Football: Easy prey for Owls

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The Independent Online
Sheffield Wednesday. .2

Tottenham Hotspur. . .0

AT A fog-shrouded Hillsborough yesterday, the season of mists should have proved more fruitful for Sheffield Wednesday than the scoreline suggests and Tottenham were lucky not to return from Yorkshire on the end of a similar drubbing to the 5-0 reverse they suffered at Leeds last month.

That Wednesday's superiority was not translated into the goals it warranted was due to a catalogue of missed chances. Nevertheless the victory lifted them seven places into the top half of the Premier League.

With his defence frequently swamped by the tide of attacks, the Tottenham goalkeeper Ian Walker also made a major contribution to the respectability of the result.

There was much to admire in Wednesday's impressive attack: the touch and vision of Chris Waddle; the precocious flair of Chris Bart-Williams; the energy and mobility of Gordon Watson; and the direct simplicity of Nigel Worthington's wing play. But, despite Mark Bright's ability to find scoring positions, they still missed the predatory instincts of the injured David Hirst.

It was difficult to find much to admire about the visitors. Their defending was lamentable and their infrequent attacks over-elaborate. It was not until 10 minutes from the end that they remotely looked like scoring when Teddy Sheringham hit the bar.

Wednesday, on the other hand, struck early. Walker had already saved at point-blank range from Watson when John Harkes's cross was helped on by Watson to Bright. Although he scuffed his first shot, Bright still had time to recover and score his first League goal for the club, since moving from Crystal Palace, after six minutes.

Dean Austin's failure to pick up Worthington on the left flank enabled Wednesday to create a string of chances, yet it took a set- piece to consolidate their lead on the half hour, Viv Anderson heading home Waddle's corner.

Whatever Doug Livermore said at half-time made a brief impact as Tottenham pushed forward in numbers and Andy Turner took a leaf out of Worthington's book to raid down the left.

But soon the Owls were in free flight again. Bright, Watson and Bart-Williams were queuing up for shots, which either went straight at Walker or were off target when scoring would have been simpler. In the dying seconds Walker scooped Watson's diving header off the line with the best save of the game.

Sheffield Wednesday: Woods; Harkes, Worthington, Palmer, Shirtliff, Anderson, Nilsson (Wilson, 76), Waddle, Bright, Bart-Williams, G Watson. Substitutes not used: Pressman (gk), Jemson.

Tottenham Hotspur: Walker; Austin (Edinburgh, 68), Van Den Hauwe, Turner (K Watson, 68), Cundy, Tuttle, Sedgley, Barnby, Anderton, Sheringham, Allen. Substitute not used: Thorstvedt (gk).

Referee: M Peck (Kendal).

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