Dom Howson’s derby verdict: Wednesday love for Carlos Carvalhal not lost in translation

Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal celebrates with Sam Hutchinson
Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal celebrates with Sam Hutchinson

For the first time since becoming Sheffield Wednesday head coach, Carlos Carvalhal understood exactly what the fans were chanting.

When the 2,500 plus travelling fans called on their leader to ‘give them a wave’, he duly obliged in the 55th minute. Half an hour later he acknowledged them again, after the Owls had extended their unbeaten run to eight matches.

The atmosphere was electric at a raucous AESSEAL New York Stadium. The first cries of ‘Carlos had a dream’ were bellowed out at 7:39pm and boy, how Carvalhal’s players rose to the occasion.

The derby even started on time. When these two sides last collided, someone let off a pyrotechnic in the North Stand, which delayed the kick-off. Not this time around. On or off the pitch. None of the fireworks we had back in march; no late drama, or managers on the pitch, celebrating a goal.

There was one man running round like a man possessed, though; Sam Hutchinson, who launched himself into tackle after tackle before, predictably, being booked. The only surprise was the method - for diving!

Sky turned up with their big trucks and lavish equipment hoping to witness a classic tussle. You could have forgiven them at the interval for wondering why they had bothered after a turgid, largely forgettable opening 45 minutes where both sides cancelled each other out.

Aside from birthday boy Keiren Westwood fumbling a long range Jonson Clarke-Harris effort and Barry Bannan sending a looping header over, neither side had many sights at goal. There was a lack of quality in the final third.

Things dramatically changed less than a minute after the interval as Wednesday when Lucas Joao claimed his third goal since moving to English football.

Rotherham’s heads dropped and the visitors visibly grew in confidence.

Moments later, the Millers switched off from a corner, allowing Fernando Forestieri to double their lead. It was schoolboy defending by the Millers but the 2,500 plus Wednesdayites who made the short trip didn’t give a hoot. They were bouncing.

To their credit, Rotherham kept going and grabbed a late consolation but the damage had already been done. If Millers boss Neil Redfearn didn’t know the size of his task before, he certainly does now. They face a big battle to retain their Championship status.

But Carlos’ Owls juggernaut continues to build up momentum - and his stock rises by the match. Next stop Arsenal!