Football: Gynn distils Wednesday's woe

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The Independent Online
Coventry City. . . . . .1

Sheffield Wednesday. . .0

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY'S run of 16 unbeaten matches came to an end at Highfield Road last night when Coventry City leap-frogged back up the Premier League, leaving Wednesday to consider whether their season has simply become too demanding.

Wednesday's battles on two cup fronts and their fight to win a place in Europe are being made all the more demanding by their growing list of absentees. The question, though, is whether they have the will to get involved in the end-of-season skirmishes when they would prefer to do things with some style.

Last Saturday saw the end of any hope of their doing more than mend and make do. Peter Shirtliff broke his arm against Liverpool, Nigel Worthington got sent off and last night they had an injury list that included Nigel Pearson, Danny Wilson, John Harkes, Roland Nilsson and David Hirst. Chris Bart-Williams is now on junior England business, leaving Chris Waddle to keep on questioning why he is not still one of England's most senior internationals.

Meanwhile, Coventry had attracted Brian Clough to the market place and sold him Robert Rosario when what he was actually looking for was a reliable goalscorer. Coventry's early surge is turning into a late purge to keep the bank manager at bay, but it was Wednesday's weaknesses that immediately saw them back on their heels.

After only 13 seconds Mick Quinn's back header from Brian Borrows's cross was firmly struck by Peter Ndlovu and Chris Woods just managed to touch the ball round the post. Ndlovu continues to surprise his opponents with the precision of his first touch and the subtlety of his second. Here only Waddle was his equal in ball control but he was forced to spend too much time trying to answer the thrusts of his younger counterpart.

Having failed by the width of Woods's hand at the start, Coventry finally achieved compensation with seconds left of the first half. John Williams' run across the edge of the penalty area culminated in a penetrating pass through to Micky Gynn, who darted through a gap, and this time Woods was in no position to stop the shot.

Waddle's time came in the second half when he dispatched gorgeous, inviting passes which greatly increased Wednesday's involvement but forever seemed destined to founder on the bulk of Steve Ogrizovic.

Coventry City: Ogrizovic; Borrows, Babb, Atherton, Pearce, Williams, Ndlovu, Gynn, McGrath, Quinn, Robson. Substitutes not used: Busst, Flynn, Gould (gk).

Sheffield Wednesday: Woods; King, Worthington, Palmer, Jones (Jemson, 86), Anderson, Hyde (Watts, 86), Waddle, Warhurst, Bright, Sheridan. Substitute not used: Pressman (gk).

Referee: K Cooper (Pontypridd).