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Different defensive shape, same sorry story
Published : 14 Feb 2011 01:26:42
Owls away nightmare continues Gary Megson was unable to get off to a flying start as Owls boss as Wednesday lost their 6th successive away game in the league, going down 2-1 at Rochdale on Saturday. Having identified the defence as they main area for improvement (it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that is where the problems are) the new Owls boss chose to change the formation at Spotland’s by going into the game with a 3-5-2 formation. Daniel Jones and Lewis Buxton had put in much-improved 2nd half displays against the MK Dons the previous weekend following a half-time dressing down from Megson as the Owls looked to attack in that game and they retained their places in the side by filling the wing-back positions. With international duty taking its toll on Reda Johnson, Mark Reynolds and Mark Beevers were drafted in to play alongside Michael Morrison in the heart of the defence. O’Connor, Potter and Coke formed the midfield 3 with Mellor and Morrison starting up front having both scored in the previous game. The Owls started brightly enough and might have taken the lead when Potter hit the post with a header but they found themselves behind on 15 minutes when a through ball opened up their back line all too easily and from the resulting cross Beevers deflected the ball into his own net from close range. Having got their noses in front the home side grew in confidence and were 2 up inside half an hour when Mellor carelessly tripped Done inside the penalty area and Jones made no mistake from the spot kick. With the Owls game plan in tatters once again they reverted to 4-4-2 and Madine replaced Mellor in attack at half-time. Potter went off for Osbourne just after the hour mark and Wednesday had much more of the game but couldn’t find a way through until the final minute when Madine glanced a fine header home from Buxton’s cross. Despite having double the amount of attempts on goal as their opponents Wednesday were yet again beaten on the road. The owls simply can’t afford to keep gifting their opponents the lead as they are constantly left chasing a route back into matches rather than having the opportunity to assert their authority on games. Regardless of the formation or the personnel that play at the back the team keep committing too many basic errors. The fact that some of the players are new to the team and haven’t had much time to adjust or work with each other is clearly not helping and as most of them are youngsters they lack experience and leadership. For all his defensive frailties this season Darren Purse was regarded as a good captain and a very experienced professional. Who would have thought that things would have gone so badly since his departure in January? In the 5 league games they have played since Purse left, Wednesday have conceded 15 goals and have failed to win any of them. Megson has spoken about the lack of an experienced figurehead within the back line and is attempting to rectify this in the loan market. Wednesday travel to Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday evening. Rovers are in 17th place in the table but are unbeaten in 4 and will go above the Owls with a win.