ARDLEY ON LOAN LOOKOUT
AFTER three wins in a week, Sheffield Wednesday are motoring up the Championship, but manager Carlos Carvalhal admitted fortune favoured his side at Brentford.
Lucas João snatched a last-minute victory for the Owls, after Brentford had fought back to level with ten men.
Carvalhal said:“It was our day. It was a lucky day. This is football. In the lottery we won 2-1. If we drew 1-1, we would say ‘OK’ because we had a good first half and they had a good second half.
“We started very well.We made some chances before the first goal and if we scored them then the story of the game would be different.
“In the second half we made some mistakes. We lost some energy. We caused problems for Brentford’s defence, but we started losing easy balls.We were too comfortable because we were 1-0 up.”
Carvalhal’s side lined-up with old-fashioned attributes – a bigman, little-man front two and two wingers whipping in crosses.
With the battering ram of Atdhe Nuhiu, Marco Matias’ trickery and Ross Wallace and Barry Bannan’s passing, Wednesday’s attackers are a disparate bunch, but they combined early on with the harmony of a high-quality orchestra.
Several firsthalf chances originated with the Scottish widemen, Wallace delivering three balls onto Nuhiu’s head, including one that the Austrian flicked onto the crossbar.
The goal eventually came in the first-half’s latter minutes, when Bannan fizzed a pass into Nuhiu’s path and the frontman was scruffily bundled over by James Tarkowski.
That the penalty was correctly awarded was little disputed, but Tarkowski’s sendingoff seemed excessive. Nuhiu’s finish compounded the punishment.
Nevertheless Marinus Dijkhuizen’s bold 3-3-3 reorganisation enabled Brentford to gain equality in central areas, strangling Wallace and Bannan’s supply, although the Bees initially showed little attacking menace.
Just as the sequel to Grease was without John Travolta or Olivia Newton-John, Brentford are negotiating their second year in the second tier without seven of their top eight goalscorers from last season, or ex-manager Mark Warburton. So far this Bees incarnation is – like Grease 2 – a poor imitation of its predecessor, with victories only over newly-promoted sides.
Alan Judge, the sole attacking residue of last season’s Brentford on the pitch, tried his best to spark the kindling and struck the post with a free-kick.
However, whereas Nuhiu competed for every ball into Brentford’s box, Marco Djuricin was mostly absent. Judge therefore went alone and, after striding clear, curled a shot just inside the far post.
Jérémy Hélan’s second yellow card equalled the numbers, but Wednesday sealed victory when João dispossessed Jack O’Connell and shot past David Button one-onone.
Dijkhuizen said: “We wanted to try and win the game and take some risks, but it was just an unlucky bounce at the end and the guy scored. I don’t think Jack should go to the casino tonight.
“We are conceding too many goals.That is our problem.We keep going one goal behind. It is good to get better in the game, but it is difficult when you have a bad start.
“The second half made me proud. We were very good. The crowd got behind us and we scored a quality goal.With the sending-off for them, we had a real feeling that we could win. Maybe we’d draw but I could never see us losing.” AFC WIMBLEDON are on standby to make a defensive move in the loan market, according to Neal Ardley.
Will Nightingale’s injury last weekend has left the Dons stretched in the centreback area, and it could hit breaking point if 18-year-old Ryan Sweeney is called up to the international squad by the Republic of Ireland.
“It would cause us a problem,” admitted Ardley. “It is one that I have to monitor and look at, but it is not something I am going to rush into.
“As soon as Will got injured on Saturday we started drawing up our list and having a look in case we do need to go into that.”
SPOT ON: Sheffield Wednesday forward Atdhe Nuhiu celebrates his penalty