WISE OWLS STICK TO WAIT­ING GAME

Pa­tience pays off against Ad­dicks

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By James Valen­tine

FOR 45 min­utes it looked like Sh­effield Wed­nes­day would suf­fer a bout of deja vu as they again toiled on home soil against a rel­e­ga­tion-threat­ened side.

A fort­night af­ter be­ing beaten 1-0 by a res­o­lute Rother­ham team at Hills bor­ough, Wed­nes­day were no-shows in the open­ing 45 min­utes against a Charl­ton side who re­fused to roll over.

But boss Car­los Car­val­hal knew he had to be pa­tient and af­ter mak­ing a dou­ble half-time sub­sti­tu­tion, his Owls side en­sured there would be no re­peat as goals from Tom Lees, Fer­nando Forestieri and an El-Hadji Ba own goal blitzed the Ad­dicks and strength­ened their grip on the a play-off po­si­tion.

Charl­ton’s suc­cess in sti­fling Wed­nes­day be­fore the break was down to a high in­ten­sity press­ing game and the Owls boss knew his side had to wait un­til their op­po­nents ran out of steam.

“The team for mo­ments in the first half lacked con­fi­dence but never lost con­trol or or­gan­i­sa­tion,” he said.

“We knew Charl­ton couldn’t press all the time and when we had more time and space we started play­ing very well.

“We mixed it with the sub­sti­tu­tions, (At­dhe) Nuhiu made a big im­pact and al­lowed Forestieri and Gary Hooper more space to play.

“When they lost en­ergy we played bet­ter and we had a very good se­cond half at a very good level. We de­served the win and the score­line.”

Car­val­hal has main­tained a stead­fast ap­proach through­out the sea­son never to dis­cuss his side’s pro­mo­tion chances, but af­ter all of the chas­ing pack dropped points, this win sees them make a big step to­wards book­ing a play-off place.

The Por­tuguese did not change his way of do­ing things but in­stead purred about his side’s style of play.

“We are the se­cond or third best at­tack in the divi­son and I am very happy about this be­cause we promised our fans good at­tack­ing foot­ball and we are de­liv­er­ing it,” he added.

That style of foot­ball was not to be seen in the first half and Wed­nes­day’s win looked a long way off at half time as they strug­gled to break down an or­gan­ised and dogged Charl­ton side.

But, on the back of two half-time changes, Wed­nes­day were a dif­fer­ent propo­si­tion in the se­cond half and laid siege at the vis­i­tors’ goal un­til the break­through fi­nally came in the 64th minute.

Lees pow­ered home Ross Wal­lace’s cor­ner with a bul­let header and that opened the flood­gates as Forestieri tapped home from close range af­ter Nuhiu’s header had hit the post five min­utes later.

Alex Lopez’s shot from dis­tance took a de­ci­sive de­flec­tion off Ba to round off the win.

The se­cond-half ca­pit­u­la­tion hurt Charl­ton, who, fresh from pick­ing up seven points in three games, are again star­ing rel­e­ga­tion in the face as they sit six points adrift of safety with eight games to go.

Boss Jose Riga, who has not given up hope of keep­ing his side up, felt go­ing be­hind in the game was piv­otal.

“Dur­ing the first hour we were in the game,” he said.

“In the first half we could do more to counter them, we didn’t have a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties, but they didn’t ei­ther.

“We knew if we con­ceded the first it would be dif­fi­cult.

“It’s a dis­ap­point­ment be­cause were com­ing through three good games.

“We knew ev­ery­body had to be at their best level, the level we had against Mid­dles­brough and we didn’t have that.

“We were present in most of the game, we couldn’t find a way to com­pete in the fi­nal 20 min­utes.”

PIC­TURES: Richard Parkes

LEES ON ME: Tom Lees, right, leaps high­est to break the dead­lock

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