Football: Kinnear respects young Dons

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The Independent Online
Sheffield Wednesday 1 Wimbledon 1

Joe Kinnear praised the young players who helped Wimbledon to a 1-1 draw against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough - and then indicated he is about to get involved in the transfer market. The manager, without nine first team players - eight through injury and Vinnie Jones suspended - fielded a starting 11 which included seven home-grown players.

They helped dig the Dons out of a hole after they went behind in the 10th minute through a bizarre Mark Pembridge strike. Michael Hughes levelled for Wimbledon in the 21st minute, and the woodwork saved Kinnear's side three times in the second half.

But the visitors held on. Kinnear said: "It was another very gutsy performance. We were down to the bare bones so I cannot take anything away from the kids - they did the club proud."

He is hoping to sign the Port Vale striker Gareth Ainsworth and Norwich winger Darren Eadie this week.

For Wednesday, the game took its toll as Niclas Alexandersson could face a lengthy spell on the sidelines after being taken off on a stretcher in the 38th minute. Alexandersson had earlier been involved in a fourth- minute collision with Neil Sullivan which led to the Wimbledon goalkeeper requiring eight stitches in his chin.

The pounds 750,000 signing from IFK Gothenburg, who had only just returned to the side after missing last Monday's FA Cup fourth-round defeat against Blackburn with an ankle injury, damaged his left knee after being strongly challenged by Stewart Castledine. The Swede will now undergo a scan on the knee today.

Andy Hinchcliffe made his debut for Wednesday following his pounds 3m move from Everton, while the Austrian striker Christian Mayrleb, on loan until the end of the season from FC Tirol, also made his first appearance. Mayrleb looked full of running after replacing Benito Carbone with 15 minutes left.

Goals: Pembridge (14) 1-0; Hughes (21) 1-1.

Sheffield Wednesday: Pressman; Atherton, Nolan, Pembridge, Newsome, Walker, Carbone (Mayrleb, 74), Booth, Hinchcliffe, Rudi, Alexandersson (Whittingham, 37). Substitutes not used: Clarke, Humphreys, Magilton. Wimbledon: Sullivan; Cunningham, Kimble, Blackwell, Perry, Hughes, Ardley, Castledine, Euell (Gayle, 87), Fear, Leaburn. Substitutes not used: Solbakken, Heald, Reeves, Clarke. Referee: A B Wilkie (Chester-le-Street).

Bookings: Sheffield Wednesday: Whittingham. Wimbledon: Kimble, Blackwell, Fear.

Attendance: 22,655.