|Sheffield Wednesday host Burnley.|
Ground: Hillsborough, Sheffield.
Championship football returns to Hillsborough in the form of a visit from the 130 year old Clarets, Burnley. With Sean Dyche at the helm the Clarets earned a 1-1 draw (click link to see the report) in their opening league fixture, before thrashing York City 0-4 in the Capital One Cup in midweek. The departure of Charlie Austin to QPR dampened the positive vibes at Turf Moor and hopes turned to Sam Vokes to lead the line and step up to fill the void. Wednesday, still missing Reda Johnson and Lewis Buxton through injury, keep new signing Rafael Floro and academy graduate Liam Palmer in the full-back spots. A noticeable omission from the home team is Gary Madine, not even making the substitutes bench.
|Rafael Floro of Sheffield Wednesday.|
Former Sporting Lisbon player Floro commits the first foul of the game, clumsily upending Ross Wallace in only the 4th minute but fortunately for the youngster, Burnley fail to capitalise on the opportunity. The home fans almost have reason to cheer just 2 minutes later though as Jeremy Helan breaks past a defender before firing wide of the goal. In a lucky break for the visitors, Jacques Maghoma fails to break the deadlock on the 9th minute when his driven effort misses wide right of Tom Heaton's post. When Kamil Zayatte breaks up a Burnley forage forward, Sam Vokes needlessly fouls the Guinean defender to earn the Owls a free-kick deep inside their own half. 13 minutes in and the returning Jose Semedo concedes a free-kick when contrary to the song (click here for the song), Dean Marney evades the midfielder - allowing a neat set piece that ends when Vokes fires wide of the target. As the Clarets begin to get a foothold of the match, David Prutton fouls Junior Stanislas and the former West Ham United midfielder lashes the direct set-piece wide. The 18th minute sees another Vokes effort fly wide with the aid of a deflection before the resulting corner is hacked away - leading to a quick Wednesday break that Helan squanders, firing wide. Semedo is caught in an advanced role by Danny Ings and a powerful effort by Floro with the free-kick is well parried by Heaton. In a scrappy encounter the next meaningful action is a Prutton shot on the 24th minute - again flying wide, not testing the visiting keeper. Maghoma looks to pick the Owls up with a flurry of meaningful runs, then a dangerous cross that earns a corner before Stanislas sees away the former Burton wingers set-piece. On the 32nd minute Burnley easily carve through the home defence and a Wallace cross is met by the head of Ings who despite the height of the Wednesday centre-backs, heads home to give Burnley a 0-1 lead. A substitution for the Clarets sees Stanislas leave the action to be replaced by Scott Arfield - the former Huddersfield Town player. Barely 5 minutes later and the sparse away following are jumping for joy again - an almost carbon copy of the first goal sees Kieran Trippier deliver a pinpoint ball and Vokes is allowed to head home the second goal of the game. Surprisingly this leads to bums leaving seats and Wednesday fans leaving the stadium in disgust. Atdhe Nuhiu concedes a 38th minute free-kick when he overpowers Jason Shackell before Michail Antonio - largely anonymous so far, is fouled by Kevin Long in an advanced position. Liam Palmer delivers the 40th minute free-kick only to see Shackell clear the danger unchallenged. The half is coming to a close and free-kicks are aplenty, Arfield fouling Zayatte before Helan sees yellow for a foul on David Jones. The half-time whistle is greeted with boos from the home support as the players slump off for an interval bashing by their manager.
HT REVIEW: Lacklustre, lacking, poor, uninterested... those adjectives are more than fitting for that first half display from the Owls. The performance of the QPR match seems a million miles away from the showing here so far. Burnley will be somewhat surprised to be leading so convincingly at the break and will no doubt look to kill the game off early in the second half. One more goal to the Clarets and it is most certainly game over for the Owls. The half-time snack is a pint of John Smiths and some mini-eggs (how nice are mini-eggs when you've not had them for ages??) - here's hoping for a better second half.
|Dave Jones, SWFC manager.|
Wednesday look to make an impact substitution before the commence of play, Chris Maguire replaces Floro in a move that sees Helan switch to full-back and Maguire partnering Nuhiu up front. Within a minute of the restart the Owls almost grab a goal, Palmer sees his effort parried by Heaton before Nuhiu is ruled offside. The game-killing goal almost comes early for Burnley too as Ings has a 49th minute drive that flies wide of Chris Kirklands post. Maghoma looks to take that threat and turn it to the Owls advantage with a quick break that sees him fouled by Trippier. The free-kick breaks down however and Maguire does well to get a shot towards goal in. Maghoma sends in a 51st minute whipped cross that Nuhiu should have done a lot better with - heading wide of goal. A wayward shot by Wallace precedes a Wednesday counter-attack, halted by a foul on Maguire by Shackell - earning the former Barnsley man a yellow card. Barely a minute later and the referee is showing another yellow card, Maghoma this time for fouling Trippier before Wednesday captain Anthony Gardner also sees yellow for a foul on Vokes. The direct effort at goal by Wallace misses the target much to the relief of the home support and a 64th minute header by Nuhiu sees Heaton parry away, before the keeper is indebted to his captain for hacking away the danger. The Owls look to apply more pressure onto the Burnley back-line with dangerous crosses by Helan, Nuhiu, Maguire and Semedo before Nuhiu strays into an off-side position, giving the Burnley defence a respite. A wonderful 70th minute cross by Scotland U21 international Palmer is me by a leaping Prutton whose header at goal finally beats former Manchester United keeper Heaton, giving Wednesday a route back into the game. David Edgar soon replaces Wallace as Sean Dyche looks to close the game out with an extra defender. Semedo is fouled in the 73rd minute by Jones and the Manchester United academy graduate sees yellow for his foul. Kirkland is the next keeper tested though as Vokes sees his shot parried by Wednesdays number 1. A free header by Edgar misses the target from a Jones corner before Heaton does very well to keep hold of an 80th minute Maguire shot. A first team debut for Caolan Lavery quickly follows when he replace Maghoma a minute later. The card-happy referee again brings his yellow out when Edgar blocks Antonio with the pacey winger looking to break forward but Maguire sees his delivery met first by Shackell. The Clarets captain is again at hand to deal with the resulting corner before Maguire flashes an 87th minute effort wide. After 6 minutes of added-time, the referee blows his whistle for the final time - condemning Wednesday to their third 2-1 loss in as many games.
Statistics: (home / away)
Shots: 14 / 10
On target: 5 / 4
Corners: 7 / 3
Fouls: 10 / 12
Possession: 49% / 51%
|Victorious Burnley FC manager Sean Dyche.|
FT REVIEW: The statistics would suggest Wednesday were unlucky to come away with nothing, truth-be-told the home team was lucky to have been in with a shout at all. As bad as the first half performance warranted a second half step-up, it never fully materialised. The Owls were much better in the second half but that was because the standard of comparison (the first half) was dire. Comments were made of Burnleys time-wasting, play acting and 'dirty tactics' to see out the game but to me that it clever football. Defend a 1-2 lead with the clock ticking down, why not? In Dave Jones' post match interview he gave in insight into the missing Gary Madine, the player will not play for Sheffield Wednesday again until the conclusion of his impending court case. A dark day for the player, no doubt.
Owls Man of the Match: Chris Maguire.
Dave Jones: "We know we can do better and we will work at it. I couldn't fault them in the second half, I didn't want them to go into their shells and hide. I've said to them 'from now until the end of your careers you'll make mistakes' - its how you react to those mistakes."
Sean Dyche: "Another performance with good productive moments, but I don't think its as good as we've played. We scored two very good goals I must say, there were very good bits of quality. I felt the biggest turning point was an unbelievable not given penalty, which quite frankly, if we score then I think that the games done and it flattens the crowd. Over the season you hope there's a balance of it but it changed the feeling of the game."