Blackburn reminded of gap in attack

Sheffield Wednesday 1 Blackburn Rovers 1
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The Independent Online
Benito Carbone's number was up after 71 minutes at Hillsborough on Saturday. The man who had no qualms about assuming Chris Waddle's No 8 shirt, having come in at No 10 for Diego Maradonna at Napoli and for Dennis Bergkamp at Internazionale, was replaced himself before the end of his first match as Sheffield Wednesday's record signing.

Blackburn are still waiting for a No 9 to turn up. The gap in their squad list is a lingering reminder that their 30-a-season goals-machine has gone, and that the pounds 15m which bought him remains unspent.

That they left South Yorkshire celebrating their sixth goal of the Premiership season, 10 weeks into the campaign, told how times have changed for the champions of 1995. That it lifted a drought of five hours and 12 minutes confirmed how badly they have been cut up since being shorn of their Shearer.

"A lot has to do with Alan Shearer leaving," Lars Bohinen acknowledged, going against the Ewood Park party line. "We are still suffering. We are still struggling for our plan too."

For an hour on Saturday there was no discernible plan. Bereft of confidence and composure in all departments, Blackburn fell behind to Andy Booth's thirdminute goal and would have been buried by a Wednesday without a win in eight matches had Tim Flowers not played the saviour role.

Yorgos Donis injected pace and self-belief when he was called into action and then, with 17 minutes left, Bohinen, the other half of Ray Harford's international rescue party, shot the equaliser with his first touch. "Goals and points can change things," Blackburn's beleaguered manager mused. Unfortunately for Ray and his Rovers, the point won on Saturday was only their fourth; Berwick Rangers are the only club on English soil with an equally meagre return.

Blackburn remain the only team in England or Scotland without a victory and, with the Premiership safety zone already five points beyond their grasp, they need to pick up the winning habit quickly. Despite the transformation in the last half-hour on Saturday, and more encouraging signs from Chris Sutton, they also need to pick up a new No 9.

As for Wednesday's new No 8, in the words of David Pleat, he "didn't raise the roof''. If he had, the boy Benito might have felt a little more at home. Italy's capital has its celebrated seven hills. So, of course, does the main city of the republic of South Yorkshire.

Goals: Booth (3) 1-0; Bohinen (73) 1-1.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Pressman; Atherton, Newsome, Walker, Nolan; Carbone (Humphreys, 71), Trustfull (Pembridge, 77), Hyde, Blinker; Hirst (Whittingham, 88), Booth. Substitutes not used: Nicol, Clarke (gk).

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Flowers; Kenna, Pearce, Berg, Croft; Ripley (Donis, 61), Sherwood, Flitcroft, Wilcox (Bohinen, 71); Gallacher, Sutton. Substitutes not used: Marker, McKinlay, Given (gk).

Referee: P Danson (Leicester).

Booking: Sheffield Wednesday: Trustfull.

Man of the match: Flowers. Attendance: 22,191.