Football: Hirst hits Forest

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The Independent Online
Sheffield Wednesday. . . .2

Nottingham Forest. . . . .0

A MATCH in which points for artistic merit were more easily come by than scoring chances was won by two superb goals by David Hirst last night, which should do his chances of an England recall no harm.

With Des Walker departed and Carl Tiler injured, the centre of Forest's defence looked fragile, and as Wednesday's manager, Trevor Francis, said, Hirst could easily have had a hat-trick.

The first goal, after 15 minutes, was made when Danny Wilson cleverly dummied Nigel Worthington's cross, leaving Hirst in space to drive home from 20 yards. The second - a fair reflection of Wednesday's greater ability to generate chances from the flowing football played by both sides - came from a free-kick 12 minutes from the end. Chris Bart- Williams rolled the ball into his path and the striker drove it low and true from 30 yards.

Despite the absence of their main creative forces, John Sheridan and Chris Waddle, Wednesday's matched Forest pass for pass, and their greater willingness to give the ball air and use the flanks put them on top after an early Forest flurry. Brian Clough's side, not for the first time, were victims of their own over-elaboration, their moves breaking down on the umpteenth pass well before they saw the whites of Chris Woods's eyes. His flying first-half save from Gary Crosby was one of the few interventions he had to make and poor Teddy Sheringham hardly got a kick.

Wednesday, no kick-and-rush merchants themselves, nevertheless sought a more direct route to goal. That, coupled with unflagging hard work - not least from Hirst's striking partner, Paul Williams, who was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself - made all the difference in the end.

Sheffield Wednesday: Woods; Nilsson, King (Harkes, 78), Palmer, Pearson, Warhurst, Wilson, Bart-Williams, Hirst, Williams, Worthington. Substitutes not used: Francis, Pressman (gk).

Nottingham Forest: Crossley; Laws, Pearce, Wilson, Chettle, Keane, Crosby, Gemmill, Clough, Sheringham, Woan. Substitutes not used: Black, Marriott (gk), Bannister.

Referee: P Don (Middlesex).