Sheffield Wednesday. .2
VIV ANDERSON, a defender who has always scored crucial goals, and Paul Warhurst, the latest version of stopper turned match-winner, gave Sheffield Wednesday a Premier League record of a seventh consecutive victory at Maine Road last night.
Niall Quinn, City's lanky centre-forward, tested Wednesday's nerve with a goal six minutes from the end, but Trevor Francis's side were worthy of this latest landmark and a run of 15 games unbeaten in all competitions.
Michael Quigley, a tenacious midfield player starting a League match for the first time, introduced himself to Chris Waddle in the most robust manner. England's would-be prodigal son then found Keith Curle, City's centre- half and captain, similarly uncompromising.
As an attacking force, City were more subdued, Garry Flitcroft offering the first menacing intent with a half-volley hurled into Chris Woods's midriff. However, Warhurst, the pounds 10,000 Maine Road reject-turned-Wednesday goalscorer, soon found the space to test his pace against Curle and his low cross left Michel Vonk with no alternative but to clear from under Tony Coton's nose.
No City defender was close to challenging Peter Shirtliff from John Sheridan's subsequent centre, but the header cleared Coton's bar.
City replied by way of David White's volley, but Wednesday finished the half the stronger. Anderson, substituting for Danny Wilson, who was carried off with a cracked rib after a vain tackle on Flitcroft, gave Coton the opportunity to produce a desperately needed save, and Warhurst lifted his shot on the run high into the stand. Wilson was taken to hospital and was later joined by Woods - who also had X-rays, on his finger.
Vonk, adding muscle to City's attack from set plays, brought Woods to an important goal-line save from Flitcroft's corner. Warhurst might have exercised Coton's reflexes, but for once he looked every inch a displaced defender, managing only an air shot with City hopelessly stretched at the back.
Quinn, City's Republic of Ireland striker, connected too firmly with Shirtliff for the liking of the referee, Martin Bodenham, and was punished with a booking. White delivered a more acceptable strike, seizing on to a gratuitous ricochet, but giving his shot rather too much elevation.
City's aerial assaults raised hopes again after 65 minutes, when Quinn, under pressure from Anderson, attempted to meet Andy Hill's centre. Neither head connected, but it appeared Anderson's arm did. Vehement penalty appeals left the man in green unmoved.
Wednesday were similarly unruffled and took the lead after 72 minutes. Sheridan turned Waddle's corner goalwards and Anderson, as he has done so often in the past, applied the crucial final touch.
Waddle's perception sprung City's offside trap in the 82nd minute and Mark Bright, restored to Wednesday's team as a second- half substitute, set up a simple opportunity for Warhurst to score his ninth goal in seven matches. Two minutes later, Quinn pulled one back for City when he headed in from Mike Sheron's cross.
Manchester City: Coton; Ranson, Hill, Quigley, Curle, Vonk, White, Sheron, Quinn, Flitcroft, Mike (D Brightwell, 78). Substitutes not used: Ingebrigtsen, Dibble (gk).
Sheffield Wednesday: Woods; Nilsson, Worthington, Palmer, Harkes, Shirtliff, Wilson (Anderson, 44), Waddle, Warhurst, Bart-Williams (Bright, 70), Sheridan. Substitute not used: Pressman (gk).
Referee: M Bodenham (Looe).