Easter can often be a watershed as the soccer season
reaches the crunch point and Coventry have gone halfway to saving their top-flight future.
History proves, however, that the Sky Blues often fail when they are expected to
triumph. They have to make sure that is not the case when Southampton, four points below
them in the table, come to Highfield Road on Monday.
If they do triumph they will be in sight of the finishing post and could, just could,
avoid a last week of trauma. A rare luxury.
The penchant for
leaving it late showed again here. City had established a lead, thrown it away and were
set to collect an albeit welcome point when Noel Whelan struck to send the sizeable
contingent of travelling supporters into a frenzy.
Strachan had opted to change half the side that played at Arsenal and for a while it
told. Marc Edworthy, Paul Williams, George Boateng, Noel Whelan and, surprisingly, Gary
Breen returned to the line-up.
Wednesday, with four consecutive defeats behind them, started with considerable verve.
Paul Williams had to make a telling stop not his only one of the afternoon
in only the second minute when new signing Richard Cresswell moved on to a cross from Lee
For the first 15 minutes City couldnt break the Wednesday stranglehold. Petter
Rudi hit the post when former City favourite Peter Atherton drilled in a first time cross
and the near post header would certainly have beaten Hedman had it gone the other side of
Then in the 19th minute they managed the ultimate breakout. Darren Huckerby
moved onto a pass from Gary Breen and sped away from his markers. Still, Emerson Thome had
a chance to clear but he fluffed it.
Huckerby rounded Pavel Srnicek, who brought him down. For once there could be no
argument, it was a clear penalty and Gary McAllister stroked it confidently home.
That, not surprisingly, gave City renewed confidence and they started to cause
Wednesday far more problems. Huckerby had one 50-yard run and shot just over, while George
Boateng who had a quiet game made two good later runs into the area.
Wednesday manager Danny Wilson was obviously not impressed with what he had seen and
made two changes at the interval. They paid off and six minutes later the home side were
Coventry will not be happy with the goal. Edworthy opted to try to head a corner back
across and out of the area rather then direct it to the flank. It fell to Beninto Carbone
who tried his luck with an ambitious over head kick. His effort lacked power but Rudi
followed in and was able to smash the ball home from close range.
Both sides hit the side netting and could have stolen the points but they had probably
settled for a point when Whelan struck - turning in a right wing cross from Huckerby.
City are by no means out of the woods but they are moving solidly in the right
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY (4-4-2):
Srnicek; Atherton, Thome, Walker (Newsome, 45 mins) Briscoe; Alexandersson, Jonk (Scott,
90 mins), Carbone, Rudi; Cresswell, Humphries (Sonner 45 mins)
Subs not used: Pressman, Agogo
Hedman; Breen, Shaw, Williams, Edworthy; Boateng, Telfer, McAllister (Clement, 90 mins),
Froggatt; Huckerby, Whelan
Subs not used: Kirkland, Soltvedt, Gioacchini, Konjic
GOALS: McAllister (19 mins, penalty), Rudi (51 mins), Whelan (84 mins)
Sheffield Wednesday - Srnicek (19 mins, foul), Sonner (77 mins, foul)
Coventry Telfer (34 mins, foul), Whelan (54 mins, foul)
REFEREE: Keith Burge (Tonypandy)