Coventry City 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1: McSheffrey turns on the style to clip Owls' wings

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Coventry bounced back from a 4-0 defeat at Watford at the weekend to refocus on their goal of a top 10 finish to a season that began so badly they were labelled as relegation candidates for much of the autumn.

Goals by Stern John and Gary McSheffrey reinforced their impressive record at the new Ricoh Arena, where they have not lost in nine Championship games since early November. Wednesday hit back through the substitute Chris Brunt's blistering free-kick but a third defeat in five games leaves them one place above the bottom three.

Wednesday lacked an edge in front of goal and their manager, Paul Sturrock, put that down to a lack of team effort: "In all my years as a manager, I have never seen anything like this and I thought I'd seen it all in football. We can't just blame the strikers - the midfield and defenders have to contribute as well because scoring is a team game."

Coventry always looked likely to gain the upper hand, with Dennis Wise at the heart of their better moments. Only a fingertip save from the Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Adamson denied the former Chelsea captain from a free-kick.

Moments earlier, the home crowd - and manager Micky Adams - thought Coventry should have had a penalty for a foul by Drissa Diallo on Dele Adebola. The referee, Rob Styles, disagreed but Coventry were undaunted.

The breakthrough came moments before the interval as Wise delivered a low free-kick from the left and John turned the ball past Adamson for his sixth goal of the season.

Wednesday almost poached an equaliser at the start of the second half when a well-weighted ball from MacLean set up Brunt, who had replaced the injured Diallo, but the Coventry goalkeeper Marton Fulop saved with his legs.

The second half was more evenly balanced, but Wednesday were caught cold as Gary McSheffrey made a diagonal run to meet a quickly taken Wise free-kick after 76 minutes, the midfielder flicking the ball past Adamson to double Coventry's lead.

There seemed no way back for Wednesday, but Brunt came up with a stunning response, scoring with a scorching free-kick three minutes later to set up a tense finale.

The scrappy nature of the victory left Adams under no illusions about the work his side still needs, "We are not kidding ourselves that this was a good performance as both sides had lots of chances," he said.

Coventry City (4-4-2): Fulop; Heath, Williams, Page, Whing; Morrell (Jorgensen, 75), Wise, Doyle, McSheffrey; Adebola, John (Hutchison, 84). Substitutes not used: Ince (gk), Thornton, Lynch.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Adamson; Simek, Diallo (Brunt, 36), Coughlan, Gilbert; Bullen, Whelan, Folly (Partridge, 74), O'Brien; MacLean, Corr (Best, 56). Substitutes not used: Kirby (gk), Tudgay.

Referee: R Styles (Hampshire).