Elliot piles on Wednesday's misery

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The Independent Online

Sheffield Wednesday's woe continued last night when they were dispatched from the Worthington Cup, a competition in which they have secured two of their season's miserable tally of just three victories.

Sheffield Wednesday's woe continued last night when they were dispatched from the Worthington Cup, a competition in which they have secured two of their season's miserable tally of just three victories.

In a lively opening to this fourth-round tie, both sides gave short shrift to the current vogue for demeaning the pursuit of this trophy, and, given the swirling, unpredictable gale and sporadic but violent downpours - the contestants deserve commendation. Bolton's Claus Jensen tested Kevin Pressman with a free-kick move on five minutes, but the Wednesday veterantipped the drive wide. Had Niclas Alexandersson shown the same presence of mind, Wednesday might have snatched an early goal to lift their current gloom but, when a snap shot was called for, he tarried too long and was blocked.

On the break, Bo Hansen fired at Pressman and, when attempting to stroke the ball home on the rebound from a tight angle, his delicate shot struck the woodwork. Within seconds, though, the visitors were back in business - a fine run on the right flank from Gilles De Bilde prefacing an Andy Booth shot, which Jussi Jaaskelainen just managed to palm to safety.

The best of the many opportunities, however, in this thrilling period, fell to Bolton's Eidur Gudjohnsen, a one-time strike partner of Ronaldo. Des Walker, who looked eminently beatable, slipped but the Icelander, with more time than he realised, curled his shot over the bar. Andy Booth looked for all the world like he would break the deadlock late in the half, diving well to head just wide from Wim Jonk's pinpoint cross.

While the pace dipped after the break, the mistakes - perhaps weather-induced - continued. The flight of the ball was unpredictable and the Wednesday backline was at sixes and sevens when Hansey Aljofree's deep cross was headed across goal by Gudjohnsen for Robbie Elliott, a half-time substitute, to head in from close range.

This prompted an immediate reaction from Wednesday's beleaguered manager, Danny Wilson, who switched formation to a more aggressive 3-4-1-2 and introduced the talents of Emerson Thome, to replace the struggling Walker, and Danny Sonner to add fire from midfield.

The ploy almost returned instant dividends, Booth rising well only to see his header flash wide, but gaps at the back were inevitable and Gudjohnsen should have converted when only Pressman stood in his way. With just 10 minutes remaining, Petter Rudi flopped like overcooked cabbage under the daintiest of touches by Aljofree, and it looked as though Wilson's gung-ho approach might reap a reward after all, but De Bilde's tame penalty was gathered with considerable ease by Jaaskelainen dropping to his right. In the dying seconds, Elliott had the chance to settle the frayed nerves created by a late Wednesday onslaught, but his delicate chip over Pressman hit the post.

Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; O'Kane (Holden, 78), Bergsson (Elliott, h-t), Fish, Whitlow; Johansen, Jensen, Aljofree, Gardner; Hansen (Taylor, 62), Gudjohnsen. Substitutes not used: Passi, Banks.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Pressman; Nolan, Atherton, Walker (McKeever, 57) Hinchcliffe; Sibon (Sonner, 57), Alexandersson, Jonk, Rudi; De Bilde, Booth. Substitutes not used: Srnicek (gk)Thome, Cresswell.

Referee: K Lynch (York).

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