Bristol City 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1: Johnson's prayers are answered as Adebola sinks Wednesday
Monday 11 February 2008
Dele Adebola believes his new club Bristol City are "no flash in the pan" and have what it takes to become a Premier League outfit even if he finds manager Gary Johnson's quirky motivational tactics a little off-beat.
Johnson asked the fans to give his side that little one per cent extra edge by lighting candles, saying prayers and carrying lucky charms before the Robins beat the Sheffield Wednesday Owls at Ashton Gate to remain third in the Championship on the same number of points as title favourites West Brom.
Adebola, who was signed from Coventry for £300,000 on transfer deadline day, watched his manager inspire the team by hailing a City fan called Ed Spear who had braved freezing conditions in Japan to seek out a Shinto shrine to hang a club pennant over a lighted candle in aid of the cause.
Johnson was given a lucky pair of silk royal blue boxer shorts from his mum with "Gary" on the front. "I'm not telling you if I wore them," he said after the game. "Needless to say I don't want to get run over on the way home."
Adebola, 32, is not a superstitious striker and did not need any lucky charm, only sublime skills to beat his marker to race clear and notch his first goal in his second game for the club with a competent seventh-minute strike.
He also was involved in the move that led to defender Bradley Orr rifling home a beauty to make it 2-0 on 56 minutes before Wednesday's captain Lee Bullen thundered in a dipping volley in time added on to give the visitors a consolation goal they barely deserved.
Adebola, a former Birmingham City player, said: "There was a lot going on in the dressing-room before kick-off to try and get us playing our best but I haven't done anything like this before. At Birmingham we had a sport psychiatrist telling us to win our battles but the gaffer here has taken it to another level.
"The moment I walked into the dressing-room there was a belief in there. There was no one hiding in corners talking themselves out of it saying things like 'I can't believe we are here'. What is happening is no flash in the pan, that's why I came here. Everyone believes they are going to get promoted, the confidence is sky high."
Confidence, conceded Brian Laws, the Wednesday manager, is exactly what is missing from his team as they sank into the relegation zone.
He said: "We need to freshen things up and I hope to get in a new striker this week. The problem is I have got to find someone who has the stomach to come to Sheffield Wednesday at this time with a battle on our hands."
Goals: Adebola (7) 1-0; Orr (56) 2-0; Bullen (90) 2-1.
Bristol City (4-4-1-1): Basso; Orr, Carey, McCombe, McAllister; Sproule, Johnson, Elliott, McIndoe; Carle (Trundle, 72 ); Adebola (Byfield, 58). Substitutes not used: Weale (gk), Fontaine.
Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Grant; Bullen, Hinds (Wood, 85 ), Beevers, Gilbert; O'Brien (McAllister, 45), Kavanagh, Bolder, Small; Tudgay (Boden, 82), Burton. Substitutes not used: Burch (gk), Wallwork.
Referee: R Shoebridge (Derbyshire).
Booked: Sheffield Wednesday Gilbert.
Man of the match: McIndoe.
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