Sheffield Wednesday 1 Cardiff City 3. Match Report

Last updated : 10 November 2005 By NigelBlues

A spectacularly brilliant first-half demolition of Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough, all shown live on Sky tv, sent City into a 3-0 interval lead and it should have been more. The 2nd period saw City close it out for an eventual 3-1 victory propelling the Bluebirds into 5th spot, our highest league placing since 1983. Celebrate it!

I so wished I was there. Watching on in envy, I was gutted that I wasn't. However with the game live on Sky and having to conduct a day's interviewing at work, the choice was made for me. At this point, can I thank the lads from the Barry, Lansdowne and Muni bus for calling me at work on the way up from the coach, in the pub singing every City chant of the past 25 years or so it seemed and, later, as they were leaving it which I was stuck in the usual jams between Cardiff Gate and Coryton. Much appreciated, not.

So I watched it at home in Barry, had some friends and family round, get the beers and a Chinese in, may well have been cheaper to the game anyway. The one good thing about the game being on Sky was that I didn't have to suffer the 1940's Pathe News stylee commentary of Richard Sheperd or the Radio Wales waffle were they have the unerring habit of talking about anything except the action in front of their eyes, often at key moments. Not sure who commented on Sky but I thought he did a good job and Steve Claridge's summarising was excellent too. Thankfully, playing away from South Wales meant Sky did not wheel out the likes of Bobby Gould to talk about us.

The tv build up was minimal, just 15 minutes before the 7:45pm kick-off and most shots showed a largely empty ground so the crowd announcement of 20,324 probably came as a surprise to most viewers, it was 6,000 down on their average - great support. They showed regular shots of Wednesday fans suffering, enjoyable though that was, only two City fans were shown at half-time, one of them wearing a shirt from a couple of seasons ago and a distant shot of our boys in darkness at the end.

One thing that was undeniable however was our singing. Taking 600 fans so far north in midweek for a game that is live on tv is incredible support and I salute every one who made the journey, well done boys and I'm glad you were rewarded. For some, the attraction of a "new ground" as it was City's first visit to Hillsborough, ironically for 22 years, was a motivator.

Onto the game and City were unchanged from the side that started against Coventry last Sunday. Michael Ricketts has passed a fitness test but still wasn't 100% so took his place on the bench with Ferretti making way. Therefore, it was Alexander, Weston-Purse-Loovens-Barker, Cooper-Ledley-Whitley-Koumas, Lee-Jerome and a bench of Margetson-Ardley-Cox-Parry-Ricketts.

Sheffield Wednesday arrived in the Championship with play-off victory over Hartlepool last season. Under Paul Sturrock, consolidation is the aim for this term and after a poor start, they're now acquitting themselves well, starting the evening in 16th spot with only 1 defeat in 7.

Whilst City, for once, are thankfully having an injury-free season, Wednesday have had the opposite in fortunes. Some have been absent for a while and their problems got worse when regular keeper David Lucas was injured last week forcing to take Man City's Nicky Weaver on loan, defender John Hills broke a rib in a car crash causing fatalities 48 hours before the match and forward Lee Peacock reported to Hillsborough pre-game with a virus and was sent straight home.

However the Wednesdayites still seemed chirpy enough and were talking up before kick-off how a win would take them to within 3 points of a play-off spot ... so close but so far away eh boys? Their starting line-up was Weaver, Heckingbotham-Lee-Wood-Simek, Whelan-O'Brien-Brunt-Eagles, Corr-Graham.

The first half was dazzling for City and a choker for Wednesday as City mullered their opponents, our key men showing the full extent of their quality and making the teams look a couple of divisions apart, not just a class. Had it been boxing it would have been stopped. As it was, City unbelievably lead 3-0 at the interval and must have wondered how it wasn't five instead as they walked off. Stunning.

The signs were there early on. Koumas was pulling the strings and City were getting at Wednesday with their pace and counter-attacking movement. Wednesday started slowly and, by comparison, got slower as they were shocked and stunned by the Bluebird Blitz.

After a couple of ohh ahh moments as City threatened to break through but didn't quite, the opener arrived inside 10 minutes with counter-attacking excellence. A ball from Barker to Purse, Purse knocked it right, Jerome took it away from a defender into a corner, turned it into the path of Weston whose first time out swinging cross was perfection but bettered by JASON KOUMAS' 12 yard angled downward header finding the corner of the net past Weaver's futile dive. Yes, that's right, Koumas with a header. He had concussion, apparently from a clash of heads with a Wednesday defender as he scored but I suspect it was more to do with the shock of heading the ball. It was his 6th goal for City.

Within 3 minutes, it really should have been 2-0, Glen Loovens intercepting the ball deep in defence, bringing it out through the middle and then sending Jerome away with a through ball. 20 yards out with defenders left at least 5 yards behind him, Jerome's shot beat Weaver but cannoned of the top of the crossbar.

City were so on to, they were able to laugh at their misfortunes. Having won a corner, they probably took the worst one of all time, Koumas appearing to try to take a short one abut knocked it sideways and straight out.

After hitting the bar, it was now Jerome's turn to hit the post. Another sweeping move was taken to another level by a brilliant low curled Koumas cross behind the defence, Jerome's downward diving header gave Weaver no chance but rebounded off the inside of the far post, Cooper's follow up effort well blocked when he looked set to score.

It was however third time lucky for JEROME who made it 3-0, taking his season's tally into double figures and his first for 5 matches, his longest drought this season. Once again, the architect was Koumas, a superb inswinging far post cross, porky boy Weaver showed he doesn't play first team football by losing its flight and being left stranded on the near post, Jerome nodding home under pressure at the far post into the unguarded top corner from 5 yards.

And on 38 minutes, game over, thank you very much. It was near Fantasy Football as JEROME made it 3-0. It was far too easy as Purse knocked a ball over the top, JEROME played off the shoulder of the last defender and blistered them for pace, buying himself 5 yards inside 10 yards and was away. One touch to control and whoosh, slammed low past the hapless Weaver just as he was looking forward to his half-time pie. It was Jerome's 11th of the season and his 3rd brace. It made him equal leading scorer in the Championship and earning him all the talk and plaudits on Sky, He has truly arrived.

The City support and singing all night was truly excellent. Only our fans could be heard including the mocking, "It's just like being in church". They must be the only Owls who don't hoot at night! I wished we didn't resort to the "are you watching Jack B8stards" chant after each goal however and other moments in the game. I can't remember the last time we used that one but with tv cameras present, we did. It made us sound like we're bothered about a team and club that we're just not these days.

Wednesday's efforts at goal were more suited to Comic Relief than a football match as they peppered their fans behind the goal with distant efforts, I think the closest attempt was 15 yards over and 20 yards wide apart from a distance Eagles hit that flew straight into Alexander's midriff.

What a 45 minutes but, amazingly, it wasn't the first time we'd done it this season, we also lead 3-0 at Stoke at half-time, Jerome hitting a double that night. Deja vu.

H/T: Sheff Weds 0 City 3

Gorging on a cracking Chinese takeaway and refreshed by several celebratory ales, we settled down expecting more of the same but got the exact opposite. The job was done but it was disappointing to see us drop a few gears and our intensity but close the game out. With a small squad who have looked a little jaded recently and a few players carrying knocks, perhaps it was no surprise. In addition, Wednesday were playing for pride.

Our defence continue to look rock solid though and eased us home even though it was rarely comfortable. Wednesday attacked and pushed on us, it was a surprise to see us incapable of hitting them on the break but City did a 'same old, same old' of falling deep, in numbers and not coming out. It wasn't pretty but Weston, Purse and, in particular, Loovens, were playing very well and Alexander is in supreme confidence.

There was a spell when City played keep ball, including one two minute spell going nowhere but every pass was cheered by our fans singing that it's just like watching Brazil and when Wednesday got it, the boos went up until they shot wide restarting the cheers..

On the hour, Wednesday press-ganged bulky Scottish defender Lee Bullen into attack and it made it more difficult. Alexander had been tested a couple of times and made one or two fine stops, his best in pushing a vicious swirling Brunt drive onto a post. For me, Wednesday's Chris Brunt was an excellent attacking left footed player and had it not been for Koumas' and Jerome's first half magic, he may have been man of the match.

A goal came on 65. With our midfield failing to keep control and shape and Wednesday pushing through, a through ball was stopped by Loovens at full stretch but ran loose to EAGLES, about to be taken off, with a good low drive past Alexander.

The last 25 were anxious. How many of us were watching the Sky clock counting down in the corner of our screens more than the game itself? It was also dull, I bet some found interest waning.

Under pressure, City had some needless cautions. Whitley had his 7th yellow card of the season for tapping the ball away after a free-kick award, an arguably harsh call by ref Kettle who never had to worry about the game boiling over. Minutes later, Jerome was booked too for being a bit silly and running across a player in an area of no danger. That was more costly, his 5th card means he is out of the next game at Preston on Saturday week.

But City got home. Alexander made a couple more stops, one of them quite brilliant to turn away Partridge's close range flick which had goal written all over it. For City as an attacking force, it was non-existent but Alan Lee produced a couple of good moments which came to nought, Koumas hit a distant shot straight at Weaver and Jerome was sent away in the last minute with an outstanding hat-trick opportunity but stalled on the edge of the area and was denied by a last gasp tackle.

It was however a thoroughly professional job and an outstanding result. The league table says it all and, right now, it means everything. Let's large it, days like these don't come around that often and when it's unexpected, as this season has been, doesn't it feel better still?

Tickets: £0 (Armchair Fans'R'Us!)
Programme: £3 (Someone at the game got me one)
Food/Drink: £28 (Great Chinese set meal and those ales tasted so good with the goals)
Travel: £0 (Stay at home, stay at home, stay at home)
Total for game: £31

Total for season-to-date: £1,376

My Cardiff City, Wales and Music blog at

Report from FootyMad

Teenage striker Cameron Jerome struck twice at Hillsborough to end Cardiff's goal drought and fire the Welshmen into a play-off spot.

Cardiff had gone four games without a goal until the England Under-21 international destroyed Wednesday in the space of nine minutes.

The Sheffield side were in trouble from the ninth minute when City right-back Rhys Weston was given space on the right flank to pick out Jason Koumas who pounced from 10 yards to steer his glancing heading wide of on-loan keeper Nicky Weaver.

Cardiff should have increased their lead moments later after Dutch centre-back Glenn Loovens threaded the ball to Jerome, but instead of rounding the advancing Weaver he lashed in a shot from the edge of the area that crashed against the top of the bar.

Jerome missed another chance after Koumas picked him out with a curling cross from the right, but his diving header from six yards struck the foot of the post and as Kevin Cooper charged in, his shot was blocked by Richard Wood.

He made amends on 30 minutes with a carbon copy move. Koumas again provided the cross and Jerome beat his marker at the far post to head home from close range.

Jerome grabbed his second of the night seven minutes before the interval. Midfielder Jeff Whitley's lofted pass fell nicely for the young striker who this time kept his cool to lash the ball past the helpless Weaver from 15 yards.

Graeme Lee saw his header hit the bar before Chris Eagles pulled a goal back for the hosts after 65 minutes. The on-loan Manchester United man cut inside to steer a left-foot shot beyond Neil Alexander from 15 yards.

Substitute Lee Bullen almost grabbed a second in injury-time but his close-range strike was pushed round the post as Wednesday staged spirited fightback.

External Reports
The Independent
Sheffield Star