Has Sharp shooter dealt Laws a killer blow?
By Chris Morris
Updated Tuesday, 8th December 2009
Improved display but no points for goal shy Owls
On loan Sheffield United striker and Blades fan Billy Sharp scored the only goal of the evening at the Keapmoat Stadium to consign Sheffield Wednesday to a third successive defeat in the Coca Cola Championship at the hands of local rivals Doncaster Rovers.
With Wednesday having picked up just 2 points from a possible 21 going into the game the pressure was on Brian Laws and his side to produce a solid display and stop the rot.
Much of the criticism in recent weeks has come from was perceived to be a lack of fight, conviction and belief running through the side, especially in the home defeats to WBA and Reading. The team that represented Sheffield Wednesday at Doncaster on Tuesday evening could certainly not be accused of this as they worked hard to close down and hurry their opponents who were not allowed to play the net passing football they are renowned for as a result.
Wednesday adopted a 4-3-3 formation that had previously seen them earn draws on their travels at Bristol City and Ipswich and Captain Darren Purse returned to the side following a lengthy absence due to injury and a loss of form. Richard Hinds paid the price for the poor defensive display in the defeat to Reading on Saturday; Michael Gray made way for Sean McAllister with Leon Clarke and Jermaine Johnson returning to the side at the expense of Luke Varney and Etienne Esajas.
The changes seemed to have a positive effect on the Owls performance and they were much more resilient and combative than they have been for some time and the energy and enthusiasm of McAllister added the midfield legs and tenacity that had been sorely missed in the Owls miserable run of results.
However, despite the fact that the performance showed their commitment and restored some pride the end result was once again a defeat, pushing Wednesday closer to the bottom three in the Championship.
Although the Owls had more shots at goal than their hosts they rarely managed to over-extend veteran Neil Sullivan in the Doncaster goal and they have now gone almost 5 games without a goal, since Jermaine Johnson’s 11th minute equaliser in the home defeat to QPR.
Wednesday's problems in front of goal are compounded by the fact that they are rarely able to keep a clean sheet, with just 1 shut out in the last 8 attempts and numerous combinations have been tried in the back four in attempt to get things right.
Wednesday produced their most spirited display for some weeks, showing their loyalty to their manager, which some have called into question after the recent lacklustre performances. Brian Laws is under mounting pressure and although it would perhaps be harsh to see him fall following a much improved display ultimately it has to be results that determine his position and time is running out for him to turn things around with Wednesday now just one point clear of the relegation zone having not one for 8 matches, picking up only 2 win from the last 15 league games.
|08 Dec 2009|
|Team line-ups v Doncaster Rovers|
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|06 Dec 2009|
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|05 Dec 2009|
|Team line-ups v Reading|
|04 Dec 2009|
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|01 Dec 2009|
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