Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Newcastle: Wasteful Mags dumped out by Owls

A brutal end to our 15-game unbeaten run as Sheffield Wednesday dumped Eddie Howe’s Mags out of the FA Cup at Hillsborough.

On a night that saw Alexander Isak feature for the first time since September, it was Wednesday striker Josh Windass who scored twice. His brace was followed by a Bruno Guimaraes tap in, however the home side held on to move into the fourth round.

Like we saw against Leeds on New Year’s Eve, it was missed chances that cost us dearly on the night, as Isak, Murphy, Anderson and Wood all spurned big opportunities either side of the break.

Our defending was poor for both goals and we looked visibly disjointed in the early stages, although some of that is hard to escape after wholesale changes. Perhaps a timely reminder that too many of our fringe men are no longer up to it?

Either way, we should’ve had enough to beat Sheffield Wednesday. We just weren’t good enough on the night and can have no real complaints after being punished for our lack of quality at both ends.

For all of our incredible form, the Owls came into this one in good shape. They’d lost just two of their last 20 games in all competitions – one of those was a shootout defeat to Southampton in the Carabao Cup and the other was back in early October.

That didn’t stop Howe rotating, however, as we made EIGHT changes from Tuesday’s 0-0 draw at Arsenal, seeing the likes of Isak, Anderson, Dubravka, Lewis and Lascelles all start.

STARTING XI: Dubravka – Manquillo, Lascelles, Botman, Lewis – Joelinton, Longstaff, Anderson – Ritchie, Isak, Murphy. SUBS: Darlow, Trippier, Dummett, Wood, Fraser, Almiron, Willock, Burn, Guimaraes.

The game started at a frantic pace and the atmosphere was brilliant inside Hillsborough, as 4,500 Mags gave as good as they got.

An avoidable opening came the Owls’ way early on, as a breakdown in communication between Lewis and Murphy saw Palmer break towards the box. Thankfully, his shot to drag wide of Dubravka’s far post.

The lively Isak then latched onto a teasing delivery from Manquillo, only for the Swede’s header to be saved superbly by Dawson. In truth, our £60m really should’ve scored.

Moments later, another lapse almost cost Newcastle, as Anderson’s awful back-pass was cut out by Windass. Thankfully for the 20-year-old Geordie, the man who scored a hat-trick last weekend was not able to make the most of it.

Another big chance came Isak’s way just before the 25 minute mark. Again, Manquillo was the creator, but the striker’s powerful right-footed strike was too close to Dawson and parried away for a corner.

Following a brilliant break from Ritchie, who did brilliantly to burst through Wednesday’s midfield, Manquillo was on hand once again to deliver a good ball into the box. However, the finish was lacking once again, as Ritchie’s mis-hit looped just over the bar.

We were starting to dominate possession, just lacking that cutting edge when it mattered. It took a big recovery challenge from Lascelles to make up for a poor Joelinton giveaway, for example, with Botman then stabbing a dangerous cross away for a corner minutes later.

Our need for greater strength in depth out wide was then shown before the break, as a clear opening for Murphy was wasted by the winger. It was a lovely pick out from Longstaff and he only had Palmer to beat to get clean through on goal, but he was far too hesitant and the chance was gone.

The former Norwich man then found himself in behind minutes later. It was a great run and lovely ball from Ritchie, yet another chance wasted as Murphy’s weak lob went wide. Isak was almost in a minute before the break, but the Swede left the ball behind him as another opening came and went.

The SEVENTEENTH game on the spin where we didn’t concede in the first half, although Howe may have been bemoaning the missed chances from Isak, Murphy and Ritchie.

One change at the break saw Chris Wood replace Isak. No injury, just part of the plan to give the 23-year-old 45 minutes of football after three and a half months out. Isak’s did look rusty in front of goal and could’ve bagged a brace on another day, yet it’s a positive sign he was creating chances for himself on his first game since September.

Our first opening of the second half then fell Wood’s way after a give and go between Murphy and Anderson resulted in a cut-back the Kiwi was unable to convert. His effort was on target, only to be blocked well by McGuinness.

Then, just a minute later, the Owls took the lead against the run of play. It all started with a brilliant turn from Byers which left Longstaff and Anderson for dead. He worked the ball out wide and Adeniran’s ball back across goal was flicked in by Windass. He looked offside, but with no VAR in place, the goal stood.

The prospect of a club-record seventh clean sheet in a row was gone and we had just under 40 minutes remaining to get back into a game we could and should have been winning comfortably.

There was an immediate response and very nearly an equaliser seconds after the restart. Sadly, it was the same old story in front of goal as Anderson latched onto a loose ball in the box and saw his close range effort blocked by Dawson. He had to score.

A triple Toon change followed, as Miguel Almiron, Bruno Guimaraes, Joe Willock replaced Murphy, Anderson and Longstaff with half an hour remaining.

Just after Joelinton fired over, a loose touch from the Brazilian gave the home side a chance to get in behind an unsettled Newcastle defence – and they did exactly that. A quick pass set Windass free between Lascelles and Botman and the striker fired past Dubravka to make it 2-0.

Howe had seen enough and brought Kieran Trippier on with 68 minutes on the clock. The England international replaced an out of sorts Lewis and made an immediate impact, as his first corner resulted in a Bruno tap in to make it 2-1. The Brazilian – who was well offside – gave it large in front of the travelling Toon Army and the comeback was on, with most of our big guns now on the pitch with 20 to play.

It was almost game over five minutes later, as Windass was the width of the crossbar away from scoring an FA Cup hat-trick. At the other end, a superb ball from Bruno handed Willock a huge chance, only for his effort to be blocked after cutting in well from the right.

Trippier then played a stunning first time pass in behind to set Joelinton clear. The big man cut in and put it on a plate for Chris Wood – who skied over with only the goalkeeper to beat. A simply awful finish from the former Burnley man and the story of our night, unfortunately.

We huffed and puffed in the six minutes of stoppage time, but high balls into the box were defended well and a famous victory for the Owls was met with a huge roar around Hillsborough.

A bad start to a big week for Newcastle United and costly reminder that our finishing in the final third must improve if we wish to maintain our 2022 form. Sadly, too many of our fringe men are miles below the new standard set by our first-team stars.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *