Euell takes high ground

Wimbledon 2 Euell 1, 50 Sheffield Wednesday 1 Di Canio 84 Attendance:13,163
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The Independent Online
WIMBLEDON TOOK the field yesterday to the strains of Mission Impossible. One wonders why. Sheffield Wednesday hardly had an invincible reputation.

That became apparent after just 49 seconds when Jason Euell scored the first of his two goals, a fierce right-foot shot from 25 yards after Wednesday failed to clear a throw in.

In an atmosphere that was lifeless even by Wimbledon's standards (there were barely 100 spectators an hour before kick-off), the mighty Dons, as they were described somewhat optimistically by the announcer, were good value for victory. One may not like their style or their limited support but they certainly posed problems for Danny Wilson's team. Euell scored his second five minutes after half-time, finishing off a typical Wimbledon move: long kick downfield by Neil Sullivan, the ball helped on by Carl Leaburn and Marcus Gayle, and Euell in the right place to fire home, this time with his left foot.

By the end, Euell could have had a hat-trick, Wimbledon could have doubled their score and Wednesday could have gone home a lot more humiliated. The Yorkshiremen, dazzling on their last visit to London when a 3-0 win at White Hart Lane helped condemn Christian Gross to an early departure from English football, showed none of their excellent movement off the ball of that day. Only after the half-time substitute Paolo Di Canio pulled a goal back five minutes from the end did Wednesday show any urgency.

Wednesday have now lost three of their last four matches while Wimbledon have moved up to fourth, just behind Liverpool on goal difference after their best Premiership start under Joe Kinnear.

The Wednesday manager was adamant his team had improved on the Cambridge debacle. "Your game-plan goes out of the window when you concede a goal so early," Wilson said. "After that it was very difficult. Wimbledon do not play through your midfield, they play over it. That's no disrespect to them. Everyone finds it difficult to defend against them at Selhurst Park. They play to a system and are fantastic at it."

Wilson emphatically denied he was prepared to sell Di Canio and Carbone, describing such reports as "skulduggery".