THE DARK nights are coming and Sheffield Wednesday manager Garry Monk is entitled to smile again.
A difficult summer saw him sacked by Birmingham City in mid-June and deny any wrongdoing following allegations made against him and his agent James Featherstone.
Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough in South Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. With some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely industrial roots to encompass a wider economic base. The population of the City of Sheffield is 582,506 (mid-2018 est.) and it is one of the eight largest regional English cities that make up the Core Cities Group. Sheffield is the third-largest English district by population. The metropolitan population of Sheffield is 1,569,000.The city is in the eastern foothills of the Pennines, and the valleys of the River Don and its four tributaries, the Loxley, the Porter Brook, the Rivelin and the Sheaf. Sixty-one per cent of Sheffield’s entire area is green space, and a third of the city lies within the Peak District national park. There are more than 250 parks, woodlands and gardens in the city, which is estimated to contain around 4.5 million trees.Sheffield played a crucial role in the Industrial Revolution, with many significant inventions and technologies developed in the city. In the 19th century, the city saw a huge expansion of its traditional cutlery trade, when stainless steel and crucible steel were developed locally, fuelling an almost tenfold increase in the population. Sheffield received its municipal charter in 1843, becoming the City of Sheffield in 1893. International competition in iron and steel caused a decline in these industries in the 1970s and 1980s, coinciding with the collapse of coal mining in the area.
The 21st century has seen extensive redevelopment in Sheffield, along with other British cities. Sheffield’s gross value added (GVA) has increased by 60% since 1997, standing at £9.2 billion in 2007. The economy has experienced steady growth averaging around 5% annually, greater than that of the broader region of Yorkshire and the Humber.The city has a long sporting heritage, and is home to the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield F.C. Games between the two professional clubs, Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday, are known as the Steel City derby. The city is also home to the World Snooker Championship and the Sheffield Steelers, the UK’s first professional ice hockey team.
Sheffield Wednesday 1 Stoke City 0
Wednesday is the day of the week between Tuesday and Thursday. According to international standard ISO 8601 it is the third day of the week. In countries that have Friday as their holiday and in the Islamic calendar, Wednesday would be the fifth day of the week. In countries that use the Sunday-first convention and in the Jewish Hebrew calendar Wednesday is defined as the fourth day of the week. The name is derived from Old English Wōdnesdæg and Middle English Wednesdei, “day of Woden”, reflecting the pre-Christian religion practiced by the Anglo-Saxons, a variation of the Norse god Odin. In other languages, such as the French mercredi or Italian mercoledì, the day’s name is a calque of dies Mercurii “day of Mercury”.
Wednesday is in the middle of the common Western five-day workweek that starts on Monday and finishes on Friday.
After time with the family, Monk was soon itching to get back to football, all he has known since being a teenager, long before the end of the summer holidays.
Back in the day job and quickly back to the business end of the Championship, which he occupied in his time revitalising another Yorkshire giant in Leeds United in 2016-17, Monk is now threatening to do it again at Wednesday.
Sheffield Wednesday 1 Stoke City 0
Last night’s game was no thing of beauty; far from it with it being wholly fitting that a scruffy spectacle was settled by an error.
It came from former Barnsley defender Liam Lindsay, whose poor 43rd-minute clearance let in Massimo Luongo, who raced clear to score his second decisive goal in successive home matches to ensure another 1-0 win at Hillsborough.
Far from at their best maybe, but Wednesday’s ability to get the job done and avoid mistakes and keep the back door shut was again impressive, with Julian Borner and his defensive cohorts seeing them home to another precious victory.
That was borne out in seven minutes of stoppage time in a second half when the hosts were not to be moved as they moved up to third place in the Championship.
In the job for just a month-and-a-half, Monk, a former centre-half of some repute, has quickly installed steel and organisation in this regimented Owls unit, whose game management is strong.
Wearing striped shirts which were barely distinguishable from each other from a distance, both sides displayed a uniform lack of coherence in a sterile half of football which was pockmarked by looseness in possession, poor decision-making and a super-slow tempo.
Fortunately, there was a saving grace for Wednesday following substitute Lindsay’s benevolence prior to the interval with the defender guilty of failing to clear with his right foot when the ball was flicked on towards Stoke’s right defensive channel by Steven Fletcher.
Luongo was not one to pass up gifts and he could have scarcely believed his luck after being allowed an unhindered run towards goal and he duly produced a textbook low finish past the exposed Adam Federici.
It baled out Wednesday after a lame half which was well below the standards of the performance they prodiced in the 1-1 draw at Cardiff.
The hosts contrived a couple of semi-dangerous moments with Kadeem Harris firing over from close in under pressure and Federici blocking a shot at his near post from Adam Reach after a trademark slaloming run from the Owls midfielder.
But other than that, it was turgid, forgettable stuff, although the introduction of former Sheffield United midfielder Mark Duffy did provoke some animation from Wednesdayites, who were quick to remind him of his former status.
Forced into two changes due to injury, Stoke plainly lacked ambition and penetration going forward, but given their lowly status, they would have made no apologies for being primarily concerned with substance and not style.
Until Lindsay’s aberration, it was a defensive job well enough done in that regard, but that moment saw the game plan shredded.
Unfortunately, for the watching spectator, the lack of flow before the interval continued on the resumption, not helped by several injury stoppages, one of which saw goalscorer Luongo forced off due to a knock.
Just earlier, Reach had headed wide, with he and former Owls loanee Danny Batth soon receiving attention to sum up an eminently stop-start contest.
A rare flashpoint did arrive when Stoke saw appeals for a penalty rebuffed when Joe Allen went down following close attention from Barry Bannan with referee Andrew Madley having a word with Bruno Martins Indi, not involved in the game and part of a Stoke bench who were incensed with the non-award.
The visitors’ mood did not improve when they missed their one gilt-edged chance to level soon after.
Duffy’s cross found the unmarked Lee Gregory, only for the Sheffielder’s header to be denied by a splendid reaction save by Cameron Dawson.
It was a warning to Wednesday, whose failure to confirm the points with a second goal left them exposed to such a sucker-punch.
A rising shot from Harris, which was turned over by Federici, went close to setting up a regulation final 20 minutes, but not close enough.
An immaculate sliding tackle from Dominic Iorfa, who had earlier made an important block to thwart Badou Ndiaye, summed up the Owls’ resolution to hang onto the spoils to keep the pressure on West Brom and Leeds.
Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson; Palmer, Iorfa, Borner, Fox; Hutchinson, Luongo (Lee 54), Bannan; Reach, Fletcher (Nuhiu 81), Harris (Forestieri 74). Unused substitutes: Jones, Pelupessy, Winnall, Odubajo.
Stoke City: Federici; Edwards, Carter-Vickers (Lindsay 27), Batth, Ward; Etebo (Duffy 21), Ndiaye, Allen, Clucas; Gregory, Campbell (Hogan 69). Unused substitutes: Butland, McClean, Vokes, Ince.
Referee: A Madley (West Yorkshire).