Football: Defiant Di Canio

Wimbledon 1 Euell 17 Sheffield Wednesday 1 Di Canio 75 Attendance : 11,503
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The Independent Online
It Was hardly a touch of Continental class but Paolo di Canio's effective intervention in a goalmouth scramble earned Sheffield Wednesday a draw that will have left Wimbledon cursing their inability to convert spells of superiority into goals.

They had only Jason Euell's 17th-minute header to show for first-half dominance and after Wednesday's equaliser, in the 74th minute, their substitutes Efan Ekoku and Andy Clarke squandered three good chances. Clarke twice fired wide, while Ekoku shot straight at Kevin Pressman in the Wednesday goal when clean through.

It was Wimbledon's hustle and bustle that initially held sway over Wednesday's neater footwork, and the tall Euell was a constant threat. He had one shot blocked near the line, tested Pressman with a full- blooded drive and had a first-time shot blocked, all before putting the home side ahead. Vinnie Jones pushed the ball out to Neil Ardley on the right and from the cross Euell rose above the Wednesday defence to steer an angled header into the far corner of the net.

Marcus Gayle shot inches over the top with only Pressman to beat four minutes from half-time, while Wednesday's only chance of the half came when di Canio's fellow Italian Benito Carbone was stopped from breaking through by a superb tackle from Chris Perry.

Dean Holdsworth's flick with the outside of his foot immediately after the re-start rolled past the post and that woke up Wednesday. Their strategy largely consisted of knocking high balls into the Wimbledon area and hitting long shots, but the ploy paid off 16 minutes from time when, after a goal- mouth scramble in which Graham Hyde and Mark Pembridge had shots blocked, di Canio forced the ball home from close range.

After that the Dons shunned the chance of securing their first win of the season, Wednesday were in no mood to chase theirs.

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