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
Chelsea injury news: Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic could join Diego Costa on the sidelines for crucial Manchester City clash
Australian Open 2015: Thanks to Amelie Mauresmo, it's no longer Andy Murray against the world
Manchester United sign former Manchester City prospect Sadiq El Fitouri on advice from Phil Neville and Paul Scholes
Kim Sears 'swearing' outburst threatens to overshadow Andy Murray's Australian Open semi-final win
Arsene Wenger photobombs Arsenal photo shoot - manages to look like famous 'Bigfoot' picture
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...