Football: Pressman's penalty skills save Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday 0 Watford 0 aet; Wednesday win 5-3 on pens
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The Independent Online
When Ron Atkinson arrived at Hillsborough he spoke of having to play 25 cup finals. The Sheffield Wednesday manager might yet figure in the biggest one of the lot next May - but his side made the heaviest of weather of beating Second Division Watford in their FA Cup third-round replay last night.

It required extra time and penalties before the Premiership side finally managed to escape the clutches of Graham Taylor's team and earn a home tie against Blackburn on 26 January. Their match-winner proved to be Kevin Pressman who saved Micah Hyde's penalty - Watford's second - and then thumped in Wednesday's fifth.

The main drama before then had come in the 26th minute, when Wednesday's Paolo Di Canio was sent off for a double dose of dissent. Watford did not manage a shot on target in normal time and it was not until the 94th minute before they suggested real threat, when Jason Lee scooped a volley against the bar.

All the late heroics need not have been necessary because Wednesday, who had their manager drooling with their performance against Newcastle, took up where they left off on Saturday. Andy Booth's header looped just over after nine minutes, Di Canio could not quite lower his sights enough when Tommy Mooney's back-header bounced short but too high for a proper shot. It was all too comfortable: Hillsborough sat back to await a home win.

Then, after 25 minutes, Di Canio was dismissed. In an argument over a throw-in, the Italian protested sufficiently to get a yellow card and then threw the rattle out of the pram with such velocity he turned the colour to red.

Sense had deserted Di Canio and Wednesday's luck went the same way after 31 minutes. Even with 10 men the home team were the better side and they came as close as they could to opening the scoring when Graham Hyde's 25-yard shot beat Chamberlain and hit the post, and Booth's follow-up rebounded off the bar. Watford had made virtually no attacking impression in the first half and the second was no better. They showed hardly any until extra time.

Lee hit the bar and after 95 minutes the former Nottingham Forest striker outpaced Des Walker on the right, shot low towards the near post and was thwarted only by Pressman's swift thrust with his left arm.

The Wednesday goalkeeper had saved his team-mates then and did the same in the shoot-out. Watford's Hyde hit his penalty firmly to the right but Pressman guessed the direction and managed to get some part of his body to block it. With the score at 4-3, Pressman had the chance to seal the tie, which he duly did with a fierce shot into the roof of the net.

Unsatisfactory, unfair - but Wednesday were through thanks to the penalty clause.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Pressman; Nolan, Newsome, Walker (Humphreys, 98), Pembridge; Alexandersson (Oakes, 117), Atherton, G Hyde, Rudi; Di Canio, Booth. Substitutes not used: Whittingham, Magilton, Clarke (gk).

Watford (3-5-2): Chamberlain; Palmer, Millen, Mooney; Gibbs, M Hyde, Johnson, Kennedy, Robinson; Noel-Williams (Thomas, 90), Lee. Substitutes not used: Easton, Lowndes, Ward, Day (gk).

Referee: G Willard (Worthing).

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