated as anybody by the result, but as someone else said, you will lose some time. No need to go over the top about one defeat.
    Not sure it was down to Toral going off, the tide had turned well before that. Yes I think Davis should have come on for Buckley perhaps (before they scored).
    The big worry is the missed chances. Donaldson seems to have lost confidence in front of goal.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Donaldson scored and we created a few chances so to me there’s not a lot wrong , fans can be as negative as they like but please don’t expect me to comply . KRO

  • tony a says:

    fabrini is an embarrasment should have gone for lee tomlin on loan we need goals not a fall over merchant robbed to easy for second goal

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Is Fabbrini to us was Asprilla was to Newcastle? He looks skilful and quick but why am I wondering why he never nails a regular place at any club?

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      Daniel Sturridge couldn’t nail down a first team place at Man City or Chelsea could he but that didn’t make him crap did it?

  • Dave Mann says:

    Asprilla was to me an amazing super quality player , don’t think Fabbrini is quite there yet , he’s a Newcastle legend , let’s see if Fabbrini becomes one at Blues , no comparison really Julian . KRO

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      With respect Dave you missed the point. The signing of Asprilla derailed their title challenge quite spectacularly

  • Gary says:

    I think we need to be careful about condemning Fabrinni too quickly here.
    He does go down a bit theatrically at times, but he’s a lightweight player with quick feet who is quite easy to knock over. As I saw it, he was fouled on each of his first 2 touches and the Wednesday players then got in the referees ear. After that, the referee didn’t give him a single decision, yet for me he was clearly fouled in the build up to their 2nd goal and was definitely tripped in the box. Just because he falls over easily doesn’t mean it’s not a foul.
    IMO we lost because of poor finishing by Donaldson (twice) and some poor refereeing, although on the balance of the 2nd half it is hard to argue that Wednesday didn’t deserve at least a point. I do think Rowett reacted too slowly to the shift in momentum in the 2nd half and should have taken Buckley off earlier. Davis would have been my choice too, to stiffen the midfield as Wednesday were starting to run through us too easily.
    A setback, but still plenty to feel optimistic about. Move on, focus on the next one.

    • .KC says:

      Yes Gary absolutely right with every point and Shirley below. I know it is opinion but some of the negatives on here are ridiculous.

  • Shirley Blue says:

    Looks like Fabbrini is going to have to watch out for the boo boys already. It might give Grounds a break anyway because they need one player to slag off and blame for everything. Fabbrini got 15 minutes in really shitty conditions when Sheffield Wednesday were already bossing the game after bringing the big number 9 on who changed the game. I guess the usual morons who boo and abuse the team every time we don’t win at home will never go away but when it’s one player who gets the abuse it’s particularly sad.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I agree. Give the guy a chance, he’s only been here 5 minutes.

      I do agree with the overall view about diving though, not just Fabbrini, but every player who does it… and the little Italian isn’t the only Blues player who has been guilty of it this season. It’s a distasteful part of the game that needs to be discouraged. It just needs a word in the ear from the manager or the captain.

  • Bluenose blue says:

    Some so called fans are so fickle. Before deadline day it was all sign Fabbrini now as Shirley said ’15 minutes in really shitty conditions’ you’re all on the lads back, give him a break. If he had got the pen he should have been awarded would you still be knockin’ him, i think not KRO.

    • paule says:

      I don’t think the loss was down to Fabbrini but a error by Rowett, everyone cheered when he was warming up & cheered when he came on so the majority of fans wanted him playing, personally I thought it wasn’t the right choice Fabbrini is a flare player and looking at the weather conditions and the opposition I’d have left him on the bench and bought Davis on as he’s better at breaking things up.

  • Leicester had 6 shots on target this last game , 7 the game before and they have done it often , way to go ….

  • tony a says:

    never booed a player in my 55years down the blues but i do not want to watch players go down under fair challenges old fashoined yes and proud of it

  • Rotherham 1 Birmingham 4 …GET IN THERE…….KRO

  • atko says:

    We approached the whole second half wrong. Unfortunately we learned nothing from Hillsborough and that will be our downfall this season if we don’t start learning from our mistakes!


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