Monday, February 27, 2012
Derby joy for Owls, Grayson away
Welcome to The Trawler, your weekly submersion through the teeming waters of life in the Championship, League One and League Two. You might be surprised what you find down there.
Megson's men of steel
Sheffield Wednesday claimed bragging rights in a scrappy Steel City derby on Sunday, beating Sheffield United 1-0 at Hillsborough thanks to Chris O'Grady's second-half header.
The result ended a run of four straight defeats for Gary Megson's team, and offered a glimmer of hope to a manager whose position has been subject to intense speculation recently - despite Wednesday remaining very much in contention for promotion.
Reports claim Owls owner Milan Mandaric has been considering sacking Megson, and there has even been the suggestion Wednesday have begun canvassing possible replacements - most notably Dave Jones. Megson was in defiant mood after the win over the Blades however.
"I've been doing this a long time at many different clubs and I've had some results that were hugely important," Megson said. "But no game has ever meant more to me than beating Sheffield United in a derby game."
Simple for Simon
Simon Grayson's first game in charge at Huddersfield ended in a straightforward 2-0 home win against Exeter on Saturday, with Jordan Rhodes taking his League One tally to 28 for the season with a sublime chip to seal victory late on.
Grayson's appointment came in the wake of Lee Clark's surprise sacking by the Huddersfield board last week, a decision which was made to look even more bizarre by Clark's nomination for the Football League's "outstanding Managerial achievement" award a few days later - in recognition of his 43-game unbeaten run with the club in 2011.
Pompey deny Warnock
Meanwhile Neil Warnock, the man who replaced Grayson after he was sacked just as curiously at Leeds, began his tenure with a disappointing 0-0 draw away to crisis club Portsmouth.
The defining moment of the match was a shot from Ross McCormack that Warnock was absolutely convinced crossed the goal-line after crashing against the underside the crossbar. On a weekend that saw AC Milan denied against Juventus in Serie A in similar circumstances, it was yet another case for video technology.
"McCormack's shot was a metre over the line. It's embarrassing really when you see it. It's not even close," Warnock said. "Apparently the television pictures here are not so good, but if they want to borrow ours, they'll see it's not even close."
Fergie time at Coventry
Relegation-threatened Coventry claimed a vital three points against Barnsley on Saturday, with Manchester United's on-loan midfielder Oliver Norwood playing a key role in setting up their dramatic late winner.
Norwood is hoping he can instil United's fighting mentality at Coventry, and lean on his Old Trafford experience to help save them from the drop in the Championship.
"Football's not always going to be like it is at United - winning titles and chasing trophies," Norwood said. "When United were 3-0 down at Chelsea, many teams would have folded. But it's in the history of Man United never to give up and they came back."
Di Canio corner
Paolo Di Canio's Swindon made it a record nine league wins in a row with 2-0 home victory against Accrington Stanley, but the Italian is not easily satisfied these days.
"I'm very angry with my players," Di Canio said. "The way we played in the second half is absolutely rubbish, the mentality was wrong. I'm worried for the future if we start losing our humility. I don't see why it happened today, I hope it was an accident.
"Nearly all of them don't deserve (praise). We won but in some way we lost something in the second half. I believe in what I say. Today's second half was opposite to my principle in football."
Earn your contracts
This week's "telling it like it is" award goes to Crewe manager Steve Davis, whose team let a 3-1 lead slip to draw 3-3 against AFC Wimbledon in League Two on Saturday.
"I don't want players here who can't cope with pressure, and some of them won't get contracts playing like they did," Davis said. "The result hurt me and my staff, I hope it hurts the players. I don't want to see those performances that I got fed up watching for the last two years."
Bury goalkeeper Cameron Belford didn't react particularly well to being replaced by on-loan Sunderland stopper Trevor Carson on Saturday.
Belford was so annoyed he asked to be left out of the squad altogether, and his wish was granted by Bury manager Richie Barker. "It's a difficult thing for him to take and he needs to be mentally right to part of the squad," Barker said.
The Trawler knows a tantrum when it sees one, and has a feeling Belford might not be long for Bury if Carson retains the jersey at Gigg Lane.
Life's a beach for Dons
MK Dons manager Karl Robinson took it easy on his players ahead of their match against Bournemouth. Thursday training was cancelled, while Friday's session was a light-hearted affair on the beach. The result was a 1-0 away win on the south coast that kept his team in the hunt for automatic promotion.
"People get so stressed out about this job and in the industry," Robinson said. "My head is always on the line with my job as a manager and I understand that. But if I can't do this smiling and enjoying it, then I don't want to do it.
"We just felt we'd worked hard all week. We didn't train Thursday but it was a risk which has paid off for us."
Don't upset the owner's wife
Staying with the same fixture, there were bizarre scenes in the Bournemouth dressing room at half-time when the wife of the club's owner stormed in to give a team talk.
Irena Denim, wife of billionaire co-owner Max, was so upset to see the team trailing 1-0 she demanded they up their efforts. Her speech didn't have the desired effect, but Denim's co-owner Eddie Mitchell understood where she was coming from.
"She and her husband and I have put a lot of energy and money into the club and she was entitled in my view to express an opinion," Mitchell said. "She did not go in when everyone was changing and what she said did not affect the outcome. She felt frustrated and she felt her opinions and that frustration should filter down to the players. I admit it was probably wrong we went to the dressing room and we would not have done if we were 2-0 up. Our manager Lee Bradbury has our support 120%.''
Later that evening Mitchell's interview on BBC Radio 5Live was cut short when he started swearing.