Sheffield Wednesday 2 Peterborough 1: Wednesday’s stock back on the rise after consecutive victories

George Boyd gets to grips with Owls Jose Semedo
George Boyd gets to grips with Owls Jose Semedo
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The peaks and troughs of Dave Jones’s tenure as Sheffield Wednesday manager could be likened to the timeline of a volatile share.

Since taking charge at the beginning of March, with Wednesday two games unbeaten, Jones oversaw a dramatic rise that took in 17 more games in which the Owls went undefeated.

In that time they broke through the glass ceiling of League One, and showed no signs of their value decreasing as they claimed four wins and a draw in their opening five games of the 2012-13 season.

Then, just as people were queueing up to cash in on the Owls, their stock plummeted.

In the next 10 league and cup games they earned just one draw.

But after it looked as though the crash could result in a change at the helm, so soon after the highs of the Spring promotion, Wednesday appear now to be back on an upward trajectory, and in the nick of time.

The previous Saturday’s 3-0 win at Ipswich was as timely as it was vital in keeping owner and chairman Milan Mandaric from considering a change in the dugout.

Saturday’s altogether more jittery victory over Peterborough made it two wins from two, and although immediate history may suggest another upsurge in the Owls’ fortunes, the manner of the win over Peterborough should temper such thoughts.

Darren Ferguson’s side, plucky as they are, should be no more than relegation fodder this season. The Championship is too big a division nowadays for low-budget clubs.

That Wednesday toiled to beat them, through sluggishness in the first half and a loss of concentration in the second, sums up where Jones’s side are right now.

Good enough to edge past the weaker teams, but still a long way from harbouring any greater aspirations.

It may lead to the most stable phase of Jones’s tenure, and in the context of the season, these last two victories that have fired the Owls from second-bottom to sixth-bottom may prove more crucial than any others.

Indeed, they were good value for the three points.

They showed greater enterprise against the 3-5-2 of Peterborough, who may have set up looking to build on a run of four wins in six games, but showed little actual adventure.

Wednesday, similarly, were toothless in a 4-5-1 with Chris O’Grady starved of service.

Their cause was not helped by an injury to Paul Corry midway through the first half, but their tempo was not high enough to trouble Peterborough.

Wednesday needed a shot in the arm in the second half and for the good of their hopes, and the game, they got it within 10 seconds of the restart.

Lewis Buxton punted the ball forward from right-back, which was an all-too familiar attacking initiative for the home side.

O’Grady, who ran tirelessly to little avail, got above his marker and flicked it down to Ross Barkley, who like all good attacking midfielders had sensed the opportunity and ran beyond the last man.

The 18-year-old Everton loanee – brimming with confidence after two goals the previous week and giving performances which suggest he could well be a star in the making – met it first-time with a crisp half-volley.

The ball took a nick off the challenging Grant McCann which did just enough to deceive Robert Olejnik and beat him at his near post.

The relief was palpable. Had the deadlock gone on much longer it could have been a case of attack versus defence with the Owls possessing little ingenuity to break down Posh.

As it was, the open spaces provided Michail Antonio the chance to run at Peterborough. The winger almost scored when he raced onto Rhys McCabe’s beautifully-weighted pass, but he poked it wide.

He was then fouled in the box as he cut in from the right but referee Darren Drysdale waved away the appeals, as he did on three more occasions to the frustrations of Owls boss Jones.

Miguel Llera also thought he had a shout for a penalty when he was bundled over in a challenge for a high ball on 76 minutes, but no matter.

For when Peterborough failed to clear their lines, the roving Antonio collected the ball on the left and put over a majestic cross with the outside of his right boot. Llera, stood five yards from goal, had the easiest of jobs to head the ball into the roof of the net.

“A lot of the goal comes from the cross; Antonio’s cross was so beautiful,” said the Spanish-born centre-half. “At 2-0 the game should have been over, but we conceded the goal too early and we suffered too much after that.”

Indeed they did. George Boyd collected a half-clearance on the edge of the box and found the net with a shot that went through a forest of legs.

It made for an uncomfortable final 15 minutes for the Owls, but they hung on for the points.

“We’ve probably played far better than that and come away with nothing, but that’s how it goes sometimes,” said Jones.

“The day was dull, everything about it was dull and I’m glad they put the lights on.”

Llera echoed his manager’s sentiments when he said he felt the Owls should have had clear penalties, though his suggestion that “referees don’t give respect to a massive club” was more innocent than it sounds given his broken English