It was a day spent under cover for Bitter and Blue, as knowing a couple of Sheffield Wednesday fans I took my seat in the Kop as opposed to the away end. It seemed a decent atmosphere generated by the Wednesday fans (if they were a little one-eyed) and at least confirmed to me that we are not the only side to dread having Graham Poll in charge.
The first-half was by and large a forgettable affair, with only the repeated cries of 'pud 'im int' stand lad' from the guy behind me every time a City player got the ball living in the memory. Samaras for Corradi, as expected was the only change from the Everton game but he failed to impose himself too much on the game, and there was too much of a gap between the midfield and attack. Darius Vassell also seemed intent on breaking Darren Huckerby's single game offside record.
The second half came to life though, with Wednesday seeming to up the impetus and in particular getting the impressive Chris Brunt more into the game and they began to attack with more pace than in the first-half. I thought we passed it around well, but were not clinical enough with the final ball or the final move. Defensively we were playing well with the back trio of Distin, Dunne but most notably Onouha coping with all that came their way.
Set-pieces were causing a problem though us with the difference in delivery from Brunt compared with those of Dabo striking. Delivered at pace and accuracy they continually caused problems and only a smart clearance from Samaras prevented us going behind, whilst Weaver also pulled off a couple of smart saves.
At the other end, we managed to create space out wide and this opened up a good chance for Vassell, but his heavy first touch allowed Crossley (complete with glass-back) to make the save. I was convinced we would get one clear-cut chance though and a previously anonymous Micah Richards - perhaps lucky to still be on the field, broke into the box and was brought down for what seemed to be a clear cut penalty - much to the chargrin of the home fans though.
Samaras stepped up to put us 1-0 ahead and what should have been the game. However, barely 60 seconds later the game was back all-square as Wednesday broke and a nice finish from McLean evaded Weaver's dive. It was a nervy final ten minutes or so following their equaliser and in the end I guess we were fairly happy to take the draw and come back to ours for the replay.
Good on the day: Nedum Onouha. Far more comfortable in the centre than at right-back,
Bad on the day: Stephen Jordan. Distribution was woeful and definitely taken a step backwards.
"It would have been a travesty if we hadn't because I
thought we edged it over the 90 minutes.
"We gave them too much respect in
the first half and we needed to take the game to them but the passing in the
second half was sensational at times.
"We are playing exceptionally well
away from home so we'll go into the replay with confidence and you never
know." - Brian Laws.
given by either side. We both feel as though we might have won it so a draw
"I don't think our work is done yet because I think it might be
an even harder game at our ground.
"Credit to them and Brian Laws. I'm pleased
for him but I won't be pleased to see him Tuesday week." - Stuart Pearce.