Football / Coca-Cola Cup: Narrow escape for Francis

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The Independent Online
Sheffield Wednesday . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Bradford City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

TREVOR FRANCIS and his team both had narrow escapes from unnerving situations last night as Sheffield Wednesday came from behind in their Coca-Cola Cup second round, first leg to win at Hillsborough for the first time this season. Francis was attacked in his car by a gang of 40 Bradford City supporters as he approached the ground before the game and his Mercedes was left badly dented.

The Wednesday manager, more used this season to being under attack from his own, was able to make light of it afterwards. 'It was an unsettling experience,' he said, 'but I was just relieved that it was Bradford rather than Sheffield Wednesday supporters.'

Wednesday fans have been kicking up lately and for much of last night's tie it looked as though they were about to be presented with further reasons to do so. Although Wednesday had made and missed the bulk of the chances, Bradford were adept at supporting their one full-time attacker and it was not entirely unexpected when their former Wednesday player, Carl Shutt, snatched a 69th-minute lead for them with a header from Paul Jewell's long cross.

The enforced half-time substitution of their new Swede, Klas Ingesson, with a pulled stomach muscle proved the key to recovery for Wednesday.

His replacement, Ian Taylor, equalised less than two minutes after Shutt's opener, tucking a low, angled shot into Paul Tomlinson's far corner.

With nine minutes to go, a cross whipped in by Dan Petrescu, whose work down the right was full of the fitful promise of better things than the start, was stabbed home by Graham Hyde.

Wednesday, despite their obvious credentials as a potentially embarrassed Premiership side, had escaped from their first leg with nothing worse than superficial damage to their bodywork, but they could still face a serious test of their roadworthiness at Valley Parade.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Pressman; Petrescu, Atherton, Pearce, Nolan; Bart- Williams, Sheridan, Hyde, Ingesson (I Taylor, h/t); Hirst, Bright (Watson, 64). Substitute not used: Key (gk).

Bradford City (4-5-1): Tomlinson; Liburd, Kamara, Richards, Jacobs; J Taylor, Duxbury, Benn, Murray, Shutt; Jewell (Power, 80). Substitutes not used: Bowling (gk), Tolson.

Referee: T Holbrook (Wolverhampton).

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