Manchester City. . . .1
AT THIS rate, Sheffield Wednesday are on course for at least one Cup final and a place in Europe. Their draw at Hillsborough yesterday and their lowly place in the Premiership should, of course, fool nobody.
For the past two seasons they have started fitfully before assembling an assured mood, a series of results to match, and a surge up the table. They eventually deserved more than a point against Manchester City.
Throughout, Wednesday were the better side, and by the end they were much the better one. It is still only mid-September, and the Yorkshire club must have come to believe that the season should not start for at least another month. As it is, the result still leaves them awaiting their first home win.
On this evidence, City may have to wait somewhat longer for their first away victory. They took the lead on the stroke of half-time without ever having done enough - indeed having hardly done anything at all - to suggest they would, or should, do so.
City are at present Manchester's poor football relations, and whether they like it or not it continues to show every time they take the field. Well-organised they might be, but they are also lacking sparkle and were clearly content to steal a point here.
They took the lead when Paul Walsh was given rather more time than he should have been to control the ball in the six-yard box after Michel Vonk's downward header. It hit Walsh's knee and he had plenty of space in which to swing his foot, eventually firing the ball into the roof of the net.
The introduction of Klas Ingesson lent a new dimension to Wednesday's game in the second half. However, the problem was that his openings still had to be finished off, and Wednesday looked no more capable of doing that than they had before.
David Hirst is at least playing now after his injuries, but he is not yet the lethal centre-
forward he promised to be three years ago. He was stifled twice by the City goalkeeper Tony Coton, and it began to look as though even an equaliser might be elusive.
It was eventually scored by Gordon Watson, a spritely substitute who danced his way into the box, threaded the ball through Andy Hill's legs and then found it possible to weave it across Coton.
Watson, like Wednesday, apparently starts badly. Barely 12 minutes left and there was still time for a winner, but Sheffield probably remembered that they are not due to start winning for at least another month.