Lucky Sheffield Wednesday Benefit From Opponents’ and Officials’ Howlers   –   by Rob Atkinson


Referee Taylor: Which way is the rule-book?

Sheffield Wednesday 2, Leeds United 0

Sometimes, a simple scoreline can be so deceptive. Without making too many excuses for the myriad inadequacies of this Leeds United performance, the match between United and Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough was one of those occasions when the score alone tells a very misleading story.

The fact of the matter is that Leeds, having more than held their own in a first half where steadier finishing would have seen them comfortably ahead at the interval, had their own ‘keeper Marco Silvestri as well as some fathomless decision-making by replacement ref Anthony Taylor to blame for a second period capitulation. Ironically, it was the home side in the unfortunate position of having to field a third-choice goalkeeper – but any observer unaware of this fact might have guessed that the novice was in the away goal. Silvestri first gave away a needless corner from a shot heading two yards wide, resulting in a scrambled opener – and then spilled a long-range shot for the predatory Hooper to claim a second for Wednesday.

In such circumstances, you could perhaps have forgiven Leeds for concluding that it simply wasn’t their day – but to their credit, they plugged away and continued to press the home side back. It took a bizarre piece of refereeing to deny United an avenue back into the game as the clock ticked towards the final ten minutes. Leeds had already been denied by the woodwork when Wendies defender Pudil committed a foul – surely a second bookable offence – that gave Leeds what seemed like a deserved goal from Liam Cooper. The referee had checked on the progress of Wednesday’s substitution of Forestieri, had seen the player making his way slowly off – and had then whistled for the Leeds free-kick to be taken, signalling a goal when Cooper bundled the ball into the home net. Bizarrely, he then reversed his decision after consultation with the fourth official and Leeds were denied. In effect, Wednesday had benefited directly from time-wasting in the shape of Forestieri’s snail-pace trudge off the pitch. Rough justice – the kind of justice meted out to Leeds United over the past half-century – had kicked the Whites in the teeth yet again.

From the retaken free kick, insult was added to injury when Pudil – who should have seen red for the foul that led to the original award – cleared the ball off the line, and Leeds United’s last chance of recovery was gone. In truth, of course, United’s own profligate finishing and the basic errors of a goalkeeper in Silvestri whose position must now surely be in jeopardy, have ended up costing Leeds dear. But yet another unprecedented piece of shoddy refereeing leaves a nasty taste in the mouth – one that Leeds fans are all too familiar with from long and bitter experience. Plus ça change… It’s difficult to see this particular football tradition ending anytime soon.

Finally – and just to put the slings and arrows of an outrageous South Yorkshire lunchtime into perspective – it appears that a Wednesday fan lost his life to a heart attack on the Hillsborough Kop as the game was in its second half. Such a tragedy would blight any occasion, and it certainly puts petty sporting rights and wrongs firmly into their unimportant place. To the late football fan and his grieving family, Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything extends sincere condolences and sympathy. Rest in peace.

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28 responses to “Lucky Sheffield Wednesday Benefit From Opponents’ and Officials’ Howlers   –   by Rob Atkinson

  1. Basically we not good enough, Sylvestri needs to be sold, he is like a Gary Sprake of Modern times , dreadful apart from a stopper. Pay tin pot wages u get tinpot players. We be in championship for another 10 yrs.

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    • I have to concur defenders who cant defend attackers who couldnt hit a cows arse with a banjo luke murphy whos turned into square ball or backwards ray wilkins and a manager whos so far up cellinos a–se all you can see are his feet
      Plus he can make his mouth say anything usually bullshit!!

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  2. Philip of Spain.

    Another month when you look at the score,it doesn’t matter.2.0.Wendies.We are desperate for a instinctive goal scorer.We fall apart in the oppositions box.I though the football we played jtoday was outstanding.Too soft,soft goals and bang.A goal disallowed.Where are all Evans signings he promised???

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  3. Scally Lad

    The Wendys and the officials stole it from us. Clear and simple. Nothing else need be said. MOT

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  4. Karl Major

    First let me pass my condolences to the family and friends of the unfortunate Wednesday fan who passed away today, at least he would have died happy.
    Next I will disagree with the comment above linking Sprake and Silvestri. Sprake was a magnificent goalie who was unfortunate in that every error he ever made was captured by the tv cameras in the days when not much footie was on the telly.
    Then there’s the comment about Evans promises, get real fella, Evans doesn’t get them in Cellino does, Evans just has a wish list.
    I hope not, but I can see this window closing with no improvement to the squad and then Cellino sacking Evans next month.
    Byram out and Carayol in, not a good deal so far.. I discount Bridcutt as we already had him.
    My Christmas wish was for a billionaire to buy LUFC, all of it, sadly Santa let me down again.
    Keep em coming Rob, you brighten my day in these dark times.
    MOT

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  5. How many points is that in total for the season our ‘goalkeeper’ has given away? We would be a lot nearer the play off places if he hadn’t made so many mistakes. Perhaps then we would have been able to attract the players we obviously need. Cellino, Bellusci and Silvestri have certainly done an ‘Italian Job’ on Leeds!

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  6. You failed to mention the foul on little messi in the first half which was a deffo penalty. Then also failed to mention the goal that never was, was put in by the players hand. The Owls played badly but looked like they could score whenever they wanted. Enjoy Evans, play offs ? You’re having a laugh fatboy

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  7. Rob it’s good to see your blog again. I guess you have been busy with other stuff. Maybe you need encouragement in the form of comments. I think I’ve read your last two blogs, at least, without wanting to comment. Accumulated ennui from years of Bates’ and now Cellino’s stewardship of Leeds. Plus I know you think Evans is a brilliant manager and I don’t think he knows a tactic from a breath mint. I accept that he is possibly a good motivator but that only goes so far when he sets teams up that lose and blames the players for not being good enough. To me Evans is just another manifestation of Cellino’s lack of ambition. Sure, the ref made a howler but we were the architects of our own destruction. The responsibility lies with Cellino and his parsimony, and it’s starving my interest in Leeds.

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  8. Darren Cook

    Decisions went against both teams, the referee just wasn’t good enough. Wendy’s should have had a penalty and Cook should have been sent off along with Pudil so all I all it was a fair score

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  9. I like Evans but you can tell he fears the sack way he always calls Mad Massimo “president”. Silvestri made comical errors but strangely has saved more certain goals with saves but that’s his job? Our defenders don’t close down like our rivals do,making attacking us a gift. Forget the playoffs. Look at the eight point gap to Div 1! Doukara is not a natural goalscorer,need one fast. Another wasted game after looking so promising 1st half..

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  10. Silvestri is without doubt, one of the worst goalkeepers to ever ware a Leeds shirt and handed Wednesday both of their very easy goals today.
    Silvestri is as bad as Rachubka was, but he still believes that he is a world-beater and blameless for his constant mistakes, which happen far too often than a normal goalkeeper.
    As for all of the moaning about the disallowed goal, Leeds still wouldn’t have scored after that anyway, due to our wingers and midfield putting wasted balls into absolutely NOBODY or Doukara’s non-existent striking partner, who is of course “the invisible man”.
    For some strange reason, this Leeds team have only ever been firing on one cylinder, since day one of this terrible season and still have some work to do, to get to the 50 point safety target.

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  11. You can´t compare the great Gary Sprake with Silvestri from Italy. We need to get the Italy players out of the Club every one of them plus Sloth from Denmark. And if we have got offer of over 3m for Chris Wood then sell him. Hi is only 1m player for Leeds Utd.

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    • The problem with selling all the players is that we are making Zero impact in transfer market……..firstly its obvious that players don’t want to come to leeds and second that leeds arnt prepared to pay competitive wages………evans has already painted a picture of how he cancelled two transfers over wage demands
      The clubs who are pushing for promotion will always pay a little more, that’s the difference
      every year that goes by with us like this a bit more of us dies

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      • Sad, depressing – but true.

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      • Scally Lad

        All too true. I think that ownership and management have determined that we are full-time residents of the Championship or League One. No serious interest on their part to come up with the financial g to make a competitive with quality Premiership sides like Arsenal, Lverpool and Leicester.

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  12. Jonathan Mapplebeck

    The Sheffield we’d player who was stood on the pitch after apparently being substituted should of been sent off for clearly stopping a goal scoring opportunity I think the football league should look at this with one of their retrospective judgements the video evidence is clearly their with him still standing on the pitch remonstrsting straight red if you ask me

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    • Jack Charlton, Wednesday legend

      Seriously? Deary me, no offence but this comment makes you sound like an absolute cabbage. It’s saying something when putting “should of” is actually the least thick part of your post.

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  13. Wednesday had 2 penalty decisions go against them .Then the referee did his utmost to award Leeds a goal whilst a substitution was taking place. Very bias ref towards Leeds utd

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  14. As a supporter for over 60 years, l am heartily sick of my so called fellow supporters. Moaning and whinging about our lot. The side we currently field, is short of that old head to cajole and prompt the younger players a Bobby Collins or Gordon Strachan.
    As for criticising Cellino, yes he comes out with many decisions without thinking too deeply,appointing and sacking managers being his most bizarre. But that is him, he is hot blooded and seemingly doesn’t think too much before acting.But, think back to the state of the club before he came. We were in financial meltdown. We had a team of aging players, the style of our football was terrible, and we regularly sold our best players.never to replace them. Since he came, we got a fortune for Ross McCormack, and sold Matt Smith for good money,( both of whom l would have kept if possible) It looks like we are selling Sam Byram for a reasonable fee, considering it would probably be much lower in the summer. The club is more stable financially which is probably the cause of losing Sam, he or his agent wanted more than they were prepared to pay.
    I would suggest that the average age of todays much better team was way under 25 with only Bellucci and Antenucci being over. Yes goalkeeping mistakes cost us dearly today and on other occasions, but look at the points he has won for us. He is very young as keepers go, and his overall game has improved. He commands the box more. Todays errors 1. He gave away an unnecessry corner which we defended abysmally. 2 he spilled what any keeper will tell you is the hardest shot to deal with. One which bounces just in front of you at pace, with on rushing players.He is still very young and needs support, not the vitriol of these so called fans. Get off his back.

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    • I bet you had the odd whinge about “Careless Hands” Sprake back in the day.

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      • No, l was a supporter of Gary Sprake until l thought that David Harvey was better. Currently we have no one even remotely close to Silvestri, with Turnbull injured and the others being even younger and less experienced than Marco. He is still probably the best shot stopper in the league, and can only go on improving, in spite of yesterdays mishaps.

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      • A Wilson

        Correct, Harvey was exellent, Sprake was a good stopper, but prone to howlers!

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      • A Wilson

        Uk goalie needed, simples ! And fast.! He still as bad at the bad things since he came. But good at the things he was also. Im no top goalie, but was a goalie for yrs, some of his basic stuff is still wrong, for me must go during the summer.. Handling very poor, distribution dreadful, kicking nowt clever, game reading poor, corners not a clue. Shame really, smashing lad. Bit brutal on assesment , but fact.

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    • Nice to see a couple of comments from folk who know what they are watching when they go to a football match. In fairness The Wednesday have rode their luck for their last three matches having their central defensive players out injured along with an influential defensive midfielder. As for the ref yesterday, he shouldn’t be allowed officiate a tiddlywinks game. Hopefully your ”el presidente” will see the light soon and get rid of your manager who had such a terrible foul mouthed rant at the officials after the match. If you used language like that in the street you’d be arrested. I only found this blog from a link but was happily surprised to see that you love one of our ex managers as much as we do. Shame the board back then wouldn’t finance him at Hillsborough or we may have been celebrating a first division title instead of you considering all the players he took from Sheffield. Tek it easy lads ‘n mebbe we’ll sithee int’ premier league sometime.

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  15. David Dean

    I have 3 season tickets so I have to go when I can. I am glad I can’t go next Saturday even though it is a rare opportunity to see them win. I am not bothered about that now because there is no improvement and no hope – the season is dead. I don’t think they will miss Byram because Cellino destroyed his career at Leeds months ago. The lack of good will towards Byram and the determination to want to cash in on him and the lack of ambition is an insult to Evans and the fans. I still cling to the hope of signings with the money but he stole McCormack’s money and he will steal Byram’s money – I don’t think there will be any signings and he probably won’t sell any of the kids because there would be uproar. He will sell them in the summer get another manager and start again. Evans is having to defend Cellino, stick up for him and big him up in the same way that Uve and to some extent Redders had to. It is sickening arse licking from all three of them but I don’t blame Evans or the others. Evans has no choice – he loves the job so much. Redders and Uve were never given a chance and Evans will suffer the same fate. They all deserved 2 years unless they had got us relegated. As for Careless Hands – he was the cornerstone that brought us the glory years. He was a magnificent keeper, the most important part of the best defence in the country until he had to be replaced. He was 18 years old when he started his great career. What a shame he had to blow the whistle about things we will never know if they are true or not. If they are true it is irrelevant. It tells me corruption will have been rife in the game and as Leeds were very unfairly treated – to be forced to play at Wolves on Monday night after the cup final with the Championship at stake I would not blame them for trying to level the playing field a bit. Silvestri has made some incredible saves and if he had a couple of decent central defenders in front of him would probably be worth sticking with – however…..
    I too wish long life to the family of the bereaved and love your blogs and the stimulating comments made. I don’t think we were hard done by yesterday – of course the “goal” was a farce but we were not good and should have been 2-0 in the first few minutes. Happy New Year, Rob, and thanks again – always a great and entertaining read.

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