Football: Alas, Porfirio, too late

Nottingham Forest 2 (Porfirio 14, Rogers 16) Sheffield Wednesday 0: Half-time: 2-0 Attendance: 20,480
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The Independent Online
TOO LATE to save themselves or persuade Ron Atkinson to postpone his retirement, doomed Forest stung Wednesday with two quick goals and then withstood such a recovery as the Yorkshire side could muster to record their first Premiership win on home soil since Coventry lost here on the second Saturday of the season.

Danny Wilson's team recovered from their red-faced opening to control the game in the second half but failed to dent the home side's advantage, even when awarded a penalty early in the second half.

After winning only one match in the last 10, Wednesday had been accused - mischievously - of putting fair play before commitment, mindful that the side with least bookings in the Premiership might sneak into the Uefa Cup as a result. Their manager has strongly rejected the charge, but it made Wednesday's start to this match all the more embarrassing. After 18 minutes of tentative football against their already-relegated opponents, they were 2-0 down.

The second goal was unfortunate, a shot by Alan Rogers taking such an enormous deflection off the boot of the defender Emerson Thome, but there was no excuse about the first, Petter Rudi giving possession away in midfield to Hugo Porfirio, who advanced towards the edge of the Wednesday penalty area without impediment and then slotted a left-foot shot from 20 yards neatly to Srnicek's left.

The little Portuguese winger blew kisses to the crowd, which seemed an extravagant reaction except that the former West Ham player, loaned from Benfica in January, was making his first start in a Forest shirt.

Porfirio had set up Marlon Harewood with a chance in the first minute that flashed into the side netting. This set the tone. Wednesday, who made a double substitution after only 31 minutes, were pathetic, although Rudi, one of the players taken off, had created an excellent chance just before his departure, only to be thwarted by the goalkeeper Mark Crossley.

Ten minutes into the second half, Carlton Palmer's trip on Danny Sonner offered his former team-mates another route back into the match but even that was spurned. After Palmer had finished complaining about a perceived injustice, Benito Carbone aimed his penalty towards the bottom right-hand corner but Crossley sprang to his left to pull off a fine save. After that, Wednesday produced some decent football, with Wim Jonk pulling the strings in midfield, but they failed to cause Crossley significant problems.

The arrival of Pierre van Hooijdonk in place of Porfirio with 23 minutes left was roundly booed by the City Ground's smallest crowd this season, although it was clear the little man was tired.