Alan Biggs at Large: Sheffield Wednesday can only escape the quicksand of draws by fighting
They say it’s the hope that kills. But Sheffield Wednesday are coming to grips with the lesson that it’s the draw that’s most deadly.
Last midweek the Owls broke a sequence of four in a row with the restorative 3-0 win over Sunderland.And it was not so much the result as how it was achieved that pointed the way ahead. Basically, Darren Moore’s side forced the issue.It’s what they’re going to have to do in future facing the unfashionable likes of Wimbledon, Cambridge and Cheltenham, against all of whom points were dropped. Cue Gillingham on Saturday.In a nutshell, more adventure and more physicality behind it. Moore’s side delivered both those things against a club of comparable size trying to escape the third tier.In fact, this is the fourth season Sunderland have been at it. An indicator of the difficulty right there.Wednesday really have to go all out to do it in one because the longer it takes the harder it gets.Going back to the top, what has dragged Sunderland down is draws.In both season 2018-19 and 2020-21 they drew more games than any other team in the division - 19 and 17 respectively.This season Sunderland have only drawn one in taking a more adventurous route under Lee Johnson, albeit that it backfired in heavy South Yorkshire defeats at Rotherham and Hillsborough.Wednesday have shared the points seven times this season, nearly half their games. Oh, and now frustratingly held to an FA Cup replay in deepest Devon by Plymouth.It’s evidence of the suction effect on big clubs in League One where they are received by opponents like giants in an FA Cup tie. And this is fuelled by the atmosphere created by big followings on the road.Most teams play a passing style these days so it is not quite the dogfight of past years. But the only way the likes of Wednesday can escape this sort of quicksand is to fight out of it.Physicality first, football second. Certainly the ability is there once the battle is won.And the faster the escape the better.