Sheffield Wednesday 1 Coventry City 1: Wood's leveller takes Wednesday out of bottom three

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The Independent Online

Richard Wood headed a stoppage-time equaliser to lift Sheffield Wednesday out of the Championship relegation zone and deny fellow strugglers Coventry a victory that they would scarcely have deserved.

Wood, the Wednesday captain, stooped to head the ball into the far corner from eight yards out in the second minute of time added on after a long throw-in from Steve Watson to earn Wednesday a point that may prove crucial in the relegation reckoning.

On-loan striker Zavon Hines looked to have moved Coventry a step closer to survival with an exquisite left-foot volley eight minutes from time after a mistake from Jermaine Johnson, but Wednesday threw men forward and were rewarded at the last.

The point was enough for them to leapfrog Barnsley and Southampton on goal difference and the South Yorkshire club still have a game in hand, leaving the Sky Blues at risk.

"Before the game, we would have taken a point, but to concede the way we did is a bitter pill to swallow," said the visitors' manager, Chris Coleman. "It is frustrating because we know we could be on 51 points now. Our target is 53 points, there are lot of teams down there still in trouble: Southampton, Leicester, Barnsley, Norwich and even Blackpool who are not safe."

Wednesday took the initiative in the opening stages here, but Coventry winger Julian Gray carved out perhaps the best early opportunity with a run and neat one-two with Michael Mifsud, but failed to get enough power on his shot, which Lee Grant smothered.

Wednesday struggled to keep possession but almost took the lead 15 minutes in when Graham Kavanagh dragged a shot narrowly wide after winger Franck Songo'o's cut-back.

Mifsud set up his strike partner Robbie Simpson after 28 minutes and the youngster's fierce drive forced the agile Grant to tip the ball wide at full stretch.

The pace and power of Songo'o, on loan from Portsmouth, kept the City defence on their toes but Coventry looked increasingly content to settle for a point. Yet they went in front eight minutes from time when Johnson's poor attempted clearance sat up nicely for Hines, who cracked an unstoppable volley past Grant.

Wednesday looked bereft of ideas and doomed for defeat, but with the final whistle imminent, Watson launched a throw into the penalty area and Wood directed the ball into the far corner to stun the visitors.

"We didn't do enough to win it, but deserved a point," said Wednesday manager Brian Laws.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Grant; Johnson, Beevers, Wood, Spurr; Kavanagh (Watson, 76), McAllister (Bolder, 44), O'Brien (Slusarski, 83), Songo'o; Burton, Sahar. Substitutes not used: Burch (gk), Gilbert.

Coventry City (4-4-2): Schmeichel; Fox, Ward, Dann, Duffy; S Hughes, Doyle, Tabb, Gray (Osbourne, 90); Mifsud (Hines, 74), Simpson. Substitutes not used: Marshall (gk), Hall, Thornton.

Referee: G Laws (Tyne & Wear).

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