Wednesday, January 17, 2007

City 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1


It followed a typical pattern of a few FA Cup replays I've seen us involved in, whereby we should have controlled the game after going 1-0 up but allowed the opposition an avenue back into the game before ultimately putting the game away.

I thought Wednesday were less impressive overall than in the first game - and particularly Chris Brunt was less involved in their build up play, but they played well in patches and enjoyed some measure of success down the flanks rather than through the middle.

The game should have been well under control by the time Stephen Ireland did put us ahead. Darius Vassell had a couple of one on one chances early in the game but reminiscent of the first game a poor touch let him down on more than one occasion. It was a well worked goal, with a good delivery from Barton setting Ireland up to slot home nicely for a lead which we should have held.

Much like the first game though, we allowed Wednesday back into the game not too long after. From a free-kick down our left hand side, a well delivered ball was met by the head of (leaving Sinclair static) to glance past Weaver to level matters.

Despite Weaver making a couple of smart saves - although not overly tested, it was more huff and puff from Wednesday than them really threatening us and I felt that in the second half we made good use of space with the midfield trio linking well.

And it was the first half villain Vassell who finally put the game to rest with a nice finish from the edge of the box following another good move - which resulted in the guy sat in front of me taking his coat off to display his Vassell shirt which he had covered following his first half performance.

We had a couple of further chances late in the game with substitutes Samaras and Beasley getting in good positions but not managing to capitalise and put the game really beyond doubt. Still, once we went 2-1 ahead it seemed to deflate Wednesday and the result was never really in doubt.

A decent overall performance, and one positive is the fact that the players are fitting well into the tactics and formation that is currently being adopted. I really do think that it suits the players we have far better than a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1, and we do look a far more fluent side at the moment - not that there are still things to work upon though but things do look healthier at the moment than they have done for some time.

One disappointment though was the crowd - coming in at just over 25,000 but there were probably mitigating factors to explain the low number and it should be a higher figure in round 4 with a winnable home game against Southampton -and there is a little bit of a buzz around the club based on performances and results over the past month.

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"You could see why so many clubs want him. He was all over
the pitch."
- Brian Laws on Joey Barton.
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