Football: Hillsborough suffers famine after the feast

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Sheffield Wednesday. . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Norwich City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

AFTER dining at the Premiership's top table when Jurgen Klinsmann and company laid on a seven-goal feast, Hillsborough had to stomach depressingly spartan fare last night. Sheffield Wednesday and Norwich took a point apiece, as they did a year ago, though there was never any prospect of their repeating the 3-3 scoreline.

Exactly what Klas Ingesson made of it all would have been intriguing to hear. The Swedish international midfielder, who Wednesday hoped to sign for pounds 2m from PSV Eindhoven, watched from the stand, and must have wondered what had become of the fabled action and atmosphere of English football.

Dan Petrescu, Wednesday's Romanian recruit, tried hard to enliven the rain-lashed proceedings. After 39 largely soporific minutes, he skipped round the Norwich captain, Jon Newsome, before curling a diagonal shot beyond Bryan Gunn. The ball rebounded into play off the underside of the bar, but Petrescu's appetite for drama was not satisfied.

Early in the second half, after being fouled by Ian Crook, he took a dive of the kind reputedly under Klinsmann's copyright and gestured to the referee to caution the offender. Mr Cooper awarded Wednesday a free-kick and flourished his yellow card at Petrescu.

Excitement of a more wholesome nature was at a premium. John Sheridan's long-range shooting almost broke the deadlock on two occasions, only to be denied by Newsome's goal-line clearance and Gunn's fingertips respectively, while a David Hirst drive passed across the face of Norwich's goal in the final minute.

Norwich had only a header by Ade Akinbiyi, which Kevin Pressman saved superbly, to show for some pretty but punchless attacks. Akinbiyi's reward was to be replaced by Mike Sheron, making his debut after a pounds 1m move from Manchester City; it was that kind of match.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Pressman; Atherton, Pearce, Walker, Nolan; Petrescu, Sheridan, Taylor (Bart-Williams, 27), Sinton; Bright (Watson, 61), Hirst. Substitute not used: Key (gk).

Norwich City (4-4-2): Gunn; Bradshaw, Newsome, Polston, Bowen; Adams, Crook, Goss, Ulthorne; Akinbiyi (Sheron, h/t), Robins (Newman, 80). Substitute not used: Howie (gk).

Referee: K Cooper (Pontypridd).