Sheffield Wednesday. . . . . . .1
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY broke their season's duck, but they could not break down a 10-man Chelsea team. And neither will they have helped the crowd break much sweat as this was far from exhibition stuff. Chris Waddle and Glenn Hoddle topped the game's billing but both seemed far away from the Spurs days when defences would be terrorised by their ball skills and eardrums would be terrorised by their heinous attempts at pop music.
After four games without so much as troubling the scorers, it only took 12 minutes at Stamford Bridge for Wednesday to notch a goal. They should never have been allowed it though; Mark Bright, at the near post to collect Nigel Worthington's cross, was so unmarked that he was allowed a second attempt to beat Dimitri Kharin, the Chelsea goalkeeper.
The goal, however, did not herald a goal rush. This was partly down to some Chelsea rearranging - Mal Donaghy moving back for the injured Andy Myers, David Lee playing sweeper and Hoddle moving about three inches forward into a withdrawn midfield spot - which provided an effective six-man defence. From this platform, Chelsea built the occasional very telling attack which, if they continue, will lose Tony Cascarino his 'donkey' label and may even endear him to his home fans. The towering striker tested Chris Woods after a muscular break into the box and later he rattled the crossbar with a thumping volley. In between, Chelsea had equalised through a three-man move started and finished (through Woods' legs) by the excellent Lee.
Lee maintained his level of excellence all the way to the 73rd minute when it was early bath time. As he relaxed in the suds, he will probably have sworn loudly, but he ought to have reflected on the impetuosity which saw him boot away the ball at a Wednesday free-kick, which brought him his second booking and ruined an otherwise fine performance.
By this stage, though, the whistle-happy referee had largely lost control of the game. Bright was harshly booked and 10-man Chelsea were able to play out the stop- start, lousy final quarter without excessive trouble.
Chelsea (4-1-3-2): D Kharin; S Clarke, E Johnsen, J Kjeldbjerg, A Myers (D Lee, 8 min); G Hoddle; E Newton, M Donaghy, D Wise; G Peacock, T Cascarino (M Shipperley, 80 min). Sub not used: K Hitchcock (gk). Player-Manager: G Hoddle.
Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): C Woods; R Nilsson, D Walker, N Pearson, N Worthington; C Waddle, J Sheridan, G Hyde, A Sinton; M Bright, C Bart-Williams. Subs not used: B Linighan, K Pressman (gk), G Watson. Manager: T Francis.
Referee: K Morton (Bury St Edmunds).
Goals: Bright (0-1, 12 min); Lee (1-1, 34 min).Reuse content