Sheffield Wednesday. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
HAVING achieved the not inconsiderable task of beating Wimbledon in London in the Coca-Cola Cup, Wednesday enhanced their reputation as knock-out specialists for the second time in eight days by overcoming Nottingham Forest at the City Ground last night.
Apart from their two Wembley finals against Arsenal, Wednesday have not lost a domestic cup tie in 15 months. Ravaged by injuries, they looked vulnerable to an upset against a First Division side unbeaten in 14 matches. But, after surviving a first half of almost incessant pressure, they scored twice in the opening 10 minutes of the second period to pull the rug from under their opponents' feet.
Forest might have rued the absence of Stan Collymore, their injured leading scorer, and of Lars Bohinen, the Norwegian midfielder who is on internatonal duty.
But then Wednesday's roll-call of absentees renders everyone else's problems insignificant by comparison. Still without David Hirst and Chris Waddle, their side contained only Mark Bright and Carlton Palmer from last year's FA Cup final starting line-up.
'The young players out there are crying out for a rest but they showed resilience and determination,' Trevor Francis, their manager, said. 'They did not want to go out of the competition.'
Francis felt his team had been 'all over the place' as Forest rapidly took the upper hand but Clark's insistence that Wednesday's superior defending had been the crucial factor was justified. Forest were not allowed to test Kevin Pressman except on one occasion when Ian Woan found the goalkeeper as alert as he had been at Hillsborough.
But Wednesday pressed forward with greater commitment in the second half and soon found Forest to be deficient against set pieces. On 47 minutes, after a free-kick by Andy Sinton was not cleared, Andy Pearce stole in on a blind-side run to shoot past Mark Crossley.
Eight minutes later, from a similar angle to the right of the goal, Chris Bart-Williams met another Sinton free-kick with a volley that effectively knocked the stuffing out of Forest.
Nottingham Forest (4-1-4-1): Crossley; Lyttle, Cooper, Chettle, Pearce; Phillips; Black (Bull, 64), Webb, Stone (Crosby, 72), Woan; Glover. Substitute not used: Wright (gk).
Sheffield Wednesday (3-5-2): Pressman; D Linighan, Pearce, Walker; Palmer, Hyde, Bart-Williams, Jones, Sinton; Watson (Jemson, 72), Bright. Substitutes not used: Poric, Woods (gk).
Referee: M Reed (Birmingham).