Thursday, 11 August 2011

Sheffield Wednesday 0 v Blackpool 0 AET - Wednesday won 4-2 on penalties - Carling Cup 1st Round

Thursday 11th August 2011 - at Hillsborough
Carling Cup 1st Round
Sheffield Wednesday 0
Blackpool 0
Wednesday won 4-2 on penalties after extra time
Admission £12, Programme £2.50,
Attendance 5240
Sheffield Wednesday: O'Donnell, Otsemobor, Beevers, R Johnson, Reynolds, Nyoni, Coke, O'Connor, D Jones (Palmer 71), Madine (Morrison 46), Uchechi (Tumulty 61) - Unused subs: Weaver, Batth, Semedo, Prutton
: Halstead, Eardley, Clarke, Sylvestre, Basham (Llera 83), Hill, Eastham, Sutherland (Bruna 91), Martinez, Harris, Ince (Barkhuizen 83) - Unused subs: Bignot, Tomsett, Djordjic, Kettings

Only the South Stand at Hillsborough was open for home fans (and us neutrals) tonight, plus the upper tier of the Leppings Lane End, for the 250/300 or so Blackpool fans who had travelled over.
Wednesday didn't actually announce how many visiting fans there were.
I guess it must be quite embarrassing to admit, that even with admission prices slashed, your big club from a city with a population of well over half a million, can only pull in less than 5,000 fans for a home game.
And lets not forget, Wednesday's catchment area extends well beyond the boundaries of Sheffield itself ... even East Retford is blighted with a whole load of them.
I suppose I could've counted the Blackpool fans myself (and have had time for a recount or two as well) during the various lengthy lulls in play.
It was an awful game.
I doubt if there was a single person at the ground (or in the live TV audience) who wanted to see another half hour of this tedium.
The two Wednesday fans sat in front of us even said they would be happy to see Blackpool get a late winner so they could get off home.
But poor finishing and an abundance of ineptitude, meant the game remained goal-less on 90 minutes and we were all 'glued to our seats' for extra time.
Both sides featured wholesale changes to their line ups from their last game ... and prior to kick off, supporters from both teams ranks seemed to be at pains to point out that they were understrength and likely to make hard work of getting through to the next round ... getting their excuses in early then.
The first half seemed to drag on and on for ages, there was very little incident worth mentioning.
Extra time and penalties were already on the agenda.
It was probably just as well that this tie wasn't going to be settled by golden goal extra time, because I'm led to believe their is a local bye-law that states the floodlights must be switched off before midnight.
Blackpool fans. The highlight of the night was their ten minute
long rendition of Depeche Mode's 'I Just Can't Get Enough'

Blackpool's keeper looked shaky, to say the very least, his handling and footwork were suspect throughout.
Being kind, one could say he was having 'one of those nights', but a more accurate and honest appraisal of his performance at Hillsborough tonight would be ... he was crap!
The visitors upped their game in the second half but had nobody capable of getting the finishing touch to several chances they created from passing the ball around the static Wednesday players.
Ashley Eastham, was sent off, deservedly, for a rash challenge on Mark Reynolds, but the Owls didn't use their numerical advantage to good effect.
Against ten men with a clearly out of sorts keeper, you would have expected Wednesday to push on, but they didn't.
Maybe they had been practising taking penalties.
Both sets of fans tried creating some atmosphere, with their noise echoing around the empty parts of the ground, but their was more than an hint of gallows humour and irony about it all.
The referee's whistle put the first 90 minutes out of it's misery and extra time ensued ... GRR!
Forget the first period of extra time, it didn't happen, save for a lot of noise from the visiting fans keeping me awake.
In the second period, Wednesday's Richard O'Donnell pulled off a fine save to divert Torn Barkhuizen's effort onto the bar ... and apart from Giles Coke going close right near the end for Wednesday, that's 'yer lot and it went to penalties.

Penalty shoot out details:
Blackpool's Billy Clarke's penalty saved by Richard O'Donnell. 0-0
Scorer Liam Palmer. 1-0
Miss by Neal Eardley. 1-0
Scorer Jon Otsemobor. 2-0
Scorer Ludovic Sylvestre. 2-1
Scorer Clinton Morrison. 3-1
Scorer Miguel Angel Llera. 3-2
Scorer James O'Connor. James O'Connor. 4-2
Wednesday were 2 goals ahead, while Blackpool had only 1 penalty remaining, so the Owls won and are away to Blackburn Rovers in the 2nd round.
Eyes right for the penalty shoot out in front of the empty Spion Kop

If I see another game as poor as this before May, I'll have had a bad season.