Humphreys comes of age
Sheffield Wed 2 Humphreys 56, Whittingham 84 Aston Villa 1 Johnson 88 Attendance: 26,861
The judgement was as pleasing as the execution. Humphreys was bounding his way into the area when a glancing header from Mark Pembridge arrived in his direction. The 18-year-old waited for it to reach a height to his liking, chose his spot delightfully and gave the Aston Villa goalkeeper Michael Oakes the sort of chance he could have done without on his debut, somewhere between slim and none.
The goal was just reward for player and team. Humphreys had been busy and determined throughout, which is probably as well considering the apprehension of the fellow alongside him, Andy Booth, who was perhaps betraying the sort of nerves that a pounds 2.5m transfer fee can induce.
Wednesday, however, belied the pre-season status of the sides. Villa might have had the clearer scoring opportunities in the first half but it was Wednesday who not only had more possession but were also more attractive with it. On both counts they were indebted to Regi Blinker, a dreadlocked Dutchman born in Surinam. Maybe not Ruud Gullit, but he was diligent, trustworthy and elegant.
It was Booth who had the first opportunity in the fifth minute, but his drive over the bar indicated his state of mind. Shortly after Dwight Yorke was foiled by Kevin Pressman's dive at his feet, Ian Taylor headed over and before half-time he turned Des Walker in the box.
The significance of their failure to capitalise was merely emphasised by the Humphreys goal. Wednesday might have increased their lead before Guy Whittingham's looping header seven minutes from time.
In the final minute Tommy Johnson pulled one back for Villa but by then Humphreys (whisper this quietly but he was brought up a Sheffield United supporter) had inflicted the damage which mattered and had been substituted, his job done. After the match, Wednesday's manager, David Pleat, naturally declared himself delighted with the home-grown teenager but also announced that he too is partial to exotic foreigners. Some time next week Wednesday will sign another Dutchman, Orlando Trustfull, for "under pounds 1m" from Feyernoord.
Latest in Sport
Don't mess with me, Diego Costa warns Manchester City ahead of Chelsea clash
Florida State quarter-back Jameis Winston suspended for half-a-game for yelling 'F*** her right in the p****'
West Ham vs Liverpool match report: Reds are caught cold by hot Hammers
Aston Villa vs Arsenal team news: Alexis Sanchez incorrectly named in starting line-up as Alex Oxlade-Chamerlain called up to start
West Ham vs Liverpool player ratings: Winston Reid? Diafra Sakho? Who rated highest from the Hammers' victory?
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 4 Matthew Miller: American sentenced to hard labour in North Korea 'wanted to be Snowden II'
- 5 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...
£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...
£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...
£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...