Wednesday in Sheffield: Darren Moore delivers an emotional speech in the dressing room after his biggest play-off comeback
The Owls put up their biggest comeback in play-off history on Thursday’s most incredible night at Hillsborough, securing their spot against either Bolton or Barnsley at Wembley on May 29.
Few prayed on Wednesday to come back from a slender deficit in the semi-finals after being shocked 4-0 in the first leg at London Road last week.
It was a shocking result for a team who had set a new EFL record for most points accumulated without automatically securing promotion and finished the regular season with 96 points, having won their last four games.
However, Wednesday never gave up hope of possibly drawing level with champions Plymouth and runners-up Ipswich and returning to the Championship for the first time since 2021, dominating the second leg on home soil and going 2-0 within 25 minutes thanks to an early penalty the lead came from goal by Michael Smith and Lee Gregory.
That early double volley gave the hosts real inspiration and they scored again through Reece James with 20 minutes remaining, although it still looked like they were going to narrowly miss before Liam Palmer caused absolute chaos by delivering the final shot of the 90 minutes an extra 30 minutes forced stoppage time.
A shocked Peterborough managed to retaliate through an unfortunate Gregory own goal and retake the overall lead, but Wednesday did not miss out as Callum Paterson made it 5-1 and 5-5 on aggregate in the evening, forcing the Lottery penalties.
Wednesday kept his nerve and scored every penalty as dapper defender Dan Butler smashed his ball over the bar, sealing one of the greatest comebacks English football has ever seen, prompting an invasion of jubilant home fans onto the pitch.
Coach Moore then insisted he always believed there was still a way to go to Wembley and delivered an impassioned post-match speech to his victorious side, who are heading into next weekend’s final with tremendous momentum.
“I’m absolutely proud of each and every one of you,” he said. “We had a couple of adversities in the first leg and we knew we weren’t performing.
“It just shows you what preparation does. We’ve been preparing all week, from the mindset, the mentality and in training. Faith has always been there.
“I can’t praise you enough for what you just produced out there, it’s absolutely amazing. You really deserve it. I’m absolutely happy with what we’ve had to go through this season.
“We have one more. Have fun tonight, but we have one more. But I’m so proud.”
Speaking to Sky Sports, Moore said: “The key was the fans. I begged them to come out in numbers and in full voice and they gave us that all season.
“She [the players] continue. Why? Because the fans pushed them. The message to fans reads, “Thank you.”
“I slept at night because I knew I had done everything I could in preparation. I kept faith in the players.”
“Considering what we did with a four-goal deficit. To do that on penalties is remarkable.”
“Tomorrow I’ll watch the game and then the preparation will begin. We enjoy tonight and get up early tomorrow. We scheduled a detailed session that we had all month.”
Longtime Wednesday captain Barry Bannan also praised the club’s character after the unsavory reaction to the first-leg beating. Moore had received racist abuse online and heinous messages were also sent to Chairman Dejphon Chansiri.
“Everyone wrote us off. “Everyone has been telling us we can’t do it, but it’s incredible,” Bannan told Sky.
“We’ve seen comebacks all week. It was all about believing. When we have the fans behind us, anything is possible.
“It’s the best game I’ve ever played. I’m so happy because all these guys deserve it. I give everything for the rise of this club. Everyone wrote us off, but we showed we’re made of strong stuff. We’re only halfway there.
“Those who booed us last week and said we weren’t fit to wear the shirt are looking at this.
“What he [Moore] What he’s done is incredible, changing the way players think. I’m so proud of him how he’s coped this week after the racism he’s experienced. This is for him.”
https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/sheffield-wednesday-peterborough-league-one-playoffs-darren-moore-b1082257.html Wednesday in Sheffield: Darren Moore delivers an emotional speech in the dressing room after his biggest play-off comeback