Sheffield Wednesday 0 - 0 Brentford
Brentford started the game off on the back foot, as Wednesday were always going to be extremely well drilled at set-pieces. Wednesday forced a fantastic save from Lee, and then had a gilt-edged chance to score, but for some reason the powerhouse Rob Jones knocked the ball square rather than scored.
Anyway, thereafter, Brentford took complete control of the game and dominated for most of the half. We passed them off the park, created chances, but let's be honest, Wednesday are where they are for a reason. Their defence coped extremely well with our onslaught, and despite our efforts, we just couldn't get that crucial goal.
Wednesday continued to look threatening from set-pieces, and Brentford kept on bombing on but failing to get on the end of crosses.
Second half saw Wednesday take more of a grip on the game, and the Bees were forced back. However, despite being forced back, we seemed to have little to do other than to defend set-pieces. BTW, Andy D'Urso is so fussy, and that's why there were a lot of set-pieces around our area. Seems like a fair tackle is no longer allowed.
Anyway, we kept defending hard, Wednesday looked threatening at times, and we kept trying to play football, which kept relieving any pressure at the back. That was such an important aspect to our game and with 10 minutes to go, it was clear that we were going to play for the draw, which anyone would have taken at the start of the game. We stuck to a gameplan, it worked, and we picked up another point on the road.
Bees fans were great today. Plenty of support for the lads and Uwe, which was well-acknowledged at the end of the game.
My personal MOM was Gary Alexander, who battled away in midfield today, although Sam Saunders looked lively, Douglas had a good game, and Kev O'Connor was excellent at right-back.
Lee - 7 - Forced into an excellent save early on, but other than that, actually had little to do. I would state, though, that at times, he really needs to dominate the 6 yard box better, as a few balls came into that area, which he didn't look like he wanted to come and claim.
O'Connor - 8 - Good defending, good distribution from defence, and looked every bit the senior player that he is.
Woodman - 7 - Distribution definitely needs to be better, but he worked hard and was defensively solid. Can't argue with that, but not spectacular.
Eger - 7 - Played well, in my opinion. He is composed, so it means we don't give the ball away too easily from defence.
Llera - 7 - Another who played solidly with composure. Couldn't really cope with Rob Jones at set-pieces, but then again, not many defenders at this level can.
Douglas - 8 - Just scrapes an 8, as he had a slow first half, but brought composure into the midfield during the second half.
Dave - 7 - Quiet game in many ways, but has the energy and contributed well enough to the team performance.
Alexander - 8 - I thought he fought for every header excellently, and dropped into the back line to defend set-pieces very well. We need someone like him to fight for lost causes.
McGinn - 7 - Hardly noticed him at first, but looked lively for most of the game, but lacks the final ball.
Saunders - 8 - Was everywhere in the first half, using his creativity to good effect in the first half. Went quieter in the second half a bit, but still looked good enough for me, to keep his place.
Donaldson - 7 - He is frustrating, because we know that he can do more, but he looks low on confidence and didn't look like a lone striker. That's not to fault his effort, but he looks like he could do with a strike partner to feed off, not be the target man.
Overall, we cannot complain. We played well, and our retention of ball from defence was excellent, which meant that the ball wasn't constantly being fired back towards our goal every time we cleared. We did create a load of chances in the first half, even hitting the bar, but we were up against a very well-organised Gary Megson type team. On the other hand, whilst Wednesday are excellent at set-pieces and looked threatening during these opportunities, we still didn't concede and that's a big positive for us.
To me, I have absolute faith in what we are trying to do. I don't want to see us lump the ball aimlessly forward, as unless we have a genuinely unbelievable striker, we are going to fail to get on the front foot. The way we tried to play it out of defence to find an opportunity, is the right way to play football (at least away from home). We were by far the better team in the first half, and we dealt with the onslaught in the second half to the extent that the last 10 minutes, Wednesday looked devoid of ideas.
Well done to the Bees who travelled up too. Lots of noise, singing, and taking the mick.
With thanks to Leicester Bee and beesotted for their match report
November 11, 2011