Notice the image. McCallum's throw-in was an extra 5 yards in. Pulis' preferred style of 'direct and at them' football, and preventing opponents from playing is literally lined out on the field. Much like Pep and his zones, Pulis has his narrow pitch.
There are lots of questions about Sheaf, and there was concern for this game with both Hamer and Kelly missing. Kelly missing hurts, but Sheffield Wednesday were never really a central footballing threat, so we could afford to miss him, in a footballing sense. Missing Hamer hurt the most, I think.
Wednesday would press with two as Coventry build. More opportunist pressing, than purposeful pressing as 9 players would drop behind the ball.
The result of dropping deep meant that any forward play was into tight spaces would likely result in a loss of possession. Coventry lost the ball 31 times in the game. O'Hare lost the ball 11 of those (whoscored.com) :
O'Hare receives, with pressure, but he was wide. He is a threat and Wednesday respond by sliding over. Note Sheaf centrally, having held a position and the Wednesday midfield leaving him behind.
There were moments that decisions were better. O'Hare receives, with pressure, but he was wide. He is a threat and Wednesday respond by sliding over. Note Sheaf centrally, having held a position and the Wednesday midfield leaving him behind.
The passes, on the red arrows, indicate the ball coming to Sheaf and seconds later he lays Ostigard in to drive forwards and fire a cross at Biamou.
The build up, and purpose behind the possession is clear. Move Wednesday across the field and exploit the weakside with a switch back. It might be the best way to break down a compact defensive team, and it worked for Coventry early on. However, it wasn't used often enough, and this is where Hamer would control the tempo and direction in the attack. Neither Allen or Sheaf really took control of the middle and dictated play.
Wednesday had much less of the ball, but were much more effective in their attack. Long ball, yes, but the chaos it causes works. A long ball from Westwood, is flicked on twice, ultimately finding Windass. The choas is Hyam stepping to win, and not winning the ball. He leaves a space, but it isn't filled. The attack is unpredictable and chaotic.
Wednesday are opportunistic in their approach. -12 points to start the season, not favored by many for success, and a manager in Pulis means a dogmatic approach. Just like the two that pressed in the early image as Coventry built up, the opportunity arose to press and Brannan jumped on Wilson's unlikely mistake. The mistake was costly, and unnecessary.
Much like the mistake in this game, there have been several costly mistakes this season. There were 20+ minutes left to play, so it wasn't a last minute penalty mistake, but Wednesday had dealt with much of the Coventry attack so equalizing meant pushing on and going longer than ever.
The issue. This was Coventry's game with more controlled possession. I haven't mentioned the chances we had to take the lead. An opportunistic steal from Biamou that forced a good save on 5'. 13 total shots says that we did threaten, and if Biamou scores early on, it changes the game. However, if's and but's don't win games. You must find and exploit the opponents weakness'. You must break down a stubborn and compact team, like Wednesday, to maximize your control.
Brannan was instrumental for Wednesday. He showed experience and was the one who got his foot on the ball when possible. Much of their attack was direct, but he picked up the pieces and was a spotlight in a squad that has been written off by most everyone. It was the experience in the middle that Coventry missed.