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31 December 1969

Armchair Fan Blog - Doncaster (H)

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  • Matt Savage has returned. Not just to blogging, but to Hillsborough itself. A really emotional journey over five years has led Matt to finally come back to the place he loves. Read his story here and his match blog below!

     
    Ground: Hillsborough, Sheffield
    Attendance: 21,871

    The previous match for Sheffield Wednesday was a hammering at the hands of a Manchester United loanee, Jesse Lingard for Birmingham City. This week saw another of the Premier League champions youngsters face the Owls, this time in the form of Federico Macheda - fresh from scoring 2 goals in Rovers last outing, a 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest. Win-less Wednesday recruited Matty Fryatt from Hull Cityin their bid to score goals but with a shortage of match fitness, he would start from the bench.





    Sheffield Wednesday v Doncaster Rovers.
    The noise is turned up as the sides start this Yorkshire derby and its the home side that press straight away - forcing Bongani Khumalo into a hurried clearance before his captain and former Wednesday player Rob Jones clears the lines. A Jeremy Helan cross is deflected wide for a corner and the Owls almost have a perfect start, only for Paul Quinn to clear the danger inches before Atdhe Nuhiu. Barely into the second minute and Reda Johnson's whipped cross is cleared by James Husband as Doncaster find themselves under early sustained pressure. Miguel Llera quells any danger from a Khumalo free-kick following a foul by Stephen McPhail before Jones is again the man to beat in the Rovers box as he heads clear a Giles Coke cross.
         The first booking of the day arrives in the twelfth minute following a Richie Wellens foul on McPhail, earning the former Leicester City man a yellow card. As Rovers catch Wednesday on the break, the linesman flags offside against Theo Robinson - much to the frustration of the travelling fans. When Michail Antonio is fouled by Paul Keegan, Wednesday pack the Doncaster area - only for McPhail's free-kick to be cleared for a corner by Chris Brown. The noise level raises again as the home fans back their team to score, only for Llera to concede a free-kick for a foul on Jones and the pressure drops away.
         On the 20th minute Nuhiu is surprisingly booked for a tangle with Khumalo and the striker picks up a cheap yellow card much to the amusement of the Rovers fans. The away side earn a corner in front of the home fans minutes later but Keegan sees his set-piece easily dealt with by Roger Johnson before Jones clears a Wednesday counter-attack. A 23rd minute drive by Llera is blocked by Khumalo before Jones again blocks a Jermaine Johnson effort at goal after a good run forward with the ball. Six minutes later and the Owls should have taken the lead, Nuhiu finding a little space before flashing his shot inches wide whilst under pressure from two Rovers defenders.
         Good work out wide by Helan makes space for a cross and J.Johnson fires wide of the goal with the Owls fans on their feet. Neat triangles and accurate passes allow Wednesday to dominate the game so far and one such move is rewarded with a free-kick in a dangerous place after Nuhiu is fouled by Dean Furman. With the expectant Owls on their feet willing a strike to at least test the keeper, Llera steps up and beats the wall - only for former Chelsea keeper Ross Turnbull to claim with ease. As Wednesday continue to create chances and pepper the away box with crosses, Doncaster stand firm and their 5 defenders come out on top once again when J.Johnson whips in a Nuhiu-bound cross.
         As the half is winding to a close, Turnbull catches another J.Johnson shot at goal before Quinn reacts well to clear a Jordan Spence cross. The resulting corner doesn't beat the first man to the frustration of the Owls but the chanting continues as the fans try to raise the teams levels further. Keegan receives a yellow card for a foul on Coke before Helan has a shot brilliantly saved by Turnbull and the half comes to a close.

    Doncaster Rovers away support.
    HT REVIEW: A good first half for the home side, bossing the game and making chances whereas Doncaster look to hit on the break. Neat passing triangles by Wednesday are good to watch and the pace of J.Johnson and Antonio look threatening. The moans of previous weeks about long ball tactics are irrelevant as Wednesday are playing it on the floor and doing much better with it. As I'm actually at Hillsborough there's no John Smiths half-time pint just a quick read of the programme whilst I watch the HT penalties.

    James Coppinger replaces Furman as the teams come out for the second half but within a minute Wednesday almost take the lead, Nuhiu again involved as his shot creeps wide of the post. Rovers are indebted to their captain in quick succession shortly after when he clears two crosses from opposing wings, under pressure both times. On the 50th minute Spence enters the referees book when he fouls Coppinger and when Keegan crosses into the box, Jones almost opens the scoring but heads wide of Chris Kirklands post. A cross by Quinn is cleared by Spence and the resulting Keegan corner is met by Tottenham Hotspur loanee Khumalo but he finds Kirkland in the way, clinging on to the goal-bound effort.
         Rob Jones is again the impenetrable brick wall as he blocks a J.Johnson shot at goal in the 54th minute before Helan and Reda Johnson send in crosses to no avail. The Jamaican winger has another chance when he heads towards goal - only for Brown to somehow block and clear just before Nuhiu heads over the crossbar. A free-kick is awarded against West Ham loanee Spence when he is judged to have fouled Brown and Llera again does well to clear the danger as Rovers had packed the area in the hope of opening the scoring. As the half continues the Owls begin to lose their passing precision, lazy passes easily being cut out by the away side allowing Rovers a route into the game. On one such occasion Jones ventures forward after collecting a Coke pass, fortunately for Wednesday - his cross is cleared by the very vocal Roger Johnson.
         As both sides fail to capitalise on the ball and cancel each other out, the frustration in the crowd builds with a few disgruntled shouts from the Kop. On the hour mark Helan shoots at goal but yet another block prevents a goal before Roger Johnson crosses to Nuhiu, only for the former Rapid Vienna striker to see Jones back on the line and clearing for his already beaten goalkeeper. J.Johnson is the next to try his luck, blocked by Wellens before McPhail's corner kick fails to beat the first man again and the momentum drops away. Wednesday have the best chance to open the scoring shortly after - Llera heading towards goal only for Turnbull to somehow manage to parry the ball away before J.Johnson swings in a corner that Roger Johnson heads over.
    Doncaster Rovers goalscorer, Federico Macheda.
         The break in play allows Doncaster to make another substitution as Robinson leaves the field to be replaced by David Cotterill. Shortly after and a McPhail foul allows a move that results in Coppinger whipping a dangerous ball into the heart of defence and Reda Johnson climbs highest to head clear. As Rovers start to get forward more often, another foul on Brown by Spence allows Cotterill to drop a free-kick into the area, only for Llera to clear the danger with Wellens closing in. Missing for most of the game but always a danger, Macheda takes a shot at goal that Kirkland parries and Coke clears.
         Debutant Matty Fryatt enters the field when he replaces J.Johnson on the 68th minute but barely 2 minutes later a cross by Coppinger is met by the head of Macheda and the number 10 beats Llera in the air to head home. Somehow, Rovers lead 0-1! That goal spurred Wednesday back to life and Jones was again on hand to deny the Owls twice in quick succession when he cut out crosses into the box. Macheda looked to mirror his last outing and score a second but dragged wide in a good area following a counter attack. A 76th minute Coke shot is saved by Turnbull before McPhail tests the keeper from a free-kick only for the same result. The former Cardiff City midfielder gets another chance moments later but sees his header at goal blocked by Cotterill.
         Both managers make substitutions when Mark Duffy replaces goalscorer Macheda and Jacques Maghoma replaces Spence. On the 84th minute Wellens shoots at goal but Kirkland reacts well, parrying the ball - only for Wellens to get another chance immediately and the former Liverpool keeper again comes out on top. Another yellow card is shown minutes later when Brown fouls Roger Johnson but as the clock ticks down, Wednesday fail to score an equaliser - giving Doncaster Rovers the 3 points.

    Statistics: (home / away)
    Shots: 18 / 8
    On target: 5 / 5
    Corners: 11 / 4 
    Fouls: 14 / 12
    Possession: 54% / 46%

    Under pressure? Owls manager Dave Jones.
    FT REVIEW: The Owls did not deserve to come away with 0 points out of this one, dominating for the majority of the match only for Rovers to perform a smash and grab. Wayward shooting cost the Owls ultimately as an abundance of chances were wasted, Atdhe Nuhiu was particularly wasteful although he seemed our only real threat. I thought Doncaster were poor throughout and never really threatened before their goal but the tactic of absorbing the pressure (hence the flat back 5) worked and ex-Owl Rob Jones was as commanding as ever. 

    Owls Man of the Match: Stephen McPhail (controlled midfield, accurate passing and calm under pressure)

    Managers reaction:
    Dave Jones: "We dominated it - sometimes a little lack of quality in good areas but we've had some good chances. They've cleared a couple off the line, the keeper made a good save from Llera and its frustrating. Its hard for everybody at the moment because if you play poorly and lose you've got to accept it."

    Paul Dickov: "At half-time we changed the system around and in the second half we were a lot better. We kept the ball better and were a threat on the break too. I'm delighted with the three points more than anything else because we've been playing well recently and not getting the points we deserved, so we're really happy to pick up three away from home." 
     

     

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