Sibon pair knocks Coventry off course

Sheffield Wednesday 2 Coventry City 1
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Gerald Sibon's brace virtually ensured First Division survival for Sheffield Wednesday as they came from behind to beat Coventry City at Hillsborough last night.

The big Dutchman struck a goal in each half to seal a vital win for the Owls and move them six points clear of the relegation zone, leaving Coventry fifth and looking nervously over their shoulders at the chasing pack.

Wednesday enjoyed much the better of the game, with Coventry lacking any creativity apart from a terrific Colin Healy strike which put the visitors in front.

If only Simon Donnelly had displayed the goalscoring acumen that served him so well at Millwall a fortnight ago, then Wednesday would have gone into the break with a well-deserved lead. The Scot's best chance was the game's first. A terrific cross by the new loan signing Jon McCarthy fell to him unmarked, but with just Magnus Hedman to beat he screwed his effort wide.

Against the run of play, Coventry took a surprise lead after 20 minutes. From David Thompson's right-wing free-kick, Jay Bothroyd saw his header come back off the post. The ball then eventually worked its way to Healy and after taking a stride he cracked a brilliant shot into the top corner.

Wednesday should have restored parity just four minutes later, but Donnelly wasted yet another glorious chance, heading well over from just 12 yards.

But it was the visitors who almost increased their lead, following some determined play from Lee Hughes.

After stealing the ball off David Burrows, he burst into the area only to be foiled by the legs of Kevin Pressman. The ball fell kindly to Healy though, but his precise shot only found the left-hand upright.

The Owls finally drew level on the 40-minute mark. It was Donnelly who swung a ball into the City area and Sibon, finding himself with plenty of time, smashed his right-footed shot into the roof of the net.

Wednesday went ahead when a ball in from the left resulted in a mass scramble in City's goal area. With bodies diving in everywhere, the ball ricocheted to Sibon who gleefully rifled the ball home.

Hughes then saw his long-range effort tipped over the bar by Pressman as the visitors looked to hit straight back.

After a long period of inactivity, it was the home side who almost increased their lead. First Shefki Kuqi was foiled by superbly by Hedman and from the resulting corner, Sibon was denied his hat-trick when his diving header was easily gathered by the big Swedish stopper.

In the closing stages, Coventry pressed forward desperate to find an equaliser to revitalise their flagging play-off hopes, and they looked to have a penalty when Pressman brought down Hughes, but the referee, Eddie Wolstenholme, was unmoved and Wednesday held on for the win.

Goals: Healy (21) 0-1; Sibon 1-1 (40); Sibon (58) 2-1.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-3-3): Pressman; Haslam, Maddix, Broomes, Burrows; McCarthy, McLaren, Quinn; Donnelly (Gallagher 90), Sibon (Morrison 90), Kuqi. Substitutes not used: Heald (gk), Ekoku, Geary.

Coventry City (3-5-2): Hedman; Shaw, Carbonari, Quinn (Eustace 79), Breen, Safri, Healy, Trollope, Thompson (Chippo 71), Hughes, Bothroyd (Zuniga 68). Substitutes not used: Hydlgaard (gk), Konjic.

Bookings: Coventry: Thompson, Quinn, Trollope, Chippo

Referee: E Wolstenholme (Blackburn).