Sheffield Wednesday 1 Charlton Athletic 0
Plenty of positives to take from today’s game, although the negatives are hardly unknown.
The game ended in a 1-0 defeat, but for 70 minutes we were as likely to win as Wednesday were, and we totally dominated the first half where we moved the ball around very well. The possession and shot stats were all heavily in our favour but as has been pointed out many times we look short on firepower and an ability to see teams off.
We are also short on personnel. Another striker is an absolute must, plus two left-sided defenders before the transfer window closes. If nothing else the style Garner wants to play, and one that we did so well for 45 minutes, is energy zapping and to reach those levels for 90 minutes means Garner needs options. On the bench match days and in the squad to rest and recuperate players.
Two weeks of the transfer window left, and Thomas needs to put his hand in his pocket. This is a mid table budget but with a fanbase and a manager that has much higher aspirations. And rightly so.
Garner spoke well after again, amid Scott Minto asking some direct questions. Garner did manage to slip in the budget comment once more, but I don’t like this ‘we did well against the promotion favourites’ sales pitch. We don’t need to spend big like Wednesday, but Thomas has to give Garner and the squad the very best opportunity to compete for promotion.
I think the Garner could have made better use of the subs in stifling conditions, but that’s easy to say after the fact, and our bench did not have the game-changers on it that Wednesday’s did.
As for the players. From my perspective I was again disappointed in Fraser. Stockley for all the grumbles needs a 10 buzzing around him, and more supply and support from out wide. If CBT had better awareness then he would not be in L1 mind.
Too early to be discouraged, and there were a lot of things to admire about our play. However I will issue a reminder that this is a results business. Pretty is lovely, but personality is everything.
We have another date on Tuesday.
Ben Garner: “Very disappointed, there is a lot of frustration there. First half, in particular, we were excellent. To come here and create as much as we did and not take the opportunities was the disappointment.”
Stats (CAFC first): Possession – 56% / 44%; Passes – 326 / 251; Accurate passes – 275 / 194; Shots (on target) – 9 (3) / 3 (1)