Darren Moore may not have been in attendance on Saturday afternoon, but Sheffield Wednesday star Adam Reach badly let his manager down yet again, as their survival bid took another damaging twist.
It was always going to be a hard task for the Owls, though their performance warranted some sort of result down in the capital.
The South Yorkshire outfit were defeated 1-0 by automatic promotion-chasing Watford, courtesy of an own goal from Wednesday veteran Tom Lees just seven minutes into the encounter.
That proved to be the only difference in this top versus bottom clash at Vicarage Road.
Owls coach Jamie Smith filled in for the absent Moore, and he won’t have many positives to report back to the 46-year-old over Reach, who was also a negative in the win over Barnsley before the international break, as explained by Football FanCast here.
Once again deployed as a left wing-back, the 28-year-old star was graded among Wednesday’s worst performers with a mediocre 6.5 rating per SofaScore – by comparison, Lees, who scored that own goal, did better at 6.9, as did Josh Windass (6.8), who managed only one shot all game.
So that speaks volumes already.
In his 90 minutes on the pitch, he struggled immensely to combat the threat on offer from Ismaila Sarr, picking up a yellow card before half-time for his troubles. He failed to win a single duel from four attempts against the Hornets speedster, adding to his nightmare afternoon.
As a wing-back, Reach needed to contribute at both ends of the pitch. Well, he struggled in attack, just as much as he did defensively.
Per SofaScore, the former Boro man only found an Owls player with 50% of his crossing attempts, whilst he also didn’t contribute a key pass, shot or dribble along that flank.
Reach also failed to provide a tackle or interception, and was dribbled past once.
YorkshireLive correspondent Dom Howson rated the Owls dynamo as their worst-player and was less than impressed in his post-game reaction column.
He wrote: ‘Caught under the ball for Lees’ own goal. Struggled throughout to stifle the attacking threat of Sarr and carried little attacking threat. Another different afternoon.’
When Moore returns to the dugout, he may want to think twice about trusting the long-serving utility man again after back-to-back disappointments.
The Owls are now seven points adrift of safety, with only eight games left to play and are now without that game in hand. Had the lightweight Reach done better for the goal and for his performance on the whole, then maybe their task would’ve been made a little easier.