Sheffield Wednesday 6-0 Leeds United
The Owls turned on the style in Saturday’s early kick-off and hit fellow Yorkshiremen Leeds for six in front of the Sky cameras. Wednesday dominated in every aspect of play from start to finish and they fully deserved to send Leeds home without any points or dignity.
Towering full-back Reda Johnson opened the scoring around the twenty minute mark, finding acres of space in the penalty area to get on the end of Kieran Lee’s lobbed pass into the area, before poking the ball past Paddy Kenny from close range.
Lee was at the heart of the Owls’ second goal as well, receiving the ball on the left hand side from Wickham, before running into the box and unselfishly squaring the ball to a grateful Adthe Nuhiu, who arrived at the back post to tap-in from a few yards out, just before the interval.
That wasn’t the last chance of the first half; Wednesday were whiskers away from entering the changing rooms with a 3-0 lead. Right-back Liam Palmer played an infield pass to Lee, who took on a Leeds player before playing a through ball to Palmer who continued his run. Despite getting in behind the visiting back five, he could only place his effort wide of Kenny’s goal.
Whites’ manager Brian McDermott opted to change the formation at half time, as playing five at the back evidently wasn’t working. He reverted to an old-fashioned 4-4-2, replacing central defender Tom Lees with giant striker Matt Smith, which he hoped would give Leeds a focal point, and provide more support to Ross McCormack.
However, his change backfired on him just sixty seconds into the second period, when Smith dangerously jumped into Johnson, earning himself a debatable early bath, which forced the visitors to play out the remainder of the second half with just ten men. It seemed like there was no way back for McDermott’s men, but little did they know that it was about to get a whole lot worse, when Connor Wickham’s goal minutes later put Leeds in a perilous position.
The in-form frontman’s left-footed rasping drive from the left corner of the 18 yard box cannoned in off Kenny’s near post, after he took on Jason Pearce, who was caught ball watching. Fifteen minutes later, Chris Maguire’s 25 yard free-kick took a wicked and cruel deflection off Rudy Austin, which wrong footed Kenny and handed the hosts a fortuitous four goal advantage.
The introduction of Coalan Lavery gave the Owls fresh impetus, and the youngster notched his first two Wednesday goals from the bench in his first Championship outing after a successful loan spell at Plymouth.
Reda Johnson’s hopeful clearance found Lavery, who cleverly turned an over-committing Zaliukas on the halfway line, before running into the box and jinking his way past Pugh and Mowatt. Although a pass would have seen an easier option, Lavery opted to shoot, and thankfully his scuffed shot hit both posts before finding the net.
The away side’s misery was compounded in stoppage time, when Johnson combined with Lavery again, as the youngster managed to get his second goal in the blue and white. The big Beninian’s pass should have easily been intercepted by Marius Zaliukas, but instead the recent signing decided to back heel the ball right into a hungry Lavery’s path, and the diminutive Northern Irishmen wasted no time in curling the ball in off Kenny’s right hand post.
|Chris Kirkland – Received the luxury of a free holiday. Had virtually nothing to do.||6.5|
|Liam Palmer – Defensively sound and untroubled by debutant Stewart. Also offered an attacking threat.||8.0|
|Miguel Llera – A very shaky first half where he constantly gave away possession was followed by an assured second. Grew in confidence as the game went on.||6.5|
|Glenn Loovens – Untroubled but did what he had to do well. Composed on the ball.||7.0|
|Reda Johnson – Back to his best today. Hardly put a foot wrong defensively and set up Lavery’s two goals, as well as getting on the scoresheet himself. His power worried Peltier and Kebe; he had the latter in his back pocket||8.5|
|Chris Maguire – Comfortable on the ball, intelligent and caused a threat all game. Lucky to score, as his free-kick took a huge deflection.||8.0|
|Kieran Lee – Work rate, composure, tenacity, passing ability and vision: the former Oldham man has it all, which was epitomised in this outstanding performance. Set up the opening two goals.||9.0|
|Jose Semedo – Bossed the midfield with Lee, never gave Austin or Mowatt a minutes peace. Won every second ball and tackle.||9.0|
|Jacques Maghoma – Looks like a bargain of a signing, along with Lee. Peltier couldn’t live with his pace.||8.0|
|Adthe Nuhiu – His physicality and work rate is a great foil for Wickham. Continues to show positive signs while he adapts to the English game. Capped off his performance with a goal.||7.5|
|Connor Wickham – Led the line well, could have had a couple of goals. Makes the ball stick in the final third, can score goals and bring others into play.||8.0|
|Coalan Lavery – Superb cameo from the energetic youngster, who took his goals very well. Mr Sheridan, you did a good job.||8.0|
|Jeremy Helan – Didn’t have enough time to make an impact.||6.0|
|Jermaine Johnson – Freshened things up with his pace. Only the post could deny him from scoring a spectacular goal.||6.5|
|Paddy Kenny – At fault for goal number three, possibly could have saved Lavery’s tame effort also.||4.0|
|Lee Peltier – Lost his personal battle with Maghoma. Played Reda Johnson onside for the opening goal.||3.0|
|Tom Lees – Not solely to blame for either of the first half goals, before coming off at half time. In hindsight, maybe Zaliukas should have been sacrificed.||5.5|
|Marius Zaliukas – Made mistake after mistake. At fault for two of the home side’s goals, he showed poor positional play, and was bullied by Wednesday’s firepower. Crazy and casual back heel to set up Lavery for his second goal.||2.0|
|Jason Pearce – Can be held responsible for one goal, as he stepped out of defence, leaving space in behind him. Showed more bravery and fight than anyone else.||5.0|
|Danny Pugh – Given the run-around by Maguire, the ex-Wednesday loanee was constantly chasing shadows.||3.5|
|Rudolph Austin – Awful apart from a five minute spell in the first half. Overrun and gave possession away frequently.||3.5|
|Alex Mowatt – Overrun in the engine room. Hardly got on the ball.||3.5|
|Jimmy Kebe – Bullied by Johnson and had no affect on the game whatsoever.||4.0|
|Cameron Stewart – I didn’t even notice that he was playing. Didn’t have any impact on the contest.||4.0|
|Ross McCormack – Worked hard but the lack of service he got was disgraceful. Dropped deeper and deeper because he was forced to go hunting for the ball.||5.5|
|Matt Smith – Lasted a minute before getting himself sent off.||0.0|
|Sam Byram – Put a shift in, which is more than we can say about a lot of his team mates.||5.5|
Man of the Match
|Kieran Lee – A revelation in his new role. Didn’t give Leeds a moments’ peace and completely bossed the game. A wonderful all-round performance.||9.0|