Sheffield Wednesday. . .1
THE Chelsea player-manager, Glenn Hoddle, says that winning the FA Cup is '50 per cent about believing you're going to get to Wembley'. If that is true then Sheffield Wednesday should be certainties to return to the Twin Towers in May.
It was not hard to see why no team, apart from Arsenal in the finals, have managed to defeat Wednesday in a Cup tie for two years. Despite missing five players through injury - including Waddle, Sinton and Bright - Wednesday secured a fourth-round replay with the kind of conviction which Hoddle is trying so hard to instil into his players.
The turning point came when David Hirst came on as a substitute for Ryan Jones after 59 minutes. The Wednesday striker had played only an hour of reserve-team football after four months out of the game following an Achilles tendon operation, yet his mere presence immediately unsettled Chelsea. Three minutes later Roland Nilsson sent over an awkward cross from the right, Gordon Watson took an ineffectual swing at it and Chelsea's distracted defence allowed Graham Hyde to knock the ball into the net.
Although Trevor Francis, the Wednesday manager, was unable, perhaps because of modesty, to explain the mystery of his side's Cup sorcery, Hirst's view was clear. He put it all down to plain old 'battling-back determination and strength in depth'. Certainly Francis has been delighted by the performances of players who might have considered themselves understudies and he singled out Hyde and Watson for special praise. Watson had to excel, however, since he had injured Mark Bright the previous week by jumping on him after his fellow striker had scored.
Chelsea can take heart from the fact that, as Hoddle said: 'We didn't play well, but we didn't get beat'. Also encouraging for them is the fact that their casualties - Hoddle, Newton and Wise - may be fit for the replay on 8 February. The Londoners had a few magical moments, too, notably when Steve Clarke broke from his own half and drove through the Wednesday defence in Roy-of-the-Rovers fashion before setting up Gavin Peacock for the opening goal.
Goals: Peacock (14) 1-0; Hyde (62) 1-1.
Chelsea (4-4-2): Kharin; Clarke, Sinclair, Johnsen, Myers; Burley, Spackman, Peacock, Hopkin; Shipperley (Spencer, 65), Stein. Substitutes not used: Donaghy, Hitchcock (gk).
Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Pressman; Nilsson, Pearce, Walker, Coleman; Bart-Williams, Hyde, Palmer, Jones (Hirst, 59); Watson, Jemson. Substitutes not used: Watts, Woods (gk).
Referee: R Hart (Darlington).Reuse content