We played, we lost. Here are my ratings:
Remi Matthews - 6
Made a couple of regulation stops from Wednesday subs Matias and perhaps a slightly better one to deny Winnall towards the end to deny the visitors a bigger winning margin but was beaten at his near post by Rolando Aarons despite it being a firmly struck effort. Watching it back did he need to rush out to his feet so eagerly as there were defenders closing in? Did that make it easier for the Wednesday winger. Maybe I’m being harsh on our best player of the past 6 weeks.
Pawel Olkowski - 5
The swashbuckling Pawel of Saturday became the subdued Pawel we’ve seen since September as his marauding runs down the right were nowhere to be seen due to the threat of Aarons pace and the Owls’ gradual stranglehold on the game. Not an entirely awful performance and he’s still a player that I think would look so much better in a progressive, coherent side. Just a shame that won’t be us, for the foreseeable future.
Jack Hobbs - 6
Battled manfully against the giant target man Nuhiu and won his fair share of aerial balls against the 6 foot 6 behemoth. Hobbs generally impresses me when I see him play and I can’t remember an awful lot that he did wrong in all honesty as two moments of quality were our undoing defensively.
His distribution wasn’t fantastic last night, although the trajectory of his long balls is preferable to Beevers’ Toblerone feet. As I always make the point, if Jason Lowe is the only one who seems to regularly show for the ball when with our backline, then nine times out of ten it’ll probably come straight back to them from the sideways and backwards managers pet. Does that then continue ad infinitum? Now that is a purgatory I wouldn’t even wish on Ken Anderson.
Mark Beevers - 4
Now I don’t want to be too harsh to a guy who gives his all and has been part of some good times at the club but if there is the epitome of an individual playing above his station then name me a better example than Beevers.
Any time he comes up against anyone with a semblance of quality or a hint of acceleration then pure physics means he can’t react quickly enough to either track a run or keep up with anyone pace wise.
Having re-watched Steven Fletcher’s goal, it is a clever blindside run by the Scot and an equally measured finish. But a better defender would have the wherewithal to read the run and a more agile defender would recover and got the block in on the subsequent shot. He’s a good league one defender. Or an average MLS one. Which is what he’ll probably be next season.
If it wasn’t for the goals he’s chipped in then you’ve got to say he’s been a failure overall in his time here.
Callum Connolly - 5
Never really got involved and though not overawed by Adam Reach he never got fully to grips with him, especially in the second half when he seemed to have acres to play the through ball for Aarons’ clincher. Was excellent alongside his Everton mate Williams on Saturday but then he gets shifted to left back tonight. Granted, Andy Taylor isn’t the world’s best left-back by a long, long, long stretch. But why change a winning team to accommodate Jason Lowe and Craig Noone, hardly marquee players.
Jason Lowe - 5
While he rarely loses possession and in the first half broke up a lot of play from the Owls, a deep lying midfielder needs to at least try to break the lines and pass forward when the opportunity arises in order for us to surprise our opponents, instead of the predictable dross we usually serve up.
As we saw with Barry Bannan’s performance, who once graced this hallowed turf for an all-too-short period, having a clever, composed passer of the ball in that position, willing to show for the ball at all times is vital.
He makes space for himself with his quick turning circle and low centre of gravity until the right, progressive pass is available. For Bannan read Ryan Woods, Ben Pearson, Jack Colback. The list of this style of played is endless and also absolutely pivotal. In this day and age having someone who is adept only at breaking up the play is not a sufficient skillset to prosper at this level of football and the longer we persevere with this the longer you will see the same results.
They say madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results...
Gary O’Neil - 5.5
A battling effort from the veteran after his George Weah impersonation at the weekend. His quality on the ball is far superior to some of his colleagues at times and he buys time on the ball by shielding it well and using the nous of a player who has spent the majority of his career a rung higher on the footballing ladder.
He did fade badly in the second half after an acceptable showing in the first period. It says an awful lot about the squad and the season we’ve had as a whole that the soon to be 36 year-old, who lets not forget was only initially signed up as cover on a 4 month deal until January after a trial period, will no doubt be high in the running to be our player of the year.
Craig Noone - 4.5
My autocorrect really does sum this one up. Craig No one is indeed a no one at this level despite his ferocious work ethic. He beat his marker maybe once all game and his frustrating cut-in crosses never threaten the oppositions defence. When he played left wing vs Walsall in the cup he set up 4 goals. Barely played there since and despite his non-stop running, is another one who won’t get a Championship club next season.
Sammy Ameobi - 3
If you’d never seen football as a concept before you’d of been forgiven for thinking that Sammy had been planted as a mole by Sheffield Wednesday into our team as a ploy to help them win the game. Nothing at all came off for the lethargic Geordie as his season peters out with barely a good performance to mention. The complete lack of a clamour of clubs competing for his signature last Summer should’ve been the alarm bell we needed that this is a player whose mentality does not match his undoubted technical quality. However we’ve been fishing in contaminated, shallow waters for a long time and he was the most appealing fish. Such a shame.
Joe Williams - 6
I’m starting to believe there is a good player in there and after an excellent second half against Millwall, I thought Joe picked up where he left off. Unfortunately he was overrun alongside all his teammates in the second half as Wednesday throttled the life out of us with their clever, penetrative possession and was eventually withdrawn. Another who I think would perhaps look a lot better in a better team and a guy who I actually think will go onto have a decent career in the game.
Josh Magennis - 4.5
Feel sorry for the guy as he’s constantly trying to polish a turd every game but only once did he manage to make anything of the more and more hopeless balls hoofed in his general direction.
Not even winning his headers anymore and his timing of the jump seems to be regressing. Josh must yearn for some sort of service to work with but after 29 league games without troubling the scorers, would you back him to have the confidence or even the muscle memory to put it in the net? No, me neither.
Buckley - 0
Don’t remember him touching it. If you’re going to run around on the pitch at least try to get involved. Looked like one of those kids whose Dad makes them play football but he’d really rather be writing poems or in art class. Get out of my club and take your gloves with you.
Donaldson - 6
Actually looked lively in his cameo and gave Magennis some much needed support. Had our only shot of note from the angle after Connell’s sublime pass, which was saved easily enough by Kieran Westwood. He’s a better player in my opinion than many give him credit for but alas, he’s not a Championship goalscorer any more. It’s not particularly his fault that we deemed it a good idea to pay him to do this, when he’s clearly no longer up to it.
Connell - 7
My first proper look at him and yeah, I liked what limited action I saw from him. The pass for our only real chance of the game, barring Noone’s deflected cross onto the post early doors, was sublime and he didn’t look overawed like many of his elder colleagues. We must keep him for our League One odyssey.
Phil Parkinson - 3
Why change the winning team from Saturday? Sends out all the wrong signals. Trying to think of a reasonable excuse as to why but if Taylor was carrying a knock then why is he on the bench. Okay, Craig Noone for Buckley is a meh change as Buckley hardly had a great game on Saturday. But even still, STICK WITH A WINNING SIDE!!!
His days are numbered as manager and despite working with the equivalent of both hands and arms behind his back and a blindfold on to boot, his tactical ineptitude and baffling tinkering with the team will prove to be his ultimate downfall. However nice a guy he is, he has to go when Basran and co roll into town.