Football: Dons lift the gloom

Sheffield Wednesday 0 Wimbledon 1 Reeves 63 Attendance: 20,395
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SO LITTLE happened at Hillsborough yesterday that there was never the remotest cause for Joe Kinnear to berate the performance of the referee. This was a pity, for what the match desperately required was either a spark of ingenuity or a touch of controversy. Without encouraging the baiting of officials, an intervention by the Wimbledon manager would at least have ended the mundanity of it all.

His side won but the proceedings were a pretty poor advertisement for three-man defences and five-men midfields. Both sides began with this formation, which always sounds likely to be entertaining but depends on more midfield zest than is often available.

It was clear after an initial breezy burst that the chances of anything even slightly fascinating were minimal, and that it would almost certainly have to be provided by Chris Waddle. Wednesday were reliant on him, almost lazily so, but after a delicately judged left-foot shot which struck the bar in the 28th minute his influence diminished as the match waned.

This was not all Wednesday's fault. With so many packing the centre circle and the area immediately behind it, Wimbledon might have been more adventurous but that is not their way. They absorbed and occasionally counter-attacked, most effectively through Warren Barton, though never in numbers and not with much conviction.

They scored in the 63rd minute and if the goal was not against the run of play it was hardly with it. It followed their first corner of the match, which Wednesday failed to clear properly. The ball eventually arrived at Barton and his cross got through to Alan Reeves, who obliged from 10 yards. This spurred Wednesday, but not much.

Andy Sinton missed by inches after a thrusting run and Michael Williams blazed over from 25 yards, but these opportunities merely begged the question of the whereabouts of Wednesday's supposed strike force.

Wimbledon reverted to 4-4-2 and were never likely to yield the lead. Nobody shone for them, nobody let them down. It was Wednesday's lowest crowd of the season. It may not remain so.