Pressman exits early but Wolves lack bite

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The Independent Football

Paul Jewell recalls his previous visit to Molineux, when he guided Bradford City into the Premiership, as his best day in football. Yesterday's return trip began as if it would be the worst when his goalkeeper, Kevin Pressman, was dismissed in a British-record time of 12 seconds, but ended happily for the new Wednesday manager.

Paul Jewell recalls his previous visit to Molineux, when he guided Bradford City into the Premiership, as his best day in football. Yesterday's return trip began as if it would be the worst when his goalkeeper, Kevin Pressman, was dismissed in a British-record time of 12 seconds, but ended happily for the new Wednesday manager.

A late header by Andy Booth - goaded as "greedy" by Wolves' fans for rejecting a move during the summer - cancelled out the brutal effort with which Temuri Ketsbaia marked his First Division debut after a £900,000 switch from Newcastle.

Wednesday, by Jewell's admission, rode their luck yet were entitled to feel satisfied with a point after the trauma of relegation and their torrid start. "It was unbelievable, sort of 'Welcome to Sheffield Wednesday'," he said. "We had to change our game plan after 30 seconds. We weren't here to entertain after that, but to get a result."

Jewell added: "I told the lads at half-time that if we hung in there, we might nick something from a set-piece. That's what happened." His opposite number, Colin Lee, rued the absence of the striker he sold for £5m, Ade Akinbiyi, but has had a £1.6m offer accepted for Manchester City's Robert Taylor and is still hopeful of landing Saudi Arabia's Sami Al-Jabur.

Wednesday's woes began as soon as they kicked off. Only two of their players had touched the ball before it was seized upon by Kevin Muscat, who spotted Ketsbaia surging through the centre and launched a long, defence-splitting pass.

The Georgian outpaced Ashley Westwood, only for Pressman to hurtle out of his area and apparently parry the ensuing shot. Mr Halsey had no hesitation in ordering him off, although Pressman said afterwards: "I shall be appealing against the sending-off because the ball hit me on the chest. I realise I've made my mark in history but it's not something I'm proud of."

Britain's earliest early bath had previously been claimed by Mark Smith, of Crewe, banished after 19 seconds in 1994. Pressman was positively slothful, however, compared with the world record holder, Bologna's Giuseppe Lorenzo, who lasted all of 10 seconds in 1990.

Jewell promptly withdrew Richard Cresswell, who had not had a kick and trudged off disconsolately. On went Chris Stringer, a 17-year-old keeper with just a handful of reserve appearances to his name.

Stringer, while understandably nervous, made one splendid save from a Neil Emblen header and was blameless when Wolves scored midway through the first half. A cleverly worked free-kick routine between Simon Osborn, Lee Naylor and Ketsbaia ended with the latter crashing the ball from 20 yards into the top corner of the net, the shot being timed at 90mph.

Andy Sinton, facing his former employers, struck Stringer's woodwork two minutes later, though the greater danger stemmed from Ketsbaia's shoot-on-sight policy. The newcomer was unfortunate to be denied a second goal when, after he fired past Stringer following another free-kick, a re-take was ordered because of encroachment by Wednesday.

Jewell was quoted in the programme as wanting to bring in "some working-class footballers", players who were "not afraid to get their hands dirty". With a few honourable exceptions, notably the 21-year-old Alan Quinn, it often seemed that the manager and his aides, Terry Yorath and Peter Shreeves, were expending more energy on the touchline.

Gilles de Bilde finally tested Michael Oakes in first-half stoppage time and JoleonLescott kept out Quinn's follow-up, but Oakes was a virtual spectator thereafter. Wolves were therefore stunned when Booth stooped to convert Wim Jonk's near-post corner to collect only his second goal in nine months and silence his detractors.

Goals: Ketsbaia (18) 1-0; Booth (79) 1-1.

Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Oakes; Muscat, Pollet, Lescott, Naylor; Bazeley, Emblen, Osborn, Sinton; Branch, Ketsbaia. Substitutes not used: Robinson, Sedgley, Taylor, Camara, Murray (gk).

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Pressman; Grayson, Westwood, Walker, Hinchcliffe (Sibon, 65); Cresswell (Stringer, gk, 2), Haslam, Jonk, Quinn; De Bilde (Di Piedi, 60), Booth. Substitutes not used: Hamshaw, Humphreys.

Referee: M Halsey (Welwyn Garden City).

Bookings: Wolves Sinton. Wednesday Booth, de Bilde, Quinn, Grayson, Jonk. Sending-off: Wednesday Pressman.

Man of the match: Ketsbaia.

Attendance: 19,086.

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