Football: Pressman in a pickle

Sheffield Wednesday 0 Cambridge United 1
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The Independent Online
ROY McFARLAND, the former Derby and Bolton manager, enjoyed his finest moment since taking charge at Cambridge two years ago as the Third Division side pulled off a famous victory in the Worthington Cup at Hillsborough, courtesy of an extraordinary blunder by Kevin Pressman, the Wednesday goalkeeper.

Finding themselves ahead within the first five minutes, Cambridge United defended with splendid resolution, leaving the Owls with a tricky task if they are to progress beyond next Wednesday 's return leg at the Abbey Stadium.

Wednesday took the occasion seriously enough, fielding a full strength Premiership line-up, but any thoughts that they might be in for an easy night vanished in the fourth minute.

This was how long it took for the accident-prone Pressman to hand Cambridge what proved to be a gift-wrapped winning goal in one of those nightmare moments every goalkeeper dreads, or at least has done since the revision of the back-pass rule.

Juan Cobian played the ball back to Pressman, whose efforts to clear with his favoured left foot allowed Trevor Benjamin, the 19-year-old Cambridge forward, to be on him in a flash. He whipped away the ball and ran it into an unguarded net, much to the delight of the noisy Cambridge contingent in a sparse crowd of less than 9,000.

With something to defend, Cambridge pulled men behind the ball eagerly and heroically kept their opponents at bay, and Wednesday could not complain at a roasting from their manager Danny Wilson.

Cambridge worked tirelessly and earned some luck. Booth seemed sure to turn in Paolo di Canio's 57th-minute cross only for Jamie Campbell to get in the way. It was all deeply frustrating to Wilson, whose memories of Cambridge are not happy ones - he was a member of the Wednesday team beaten 4-0 at the Abbey Stadium in an FA Cup upset in 1991.

Wilson described Wednesday's performance as "bordering on total complacency" and accused some players of being self-indulgent.

"Too many of our players were playing for themselves and in games like this you only win by giving total commitment," he added.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Pressman; Cobian, Thome, Walker, Hinchcliffe; Di Canio, Atherton, Jonk, Rudi (Whittingham, 67); Booth (Sanetti, 67), Carbone. Substitutes not used: Clarke, Hyde, Barrett.

Cambridge United (4-4-2): Van Heusden; Chenery, Duncan, Joseph, Campbell; Taylor, Russell, Wanless, Mustoe; Butler, Benjamin. Substitutes not used: Preece, Marshall, Youngs, Wilde, McCammon.

Referee: T Heilbron (Newton Aycliffe).