Sheffield Wednesday: Owls show they have progressed

Lewis Buxton is mobbed after scoring in the 3-3 draw at Forest
Lewis Buxton is mobbed after scoring in the 3-3 draw at Forest

One of the things I’ve always found fascinating is the way managers and coaches can be so analytical straight after games have finished, writes Paul Thompson.

Dave Jones for example, would often go into detail about why a goal was conceded, pinpointing defensive flaws in the build-up as well as the final execution.

Stuart Gray talked post-Leicester about the less obvious shortcoming of a header not being won seconds before the obvious one of a match-winning free kick being given away.

In the aftermath of the Forest game, Gray’s finger was firmly on the way the Owls started to play after the home team went down to 10 men.

“We just started running with it, and allowing gaps. Our midfield became stretched, our back four became disjointed from our midfield. Suddenly Forest were taking chances; they weren’t tracking back; they were turning defence into attack. they were coming at us. If anything we could have lost.

“If anything we looked like we were a man down. We were running with the ball instead of moving the ball and keeping possession, getting five, six, seven, eight passes and taking the steam out of them.

“In the end Miguel Llera and Lewis Buxton were put under so much pressure that Lewis has ended up giving away the free kick. and the third goal goes in.”

But Gray has since pointed out that the new centre back partnership earlier kept Darius Henderson and Matt Derbyshire quiet.

Maybe the Owls lost their heads a bit in their anxiety to see off 10 men, after being 3-1 up at one stage - and it would have been 4-1 if Leon Best had scored with a free header.

It was a valuable lesson to be borne in mind for future games, or perhaps more of a reminder: Wednesday had some trouble with the 10 men of Yeovil and Barnsley (before beating a nine-man Reds outfit in injury time), but exploited the numerical advantage against Leeds and Reading.

Only drawing at Forest felt more like a defeat, agreed Gray.

But it shows the strides that Wednesday have made when they can go away to Leicester and run the runaway leaders close, then outplay a team who still have hopes of the play-offs and be dismayed because they did not win.