Sheffield Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday slideshow

The youngster is free to leave Sheffield Wednesday this summer and has caught United's attention, just as his father did a quarter of a century ago
Who is George Hirst? The Man Utd target following in famous family footsteps
The youngster is free to leave Sheffield Wednesday this summer and has caught United's attention, just as his father did a quarter of a century ago
The youngster is free to leave Sheffield Wednesday this summer and has caught United's attention, just as his father did a quarter of a century ago
Who is George Hirst? The Man Utd target following in famous family footsteps
The youngster is free to leave Sheffield Wednesday this summer and has caught United's attention, just as his father did a quarter of a century ago
The youngster is free to leave Sheffield Wednesday this summer and has caught United's attention, just as his father did a quarter of a century ago
Who is George Hirst? The Man Utd target following in famous family footsteps
The youngster is free to leave Sheffield Wednesday this summer and has caught United's attention, just as his father did a quarter of a century ago
Sheffield Wednesday are aware of the interest being shown in a highly-rated teenage frontman and are happy to leave any future call in his hands
Man Utd target Hirst will be allowed to dictate own future
Sheffield Wednesday are aware of the interest being shown in a highly-rated teenage frontman and are happy to leave any future call in his hands
The Aston Villa goalkeeper, Sam Johnstone, on loan from Manchester United, makes a save against Sheffield Wednesday.
Sam Johnstone: ‘It’s been a rollercoaster but I may settle at Aston Villa now’
The Aston Villa goalkeeper, Sam Johnstone, on loan from Manchester United, makes a save against Sheffield Wednesday.
Sheffield Wednesday are aware of the interest being shown in a highly-rated teenage frontman and are happy to leave any future call in his hands
Man Utd target Hirst will be allowed to dictate own future
Sheffield Wednesday are aware of the interest being shown in a highly-rated teenage frontman and are happy to leave any future call in his hands
Sheffield Wednesday are aware of the interest being shown in a highly-rated teenage frontman and are happy to leave any future call in his hands
Man Utd target Hirst will be allowed to dictate own future
Sheffield Wednesday are aware of the interest being shown in a highly-rated teenage frontman and are happy to leave any future call in his hands
Sheffield Wednesday are aware of the interest being shown in a highly-rated teenage frontman and are happy to leave any future call in his hands
Man Utd target Hirst will be allowed to dictate own future
Sheffield Wednesday are aware of the interest being shown in a highly-rated teenage frontman and are happy to leave any future call in his hands
With Wolves on the verge of sealing their place back in the Premier League as Championship champions, the race for the second automatic promotion spot it hotting up. We are into the season's final stretch now, and three teams still have a chance of claiming second place. Here, we take a closer look at each side's chances. Cardiff City 2nd, P40 Pts 80 Form guide LDWWWW Strength Defence. Cardiff have the best defensive record in the Championship, having conceded just 34 goals all season and kept 16 clean sheets - manager Neil Warnock's target at the beginning of the season, which he felt would be sufficient to reach the play-offs. Since the return of Sean Morrison, they have looked even more comfortable at the back. Warnock admits his squad isn’t as good as that of Aston Villa or Wolves, but what he does have is a strong spine to the side and an approach very much in the mould of their muck 'n nettles manager. “We haven’t got the Rolls Royces of the division, but, by gum, we've got some endeavour and a lot of skill in some areas as well,” Warnock said, recently. Weakness Warnock is often criticised for his tactics being one-dimensional. Kenneth Zohore, who has scored eight goals for Cardiff, is often used as a target man to get the ball forward quicker, producing a style of play which can lead to some grumbling from the supporters. Warnock riles at suggestions he is predictable: “If you’ve got a target man or someone strong in the air, they can play the ball out to players occupying the wide positions,” he pointed out. Key man Callum Paterson, who has enjoyed a successful 2018 in a new advanced position. He has taken his goal tally to nine and is the club's second top scorer. The Scotsman had to come off in the defeat against Wolves, but Warnock will be hoping he is fit to feature against Aston Villa on Tuesday in a game that could go a long way to sealing second place. Remaining games Aston Villa (a), Norwich Ciy (a), Nottingham Forest (h), Derby County (a), Hull City (a), Reading (h) Fulham 3rd - P41 Pts 78 Form guide WWWDWW Strength Scoring - especially on the counter, where their pace can be devastating. Last season, Fulham scored 85 goals and could overhaul that tally this year (they currently have 71). Their calculated, quick approach in possession means they can soak up pressure and hit teams on the break. Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has pace in abundance, especially down the left-hand side with Ryan Sessegnon and Sheyi Ojo. Sessegnon has scored a remarkable 14 goals, with 10 coming in his last 18 games. Ryan Sessegnon is a constant threat on the left Credit: pa Weakness Despite Fulham’s strength on the break, they are often guilty of sloppiness in possession and are caught out having over-committed in attack. Sessegnon and his opposite full-back, Ryan Fredericks, can be exposed in this area and Jokanovic has moved Sessegnon to the left wing to provide more cover for his full-back. This has paid dividends, with Fulham having now kept three clean sheets in three games. Earlier on in the season, they went 13 games before keeping a clean sheet. Key man Aleksander Mitrovic. The on-loan Newcastle striker scored his ninth goal in nine games to extend Fulham’s unbeaten run to 19 matches at the weekend against Sheffield Wednesday. He is already their second top scorer this season and his physicality gives Fulham another dimension to their play: he is the battering ram who can hold the ball up for his quicker, more mobile team-mates to find space around him. Remaining games Reading (h), Brentford (h), Millwall (a), Sunderland (h), Birmingham (a). Aston Villa 4th - P41 Pts 73 Form guide LWDLLW Strength Villa's side is bursting with creativity, led by Robert Snodgrass, who has produced a division-high tally of 14 assists. The Scotland international is gradually scrubbing away the miserable experience of his stint at West Ham, where he accused then-manager Slaven Bilic of playing him out of position, and has also chipped in with seven goals. Add that to Albert Adomas’s tally of 14, and the skills of Jack Grealish - who has four goals and as many assists - and you begin to see why Villa are still considered a threat, despite their recent wobbles. Villa have tonnes of creativity Credit: getty images Weakness Consistency has been a problem for Villa this season. They were the pre-season favourites to be champions; instead, they find themselves fourth and with automatic promotion rapidly slipping over the horizon. Since beating Wolves 4-1, they have lost to Norwich, Bolton, QPR, and drawn 0-0 with Hull, while their most recent loss against Norwich City, saw the fans turn against the players. “The players have let the supporters down, and they have also let themselves down. We have failed to perform when we really needed to,” said manager Steve Bruce. Key man John Terry has been a colossus at the heart of Villa’s defence, earning a place in the Championship Team of the Year, despite missing 10 games through injury. Terry has started in 31 of Villas 41 fixtures so far, helping them keep 12 clean sheets, and will be pivotal if Villa are to regain their place at English football's top table. “John Terry is a natural leader of men on and off the pitch," Bruce has said. "He is a wonderful footballer but what he has brought to the dressing room is important. He knows what it is like to play the top level.” Remaining games Cardiff (h), Leeds (h), Ipswich (a), Derby (h), Millwall (a)
The Championship promotion race: Will Cardiff, Fulham or Aston Villa claim second spot?
With Wolves on the verge of sealing their place back in the Premier League as Championship champions, the race for the second automatic promotion spot it hotting up. We are into the season's final stretch now, and three teams still have a chance of claiming second place. Here, we take a closer look at each side's chances. Cardiff City 2nd, P40 Pts 80 Form guide LDWWWW Strength Defence. Cardiff have the best defensive record in the Championship, having conceded just 34 goals all season and kept 16 clean sheets - manager Neil Warnock's target at the beginning of the season, which he felt would be sufficient to reach the play-offs. Since the return of Sean Morrison, they have looked even more comfortable at the back. Warnock admits his squad isn’t as good as that of Aston Villa or Wolves, but what he does have is a strong spine to the side and an approach very much in the mould of their muck 'n nettles manager. “We haven’t got the Rolls Royces of the division, but, by gum, we've got some endeavour and a lot of skill in some areas as well,” Warnock said, recently. Weakness Warnock is often criticised for his tactics being one-dimensional. Kenneth Zohore, who has scored eight goals for Cardiff, is often used as a target man to get the ball forward quicker, producing a style of play which can lead to some grumbling from the supporters. Warnock riles at suggestions he is predictable: “If you’ve got a target man or someone strong in the air, they can play the ball out to players occupying the wide positions,” he pointed out. Key man Callum Paterson, who has enjoyed a successful 2018 in a new advanced position. He has taken his goal tally to nine and is the club's second top scorer. The Scotsman had to come off in the defeat against Wolves, but Warnock will be hoping he is fit to feature against Aston Villa on Tuesday in a game that could go a long way to sealing second place. Remaining games Aston Villa (a), Norwich Ciy (a), Nottingham Forest (h), Derby County (a), Hull City (a), Reading (h) Fulham 3rd - P41 Pts 78 Form guide WWWDWW Strength Scoring - especially on the counter, where their pace can be devastating. Last season, Fulham scored 85 goals and could overhaul that tally this year (they currently have 71). Their calculated, quick approach in possession means they can soak up pressure and hit teams on the break. Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has pace in abundance, especially down the left-hand side with Ryan Sessegnon and Sheyi Ojo. Sessegnon has scored a remarkable 14 goals, with 10 coming in his last 18 games. Ryan Sessegnon is a constant threat on the left Credit: pa Weakness Despite Fulham’s strength on the break, they are often guilty of sloppiness in possession and are caught out having over-committed in attack. Sessegnon and his opposite full-back, Ryan Fredericks, can be exposed in this area and Jokanovic has moved Sessegnon to the left wing to provide more cover for his full-back. This has paid dividends, with Fulham having now kept three clean sheets in three games. Earlier on in the season, they went 13 games before keeping a clean sheet. Key man Aleksander Mitrovic. The on-loan Newcastle striker scored his ninth goal in nine games to extend Fulham’s unbeaten run to 19 matches at the weekend against Sheffield Wednesday. He is already their second top scorer this season and his physicality gives Fulham another dimension to their play: he is the battering ram who can hold the ball up for his quicker, more mobile team-mates to find space around him. Remaining games Reading (h), Brentford (h), Millwall (a), Sunderland (h), Birmingham (a). Aston Villa 4th - P41 Pts 73 Form guide LWDLLW Strength Villa's side is bursting with creativity, led by Robert Snodgrass, who has produced a division-high tally of 14 assists. The Scotland international is gradually scrubbing away the miserable experience of his stint at West Ham, where he accused then-manager Slaven Bilic of playing him out of position, and has also chipped in with seven goals. Add that to Albert Adomas’s tally of 14, and the skills of Jack Grealish - who has four goals and as many assists - and you begin to see why Villa are still considered a threat, despite their recent wobbles. Villa have tonnes of creativity Credit: getty images Weakness Consistency has been a problem for Villa this season. They were the pre-season favourites to be champions; instead, they find themselves fourth and with automatic promotion rapidly slipping over the horizon. Since beating Wolves 4-1, they have lost to Norwich, Bolton, QPR, and drawn 0-0 with Hull, while their most recent loss against Norwich City, saw the fans turn against the players. “The players have let the supporters down, and they have also let themselves down. We have failed to perform when we really needed to,” said manager Steve Bruce. Key man John Terry has been a colossus at the heart of Villa’s defence, earning a place in the Championship Team of the Year, despite missing 10 games through injury. Terry has started in 31 of Villas 41 fixtures so far, helping them keep 12 clean sheets, and will be pivotal if Villa are to regain their place at English football's top table. “John Terry is a natural leader of men on and off the pitch," Bruce has said. "He is a wonderful footballer but what he has brought to the dressing room is important. He knows what it is like to play the top level.” Remaining games Cardiff (h), Leeds (h), Ipswich (a), Derby (h), Millwall (a)
With Wolves on the verge of sealing their place back in the Premier League as Championship champions, the race for the second automatic promotion spot it hotting up. We are into the season's final stretch now, and three teams still have a chance of claiming second place. Here, we take a closer look at each side's chances. Cardiff City 2nd, P40 Pts 80 Form guide LDWWWW Strength Defence. Cardiff have the best defensive record in the Championship, having conceded just 34 goals all season and kept 16 clean sheets - manager Neil Warnock's target at the beginning of the season, which he felt would be sufficient to reach the play-offs. Since the return of Sean Morrison, they have looked even more comfortable at the back. Warnock admits his squad isn’t as good as that of Aston Villa or Wolves, but what he does have is a strong spine to the side and an approach very much in the mould of their muck 'n nettles manager. “We haven’t got the Rolls Royces of the division, but, by gum, we've got some endeavour and a lot of skill in some areas as well,” Warnock said, recently. Weakness Warnock is often criticised for his tactics being one-dimensional. Kenneth Zohore, who has scored eight goals for Cardiff, is often used as a target man to get the ball forward quicker, producing a style of play which can lead to some grumbling from the supporters. Warnock riles at suggestions he is predictable: “If you’ve got a target man or someone strong in the air, they can play the ball out to players occupying the wide positions,” he pointed out. Key man Callum Paterson, who has enjoyed a successful 2018 in a new advanced position. He has taken his goal tally to nine and is the club's second top scorer. The Scotsman had to come off in the defeat against Wolves, but Warnock will be hoping he is fit to feature against Aston Villa on Tuesday in a game that could go a long way to sealing second place. Remaining games Aston Villa (a), Norwich Ciy (a), Nottingham Forest (h), Derby County (a), Hull City (a), Reading (h) Fulham 3rd - P41 Pts 78 Form guide WWWDWW Strength Scoring - especially on the counter, where their pace can be devastating. Last season, Fulham scored 85 goals and could overhaul that tally this year (they currently have 71). Their calculated, quick approach in possession means they can soak up pressure and hit teams on the break. Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has pace in abundance, especially down the left-hand side with Ryan Sessegnon and Sheyi Ojo. Sessegnon has scored a remarkable 14 goals, with 10 coming in his last 18 games. Ryan Sessegnon is a constant threat on the left Credit: pa Weakness Despite Fulham’s strength on the break, they are often guilty of sloppiness in possession and are caught out having over-committed in attack. Sessegnon and his opposite full-back, Ryan Fredericks, can be exposed in this area and Jokanovic has moved Sessegnon to the left wing to provide more cover for his full-back. This has paid dividends, with Fulham having now kept three clean sheets in three games. Earlier on in the season, they went 13 games before keeping a clean sheet. Key man Aleksander Mitrovic. The on-loan Newcastle striker scored his ninth goal in nine games to extend Fulham’s unbeaten run to 19 matches at the weekend against Sheffield Wednesday. He is already their second top scorer this season and his physicality gives Fulham another dimension to their play: he is the battering ram who can hold the ball up for his quicker, more mobile team-mates to find space around him. Remaining games Reading (h), Brentford (h), Millwall (a), Sunderland (h), Birmingham (a). Aston Villa 4th - P41 Pts 73 Form guide LWDLLW Strength Villa's side is bursting with creativity, led by Robert Snodgrass, who has produced a division-high tally of 14 assists. The Scotland international is gradually scrubbing away the miserable experience of his stint at West Ham, where he accused then-manager Slaven Bilic of playing him out of position, and has also chipped in with seven goals. Add that to Albert Adomas’s tally of 14, and the skills of Jack Grealish - who has four goals and as many assists - and you begin to see why Villa are still considered a threat, despite their recent wobbles. Villa have tonnes of creativity Credit: getty images Weakness Consistency has been a problem for Villa this season. They were the pre-season favourites to be champions; instead, they find themselves fourth and with automatic promotion rapidly slipping over the horizon. Since beating Wolves 4-1, they have lost to Norwich, Bolton, QPR, and drawn 0-0 with Hull, while their most recent loss against Norwich City, saw the fans turn against the players. “The players have let the supporters down, and they have also let themselves down. We have failed to perform when we really needed to,” said manager Steve Bruce. Key man John Terry has been a colossus at the heart of Villa’s defence, earning a place in the Championship Team of the Year, despite missing 10 games through injury. Terry has started in 31 of Villas 41 fixtures so far, helping them keep 12 clean sheets, and will be pivotal if Villa are to regain their place at English football's top table. “John Terry is a natural leader of men on and off the pitch," Bruce has said. "He is a wonderful footballer but what he has brought to the dressing room is important. He knows what it is like to play the top level.” Remaining games Cardiff (h), Leeds (h), Ipswich (a), Derby (h), Millwall (a)
The Championship promotion race: Will Cardiff, Fulham or Aston Villa claim second spot?
With Wolves on the verge of sealing their place back in the Premier League as Championship champions, the race for the second automatic promotion spot it hotting up. We are into the season's final stretch now, and three teams still have a chance of claiming second place. Here, we take a closer look at each side's chances. Cardiff City 2nd, P40 Pts 80 Form guide LDWWWW Strength Defence. Cardiff have the best defensive record in the Championship, having conceded just 34 goals all season and kept 16 clean sheets - manager Neil Warnock's target at the beginning of the season, which he felt would be sufficient to reach the play-offs. Since the return of Sean Morrison, they have looked even more comfortable at the back. Warnock admits his squad isn’t as good as that of Aston Villa or Wolves, but what he does have is a strong spine to the side and an approach very much in the mould of their muck 'n nettles manager. “We haven’t got the Rolls Royces of the division, but, by gum, we've got some endeavour and a lot of skill in some areas as well,” Warnock said, recently. Weakness Warnock is often criticised for his tactics being one-dimensional. Kenneth Zohore, who has scored eight goals for Cardiff, is often used as a target man to get the ball forward quicker, producing a style of play which can lead to some grumbling from the supporters. Warnock riles at suggestions he is predictable: “If you’ve got a target man or someone strong in the air, they can play the ball out to players occupying the wide positions,” he pointed out. Key man Callum Paterson, who has enjoyed a successful 2018 in a new advanced position. He has taken his goal tally to nine and is the club's second top scorer. The Scotsman had to come off in the defeat against Wolves, but Warnock will be hoping he is fit to feature against Aston Villa on Tuesday in a game that could go a long way to sealing second place. Remaining games Aston Villa (a), Norwich Ciy (a), Nottingham Forest (h), Derby County (a), Hull City (a), Reading (h) Fulham 3rd - P41 Pts 78 Form guide WWWDWW Strength Scoring - especially on the counter, where their pace can be devastating. Last season, Fulham scored 85 goals and could overhaul that tally this year (they currently have 71). Their calculated, quick approach in possession means they can soak up pressure and hit teams on the break. Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has pace in abundance, especially down the left-hand side with Ryan Sessegnon and Sheyi Ojo. Sessegnon has scored a remarkable 14 goals, with 10 coming in his last 18 games. Ryan Sessegnon is a constant threat on the left Credit: pa Weakness Despite Fulham’s strength on the break, they are often guilty of sloppiness in possession and are caught out having over-committed in attack. Sessegnon and his opposite full-back, Ryan Fredericks, can be exposed in this area and Jokanovic has moved Sessegnon to the left wing to provide more cover for his full-back. This has paid dividends, with Fulham having now kept three clean sheets in three games. Earlier on in the season, they went 13 games before keeping a clean sheet. Key man Aleksander Mitrovic. The on-loan Newcastle striker scored his ninth goal in nine games to extend Fulham’s unbeaten run to 19 matches at the weekend against Sheffield Wednesday. He is already their second top scorer this season and his physicality gives Fulham another dimension to their play: he is the battering ram who can hold the ball up for his quicker, more mobile team-mates to find space around him. Remaining games Reading (h), Brentford (h), Millwall (a), Sunderland (h), Birmingham (a). Aston Villa 4th - P41 Pts 73 Form guide LWDLLW Strength Villa's side is bursting with creativity, led by Robert Snodgrass, who has produced a division-high tally of 14 assists. The Scotland international is gradually scrubbing away the miserable experience of his stint at West Ham, where he accused then-manager Slaven Bilic of playing him out of position, and has also chipped in with seven goals. Add that to Albert Adomas’s tally of 14, and the skills of Jack Grealish - who has four goals and as many assists - and you begin to see why Villa are still considered a threat, despite their recent wobbles. Villa have tonnes of creativity Credit: getty images Weakness Consistency has been a problem for Villa this season. They were the pre-season favourites to be champions; instead, they find themselves fourth and with automatic promotion rapidly slipping over the horizon. Since beating Wolves 4-1, they have lost to Norwich, Bolton, QPR, and drawn 0-0 with Hull, while their most recent loss against Norwich City, saw the fans turn against the players. “The players have let the supporters down, and they have also let themselves down. We have failed to perform when we really needed to,” said manager Steve Bruce. Key man John Terry has been a colossus at the heart of Villa’s defence, earning a place in the Championship Team of the Year, despite missing 10 games through injury. Terry has started in 31 of Villas 41 fixtures so far, helping them keep 12 clean sheets, and will be pivotal if Villa are to regain their place at English football's top table. “John Terry is a natural leader of men on and off the pitch," Bruce has said. "He is a wonderful footballer but what he has brought to the dressing room is important. He knows what it is like to play the top level.” Remaining games Cardiff (h), Leeds (h), Ipswich (a), Derby (h), Millwall (a)
With Wolves on the verge of sealing their place back in the Premier League as Championship champions, the race for the second automatic promotion spot it hotting up. We are into the season's final stretch now, and three teams still have a chance of claiming second place. Here, we take a closer look at each side's chances. Cardiff City 2nd, P40 Pts 80 Form guide LDWWWW Strength Defence. Cardiff have the best defensive record in the Championship, having conceded just 34 goals all season and kept 16 clean sheets - manager Neil Warnock's target at the beginning of the season, which he felt would be sufficient to reach the play-offs. Since the return of Sean Morrison, they have looked even more comfortable at the back. Warnock admits his squad isn’t as good as that of Aston Villa or Wolves, but what he does have is a strong spine to the side and an approach very much in the mould of their muck 'n nettles manager. “We haven’t got the Rolls Royces of the division, but, by gum, we've got some endeavour and a lot of skill in some areas as well,” Warnock said, recently. Weakness Warnock is often criticised for his tactics being one-dimensional. Kenneth Zohore, who has scored eight goals for Cardiff, is often used as a target man to get the ball forward quicker, producing a style of play which can lead to some grumbling from the supporters. Warnock riles at suggestions he is predictable: “If you’ve got a target man or someone strong in the air, they can play the ball out to players occupying the wide positions,” he pointed out. Key man Callum Paterson, who has enjoyed a successful 2018 in a new advanced position. He has taken his goal tally to nine and is the club's second top scorer. The Scotsman had to come off in the defeat against Wolves, but Warnock will be hoping he is fit to feature against Aston Villa on Tuesday in a game that could go a long way to sealing second place. Remaining games Aston Villa (a), Norwich Ciy (a), Nottingham Forest (h), Derby County (a), Hull City (a), Reading (h) Fulham 3rd - P41 Pts 78 Form guide WWWDWW Strength Scoring - especially on the counter, where their pace can be devastating. Last season, Fulham scored 85 goals and could overhaul that tally this year (they currently have 71). Their calculated, quick approach in possession means they can soak up pressure and hit teams on the break. Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has pace in abundance, especially down the left-hand side with Ryan Sessegnon and Sheyi Ojo. Sessegnon has scored a remarkable 14 goals, with 10 coming in his last 18 games. Ryan Sessegnon is a constant threat on the left Credit: pa Weakness Despite Fulham’s strength on the break, they are often guilty of sloppiness in possession and are caught out having over-committed in attack. Sessegnon and his opposite full-back, Ryan Fredericks, can be exposed in this area and Jokanovic has moved Sessegnon to the left wing to provide more cover for his full-back. This has paid dividends, with Fulham having now kept three clean sheets in three games. Earlier on in the season, they went 13 games before keeping a clean sheet. Key man Aleksander Mitrovic. The on-loan Newcastle striker scored his ninth goal in nine games to extend Fulham’s unbeaten run to 19 matches at the weekend against Sheffield Wednesday. He is already their second top scorer this season and his physicality gives Fulham another dimension to their play: he is the battering ram who can hold the ball up for his quicker, more mobile team-mates to find space around him. Remaining games Reading (h), Brentford (h), Millwall (a), Sunderland (h), Birmingham (a). Aston Villa 4th - P41 Pts 73 Form guide LWDLLW Strength Villa's side is bursting with creativity, led by Robert Snodgrass, who has produced a division-high tally of 14 assists. The Scotland international is gradually scrubbing away the miserable experience of his stint at West Ham, where he accused then-manager Slaven Bilic of playing him out of position, and has also chipped in with seven goals. Add that to Albert Adomas’s tally of 14, and the skills of Jack Grealish - who has four goals and as many assists - and you begin to see why Villa are still considered a threat, despite their recent wobbles. Villa have tonnes of creativity Credit: getty images Weakness Consistency has been a problem for Villa this season. They were the pre-season favourites to be champions; instead, they find themselves fourth and with automatic promotion rapidly slipping over the horizon. Since beating Wolves 4-1, they have lost to Norwich, Bolton, QPR, and drawn 0-0 with Hull, while their most recent loss against Norwich City, saw the fans turn against the players. “The players have let the supporters down, and they have also let themselves down. We have failed to perform when we really needed to,” said manager Steve Bruce. Key man John Terry has been a colossus at the heart of Villa’s defence, earning a place in the Championship Team of the Year, despite missing 10 games through injury. Terry has started in 31 of Villas 41 fixtures so far, helping them keep 12 clean sheets, and will be pivotal if Villa are to regain their place at English football's top table. “John Terry is a natural leader of men on and off the pitch," Bruce has said. "He is a wonderful footballer but what he has brought to the dressing room is important. He knows what it is like to play the top level.” Remaining games Cardiff (h), Leeds (h), Ipswich (a), Derby (h), Millwall (a)
The Championship promotion race: Will Cardiff, Fulham or Aston Villa claim second spot?
With Wolves on the verge of sealing their place back in the Premier League as Championship champions, the race for the second automatic promotion spot it hotting up. We are into the season's final stretch now, and three teams still have a chance of claiming second place. Here, we take a closer look at each side's chances. Cardiff City 2nd, P40 Pts 80 Form guide LDWWWW Strength Defence. Cardiff have the best defensive record in the Championship, having conceded just 34 goals all season and kept 16 clean sheets - manager Neil Warnock's target at the beginning of the season, which he felt would be sufficient to reach the play-offs. Since the return of Sean Morrison, they have looked even more comfortable at the back. Warnock admits his squad isn’t as good as that of Aston Villa or Wolves, but what he does have is a strong spine to the side and an approach very much in the mould of their muck 'n nettles manager. “We haven’t got the Rolls Royces of the division, but, by gum, we've got some endeavour and a lot of skill in some areas as well,” Warnock said, recently. Weakness Warnock is often criticised for his tactics being one-dimensional. Kenneth Zohore, who has scored eight goals for Cardiff, is often used as a target man to get the ball forward quicker, producing a style of play which can lead to some grumbling from the supporters. Warnock riles at suggestions he is predictable: “If you’ve got a target man or someone strong in the air, they can play the ball out to players occupying the wide positions,” he pointed out. Key man Callum Paterson, who has enjoyed a successful 2018 in a new advanced position. He has taken his goal tally to nine and is the club's second top scorer. The Scotsman had to come off in the defeat against Wolves, but Warnock will be hoping he is fit to feature against Aston Villa on Tuesday in a game that could go a long way to sealing second place. Remaining games Aston Villa (a), Norwich Ciy (a), Nottingham Forest (h), Derby County (a), Hull City (a), Reading (h) Fulham 3rd - P41 Pts 78 Form guide WWWDWW Strength Scoring - especially on the counter, where their pace can be devastating. Last season, Fulham scored 85 goals and could overhaul that tally this year (they currently have 71). Their calculated, quick approach in possession means they can soak up pressure and hit teams on the break. Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has pace in abundance, especially down the left-hand side with Ryan Sessegnon and Sheyi Ojo. Sessegnon has scored a remarkable 14 goals, with 10 coming in his last 18 games. Ryan Sessegnon is a constant threat on the left Credit: pa Weakness Despite Fulham’s strength on the break, they are often guilty of sloppiness in possession and are caught out having over-committed in attack. Sessegnon and his opposite full-back, Ryan Fredericks, can be exposed in this area and Jokanovic has moved Sessegnon to the left wing to provide more cover for his full-back. This has paid dividends, with Fulham having now kept three clean sheets in three games. Earlier on in the season, they went 13 games before keeping a clean sheet. Key man Aleksander Mitrovic. The on-loan Newcastle striker scored his ninth goal in nine games to extend Fulham’s unbeaten run to 19 matches at the weekend against Sheffield Wednesday. He is already their second top scorer this season and his physicality gives Fulham another dimension to their play: he is the battering ram who can hold the ball up for his quicker, more mobile team-mates to find space around him. Remaining games Reading (h), Brentford (h), Millwall (a), Sunderland (h), Birmingham (a). Aston Villa 4th - P41 Pts 73 Form guide LWDLLW Strength Villa's side is bursting with creativity, led by Robert Snodgrass, who has produced a division-high tally of 14 assists. The Scotland international is gradually scrubbing away the miserable experience of his stint at West Ham, where he accused then-manager Slaven Bilic of playing him out of position, and has also chipped in with seven goals. Add that to Albert Adomas’s tally of 14, and the skills of Jack Grealish - who has four goals and as many assists - and you begin to see why Villa are still considered a threat, despite their recent wobbles. Villa have tonnes of creativity Credit: getty images Weakness Consistency has been a problem for Villa this season. They were the pre-season favourites to be champions; instead, they find themselves fourth and with automatic promotion rapidly slipping over the horizon. Since beating Wolves 4-1, they have lost to Norwich, Bolton, QPR, and drawn 0-0 with Hull, while their most recent loss against Norwich City, saw the fans turn against the players. “The players have let the supporters down, and they have also let themselves down. We have failed to perform when we really needed to,” said manager Steve Bruce. Key man John Terry has been a colossus at the heart of Villa’s defence, earning a place in the Championship Team of the Year, despite missing 10 games through injury. Terry has started in 31 of Villas 41 fixtures so far, helping them keep 12 clean sheets, and will be pivotal if Villa are to regain their place at English football's top table. “John Terry is a natural leader of men on and off the pitch," Bruce has said. "He is a wonderful footballer but what he has brought to the dressing room is important. He knows what it is like to play the top level.” Remaining games Cardiff (h), Leeds (h), Ipswich (a), Derby (h), Millwall (a)
Soccer Football - FA Cup Fifth Round Replay - Swansea City vs Sheffield Wednesday - Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Britain - February 27, 2018 Swansea City's Mike van der Hoorn in action Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers/File Photo
FA Cup Fifth Round Replay - Swansea City vs Sheffield Wednesday
Soccer Football - FA Cup Fifth Round Replay - Swansea City vs Sheffield Wednesday - Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Britain - February 27, 2018 Swansea City's Mike van der Hoorn in action Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers/File Photo
With Darren Moore at the helm for the moment after Alan Pardew’s departure at the start of the week, Albion ended their run of eight consecutive defeats with a point and possibly deserved more against a Swansea performance that was strangely lacking in ambition. Swansea are on the brink of making themselves safe – a scenario that seemed highly unlikely when Carlos Carvalhal took over a team that, in his words, were five points “below the water line” in December. Yet despite Albion’s run of eight consecutive Premier League defeats they seemed fearful of breaking into attack in case the gave the ball away. Only when Jay Rodriguez raised the prospect of a rare win for the home side, by scoring early in the second half from a poorly defended cross – arguably a goal that might have been ruled out for a handball in the build-up - did Swansea come to life. “I think that was a consequence of the last two games, against Tottenham and Manchester United, when we played a lot of the time without the ball,” Carvalhal said. “We knew it would be a difficult game because when a team changes the manager new players come into the team and there are new ideas. And the crowd gave the stadium a very positive atmosphere. Rodriguez's goal looked to have earned West Brom a long-awaited Premier League win Credit: REUTERS “But we need to do better with the ball. We have six games left, four at home, and the next time we will play more like we did when we conceded the goal. Today was not the way we play.” Nonetheless, after 100 days in charge the Portuguese coach, who was an eyebrow-raising appointment in the eyes of many Swansea fans after being sacked by Sheffield Wednesday only days earlier, has a record of 19 points from 12 matches and they may need no more than five or six more to be safe. Survival is probably a fanciful target for Albion now, although first-team coach Moore, a popular figure within the dressing room and on the terraces, declined to talk about the possibility of being the man to plot their return should they start next season in the Championship. Indeed, he does not want to discuss taking the manager’s job full time, whichever division they are in. “I have the qualifications to the job but my title is first-team coach and I enjoy the job,” he said. “The crowd created a great atmosphere today and I was proud to be in the technical area, representing the club. “But I am just thinking game by game, there is no time to worry about the job long-term. I was really pleased with the players responded today. We set out to end the run of defeats and if we could not win to make sure we did not lose, and it was good to see the things we worked on being executed on the pitch.” Nonetheless, he would have been disappointed, as a former defensive rock, with the manner of Swansea’s equaliser, conceded from a needlessly conceded corner headed home by a poorly marked Tammy Abraham, whose headed goal with 15 minutes left was his first in the Premier League since October. “I will look at it but I refuse to be disappointed about it because of the response of the players when they conceded,” he said. “They took control of the game again and showed a lot of composure and resilience and that brought a warmth to me.” With only five matches remaining and a 10-point gap to overhaul, however, such moments are likely to be fleeting consolation. And given the number of players coming to the end of contracts or with relegation release clauses they can trigger, whoever is in charge next year faces a major rebuilding job.
West Brom denied long-awaited win by late Tammy Abraham leveller for Swansea
With Darren Moore at the helm for the moment after Alan Pardew’s departure at the start of the week, Albion ended their run of eight consecutive defeats with a point and possibly deserved more against a Swansea performance that was strangely lacking in ambition. Swansea are on the brink of making themselves safe – a scenario that seemed highly unlikely when Carlos Carvalhal took over a team that, in his words, were five points “below the water line” in December. Yet despite Albion’s run of eight consecutive Premier League defeats they seemed fearful of breaking into attack in case the gave the ball away. Only when Jay Rodriguez raised the prospect of a rare win for the home side, by scoring early in the second half from a poorly defended cross – arguably a goal that might have been ruled out for a handball in the build-up - did Swansea come to life. “I think that was a consequence of the last two games, against Tottenham and Manchester United, when we played a lot of the time without the ball,” Carvalhal said. “We knew it would be a difficult game because when a team changes the manager new players come into the team and there are new ideas. And the crowd gave the stadium a very positive atmosphere. Rodriguez's goal looked to have earned West Brom a long-awaited Premier League win Credit: REUTERS “But we need to do better with the ball. We have six games left, four at home, and the next time we will play more like we did when we conceded the goal. Today was not the way we play.” Nonetheless, after 100 days in charge the Portuguese coach, who was an eyebrow-raising appointment in the eyes of many Swansea fans after being sacked by Sheffield Wednesday only days earlier, has a record of 19 points from 12 matches and they may need no more than five or six more to be safe. Survival is probably a fanciful target for Albion now, although first-team coach Moore, a popular figure within the dressing room and on the terraces, declined to talk about the possibility of being the man to plot their return should they start next season in the Championship. Indeed, he does not want to discuss taking the manager’s job full time, whichever division they are in. “I have the qualifications to the job but my title is first-team coach and I enjoy the job,” he said. “The crowd created a great atmosphere today and I was proud to be in the technical area, representing the club. “But I am just thinking game by game, there is no time to worry about the job long-term. I was really pleased with the players responded today. We set out to end the run of defeats and if we could not win to make sure we did not lose, and it was good to see the things we worked on being executed on the pitch.” Nonetheless, he would have been disappointed, as a former defensive rock, with the manner of Swansea’s equaliser, conceded from a needlessly conceded corner headed home by a poorly marked Tammy Abraham, whose headed goal with 15 minutes left was his first in the Premier League since October. “I will look at it but I refuse to be disappointed about it because of the response of the players when they conceded,” he said. “They took control of the game again and showed a lot of composure and resilience and that brought a warmth to me.” With only five matches remaining and a 10-point gap to overhaul, however, such moments are likely to be fleeting consolation. And given the number of players coming to the end of contracts or with relegation release clauses they can trigger, whoever is in charge next year faces a major rebuilding job.
With Darren Moore at the helm for the moment after Alan Pardew’s departure at the start of the week, Albion ended their run of eight consecutive defeats with a point and possibly deserved more against a Swansea performance that was strangely lacking in ambition. Swansea are on the brink of making themselves safe – a scenario that seemed highly unlikely when Carlos Carvalhal took over a team that, in his words, were five points “below the water line” in December. Yet despite Albion’s run of eight consecutive Premier League defeats they seemed fearful of breaking into attack in case the gave the ball away. Only when Jay Rodriguez raised the prospect of a rare win for the home side, by scoring early in the second half from a poorly defended cross – arguably a goal that might have been ruled out for a handball in the build-up - did Swansea come to life. “I think that was a consequence of the last two games, against Tottenham and Manchester United, when we played a lot of the time without the ball,” Carvalhal said. “We knew it would be a difficult game because when a team changes the manager new players come into the team and there are new ideas. And the crowd gave the stadium a very positive atmosphere. Rodriguez's goal looked to have earned West Brom a long-awaited Premier League win Credit: REUTERS “But we need to do better with the ball. We have six games left, four at home, and the next time we will play more like we did when we conceded the goal. Today was not the way we play.” Nonetheless, after 100 days in charge the Portuguese coach, who was an eyebrow-raising appointment in the eyes of many Swansea fans after being sacked by Sheffield Wednesday only days earlier, has a record of 19 points from 12 matches and they may need no more than five or six more to be safe. Survival is probably a fanciful target for Albion now, although first-team coach Moore, a popular figure within the dressing room and on the terraces, declined to talk about the possibility of being the man to plot their return should they start next season in the Championship. Indeed, he does not want to discuss taking the manager’s job full time, whichever division they are in. “I have the qualifications to the job but my title is first-team coach and I enjoy the job,” he said. “The crowd created a great atmosphere today and I was proud to be in the technical area, representing the club. “But I am just thinking game by game, there is no time to worry about the job long-term. I was really pleased with the players responded today. We set out to end the run of defeats and if we could not win to make sure we did not lose, and it was good to see the things we worked on being executed on the pitch.” Nonetheless, he would have been disappointed, as a former defensive rock, with the manner of Swansea’s equaliser, conceded from a needlessly conceded corner headed home by a poorly marked Tammy Abraham, whose headed goal with 15 minutes left was his first in the Premier League since October. “I will look at it but I refuse to be disappointed about it because of the response of the players when they conceded,” he said. “They took control of the game again and showed a lot of composure and resilience and that brought a warmth to me.” With only five matches remaining and a 10-point gap to overhaul, however, such moments are likely to be fleeting consolation. And given the number of players coming to the end of contracts or with relegation release clauses they can trigger, whoever is in charge next year faces a major rebuilding job.
West Brom denied long-awaited win by late Tammy Abraham leveller for Swansea
With Darren Moore at the helm for the moment after Alan Pardew’s departure at the start of the week, Albion ended their run of eight consecutive defeats with a point and possibly deserved more against a Swansea performance that was strangely lacking in ambition. Swansea are on the brink of making themselves safe – a scenario that seemed highly unlikely when Carlos Carvalhal took over a team that, in his words, were five points “below the water line” in December. Yet despite Albion’s run of eight consecutive Premier League defeats they seemed fearful of breaking into attack in case the gave the ball away. Only when Jay Rodriguez raised the prospect of a rare win for the home side, by scoring early in the second half from a poorly defended cross – arguably a goal that might have been ruled out for a handball in the build-up - did Swansea come to life. “I think that was a consequence of the last two games, against Tottenham and Manchester United, when we played a lot of the time without the ball,” Carvalhal said. “We knew it would be a difficult game because when a team changes the manager new players come into the team and there are new ideas. And the crowd gave the stadium a very positive atmosphere. Rodriguez's goal looked to have earned West Brom a long-awaited Premier League win Credit: REUTERS “But we need to do better with the ball. We have six games left, four at home, and the next time we will play more like we did when we conceded the goal. Today was not the way we play.” Nonetheless, after 100 days in charge the Portuguese coach, who was an eyebrow-raising appointment in the eyes of many Swansea fans after being sacked by Sheffield Wednesday only days earlier, has a record of 19 points from 12 matches and they may need no more than five or six more to be safe. Survival is probably a fanciful target for Albion now, although first-team coach Moore, a popular figure within the dressing room and on the terraces, declined to talk about the possibility of being the man to plot their return should they start next season in the Championship. Indeed, he does not want to discuss taking the manager’s job full time, whichever division they are in. “I have the qualifications to the job but my title is first-team coach and I enjoy the job,” he said. “The crowd created a great atmosphere today and I was proud to be in the technical area, representing the club. “But I am just thinking game by game, there is no time to worry about the job long-term. I was really pleased with the players responded today. We set out to end the run of defeats and if we could not win to make sure we did not lose, and it was good to see the things we worked on being executed on the pitch.” Nonetheless, he would have been disappointed, as a former defensive rock, with the manner of Swansea’s equaliser, conceded from a needlessly conceded corner headed home by a poorly marked Tammy Abraham, whose headed goal with 15 minutes left was his first in the Premier League since October. “I will look at it but I refuse to be disappointed about it because of the response of the players when they conceded,” he said. “They took control of the game again and showed a lot of composure and resilience and that brought a warmth to me.” With only five matches remaining and a 10-point gap to overhaul, however, such moments are likely to be fleeting consolation. And given the number of players coming to the end of contracts or with relegation release clauses they can trigger, whoever is in charge next year faces a major rebuilding job.
Sheffield Wednesday 0 Fulham 1: Aleksandar Mitrovic piles promotion pressure on Championship rivals Cardiff
Sheffield Wednesday 0 Fulham 1: Aleksandar Mitrovic piles promotion pressure on Championship rivals Cardiff
Sheffield Wednesday 0 Fulham 1: Aleksandar Mitrovic piles promotion pressure on Championship rivals Cardiff
Sheffield Wednesday 0 Fulham 1: Aleksandar Mitrovic piles promotion pressure on Championship rivals Cardiff
Sheffield Wednesday 0 Fulham 1: Aleksandar Mitrovic piles promotion pressure on Championship rivals Cardiff
Sheffield Wednesday 0 Fulham 1: Aleksandar Mitrovic piles promotion pressure on Championship rivals Cardiff
Neil Warnock’s comeback to his ­beloved Bramall Lane ended in a fairytale finish, as one of his Cardiff City substitutes – Anthony Pilkington – rescued a point in injury time. Although Warnock’s Cardiff endured their eight-game winning run ­being ended, the exuberant ­celebrations after the equaliser showed what this meant, as they demonstrated the fighting spirit that has muscled them into the top two. Warnock said his players looked like they had “won the World Cup” when they came into the dressing room at full-time. It was all so hard to take for ­play-off chasing Sheffield United – a club that Warnock famously both supported and managed – after their impressive display. Watching the late Cardiff joy clearly hurt them. United manager Chris Wilder said afterwards that his men had been accused of being “smug” by opposition staff, “but that wasn’t our attitude”, indicating some ­lingering ill-feeling. Ultimately, United were not ­clinical, while Cardiff were, and that is a key difference between the clubs. Warnock, beaming with pride when he came in to his press conference. “It could be the best point of the season that, in the ­circumstances,” he said. “You never say never with our lot. Cloughie [Brian Clough] used to say it only takes a second to score a goal.” Warnock also gave a reminder of old times by criticising the officials, adding: “I thought he might have booked a couple of ball boys, too [for slowing the game down] - but they learned from me maybe.” Anthony Pilkington grabs Cardiff's late equaliser Credit: Richard Sellers/PA Ball boys aside, nothing could dampen Warnock’s enthusiasm ­after a timely result – with Wolves and Aston Villa being Cardiff’s next opponents. Wilder’s men had automatic ­promotion dreams of their own in the first half of the season – until Leon Clarke stopped scoring goals so prolifically. Perhaps it is a ­promising omen that the striker ended his 10-game drought here. The problem was that Clarke’s strike was all that they had to show for their efforts. Wilder said: “We dominated a side that are heading for the Premier League. When you play well, you’ve got to win.” Warnock had not managed against United at Bramall Lane since August 2010. He was greeted on his return here by a boggy pitch after earlier heavy snow. On that tricky surface, it was a scrappy start. United adjusted ­better and deservedly went ahead. Leon Clarke puts the Blades ahead Credit: Richard Sellers/PA Wire A well-worked move ended in John Lundstram supplying Clarke to score, as the striker sent an ­untidy 12-yard shot bobbling ­beyond Neil Etheridge. A slight ­deflection on the way, off Cardiff’s Bruno Ecuele Manga, did not help the goalkeeper’s cause. Cardiff carried on looking ­second best for the remainder of the half – but proceedings were livened up at half-time when Warnock brought on Gary Madine. The former ­Sheffield Wednesday striker made his presence felt on United ­defender Richard Stearman, annoying the crowd. “We needed him,” said Warnock. “We were a bit soft before.” Still, United should have finished them off as the second half went on. Clayton Donaldson came close, in the 77th minute, but struck a post from eight yards. United’s Lee Evans was then brought down by Sol Bamba in the area. “I thought it was a penalty,” said Wilder. “You’re hoping they give it. The linesman is looking right down the barrel of the gun of it. But he didn’t and those are the cruel realities of sport.” Wilder’s men were left to rue it when Pilkington – making a rare appearance - fired in, inside the penalty area. “By gum, we’ve got big hearts,” beamed Warnock, as he exited. He had left his stamp of Yorkshire grit on Sheffield, a place close to his own heart. Match details Sheffield United (3-5-1-1) Moore; Basham, Stearman (Wright 69), O’Connell; Baldock, Evans (Leonard 88), Lundstram, Fleck, Stevens; Brooks (Donaldson 72); Clarke. Subs Eastwood (g), Sharp, Lafferty, Holmes. Cardiff City (4-3-3)Etheridge; Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett; Paterson, Grujic, Gunnarsson; Mendez-Laing (Madine 46), Zohore (Pilkington 78), Hoilett (Wildschut 78). Subs Murphy (g), Peltier, Bryson, Ward. Booked Bennett. Referee Michael Oliver (Northumberland).
Sheffield Utd 1 Cardiff City 1: Anthony Pilkington equaliser gives ebullient Neil Warnock the last laugh
Neil Warnock’s comeback to his ­beloved Bramall Lane ended in a fairytale finish, as one of his Cardiff City substitutes – Anthony Pilkington – rescued a point in injury time. Although Warnock’s Cardiff endured their eight-game winning run ­being ended, the exuberant ­celebrations after the equaliser showed what this meant, as they demonstrated the fighting spirit that has muscled them into the top two. Warnock said his players looked like they had “won the World Cup” when they came into the dressing room at full-time. It was all so hard to take for ­play-off chasing Sheffield United – a club that Warnock famously both supported and managed – after their impressive display. Watching the late Cardiff joy clearly hurt them. United manager Chris Wilder said afterwards that his men had been accused of being “smug” by opposition staff, “but that wasn’t our attitude”, indicating some ­lingering ill-feeling. Ultimately, United were not ­clinical, while Cardiff were, and that is a key difference between the clubs. Warnock, beaming with pride when he came in to his press conference. “It could be the best point of the season that, in the ­circumstances,” he said. “You never say never with our lot. Cloughie [Brian Clough] used to say it only takes a second to score a goal.” Warnock also gave a reminder of old times by criticising the officials, adding: “I thought he might have booked a couple of ball boys, too [for slowing the game down] - but they learned from me maybe.” Anthony Pilkington grabs Cardiff's late equaliser Credit: Richard Sellers/PA Ball boys aside, nothing could dampen Warnock’s enthusiasm ­after a timely result – with Wolves and Aston Villa being Cardiff’s next opponents. Wilder’s men had automatic ­promotion dreams of their own in the first half of the season – until Leon Clarke stopped scoring goals so prolifically. Perhaps it is a ­promising omen that the striker ended his 10-game drought here. The problem was that Clarke’s strike was all that they had to show for their efforts. Wilder said: “We dominated a side that are heading for the Premier League. When you play well, you’ve got to win.” Warnock had not managed against United at Bramall Lane since August 2010. He was greeted on his return here by a boggy pitch after earlier heavy snow. On that tricky surface, it was a scrappy start. United adjusted ­better and deservedly went ahead. Leon Clarke puts the Blades ahead Credit: Richard Sellers/PA Wire A well-worked move ended in John Lundstram supplying Clarke to score, as the striker sent an ­untidy 12-yard shot bobbling ­beyond Neil Etheridge. A slight ­deflection on the way, off Cardiff’s Bruno Ecuele Manga, did not help the goalkeeper’s cause. Cardiff carried on looking ­second best for the remainder of the half – but proceedings were livened up at half-time when Warnock brought on Gary Madine. The former ­Sheffield Wednesday striker made his presence felt on United ­defender Richard Stearman, annoying the crowd. “We needed him,” said Warnock. “We were a bit soft before.” Still, United should have finished them off as the second half went on. Clayton Donaldson came close, in the 77th minute, but struck a post from eight yards. United’s Lee Evans was then brought down by Sol Bamba in the area. “I thought it was a penalty,” said Wilder. “You’re hoping they give it. The linesman is looking right down the barrel of the gun of it. But he didn’t and those are the cruel realities of sport.” Wilder’s men were left to rue it when Pilkington – making a rare appearance - fired in, inside the penalty area. “By gum, we’ve got big hearts,” beamed Warnock, as he exited. He had left his stamp of Yorkshire grit on Sheffield, a place close to his own heart. Match details Sheffield United (3-5-1-1) Moore; Basham, Stearman (Wright 69), O’Connell; Baldock, Evans (Leonard 88), Lundstram, Fleck, Stevens; Brooks (Donaldson 72); Clarke. Subs Eastwood (g), Sharp, Lafferty, Holmes. Cardiff City (4-3-3)Etheridge; Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett; Paterson, Grujic, Gunnarsson; Mendez-Laing (Madine 46), Zohore (Pilkington 78), Hoilett (Wildschut 78). Subs Murphy (g), Peltier, Bryson, Ward. Booked Bennett. Referee Michael Oliver (Northumberland).
Neil Warnock’s comeback to his ­beloved Bramall Lane ended in a fairytale finish, as one of his Cardiff City substitutes – Anthony Pilkington – rescued a point in injury time. Although Warnock’s Cardiff endured their eight-game winning run ­being ended, the exuberant ­celebrations after the equaliser showed what this meant, as they demonstrated the fighting spirit that has muscled them into the top two. Warnock said his players looked like they had “won the World Cup” when they came into the dressing room at full-time. It was all so hard to take for ­play-off chasing Sheffield United – a club that Warnock famously both supported and managed – after their impressive display. Watching the late Cardiff joy clearly hurt them. United manager Chris Wilder said afterwards that his men had been accused of being “smug” by opposition staff, “but that wasn’t our attitude”, indicating some ­lingering ill-feeling. Ultimately, United were not ­clinical, while Cardiff were, and that is a key difference between the clubs. Warnock, beaming with pride when he came in to his press conference. “It could be the best point of the season that, in the ­circumstances,” he said. “You never say never with our lot. Cloughie [Brian Clough] used to say it only takes a second to score a goal.” Warnock also gave a reminder of old times by criticising the officials, adding: “I thought he might have booked a couple of ball boys, too [for slowing the game down] - but they learned from me maybe.” Anthony Pilkington grabs Cardiff's late equaliser Credit: Richard Sellers/PA Ball boys aside, nothing could dampen Warnock’s enthusiasm ­after a timely result – with Wolves and Aston Villa being Cardiff’s next opponents. Wilder’s men had automatic ­promotion dreams of their own in the first half of the season – until Leon Clarke stopped scoring goals so prolifically. Perhaps it is a ­promising omen that the striker ended his 10-game drought here. The problem was that Clarke’s strike was all that they had to show for their efforts. Wilder said: “We dominated a side that are heading for the Premier League. When you play well, you’ve got to win.” Warnock had not managed against United at Bramall Lane since August 2010. He was greeted on his return here by a boggy pitch after earlier heavy snow. On that tricky surface, it was a scrappy start. United adjusted ­better and deservedly went ahead. Leon Clarke puts the Blades ahead Credit: Richard Sellers/PA Wire A well-worked move ended in John Lundstram supplying Clarke to score, as the striker sent an ­untidy 12-yard shot bobbling ­beyond Neil Etheridge. A slight ­deflection on the way, off Cardiff’s Bruno Ecuele Manga, did not help the goalkeeper’s cause. Cardiff carried on looking ­second best for the remainder of the half – but proceedings were livened up at half-time when Warnock brought on Gary Madine. The former ­Sheffield Wednesday striker made his presence felt on United ­defender Richard Stearman, annoying the crowd. “We needed him,” said Warnock. “We were a bit soft before.” Still, United should have finished them off as the second half went on. Clayton Donaldson came close, in the 77th minute, but struck a post from eight yards. United’s Lee Evans was then brought down by Sol Bamba in the area. “I thought it was a penalty,” said Wilder. “You’re hoping they give it. The linesman is looking right down the barrel of the gun of it. But he didn’t and those are the cruel realities of sport.” Wilder’s men were left to rue it when Pilkington – making a rare appearance - fired in, inside the penalty area. “By gum, we’ve got big hearts,” beamed Warnock, as he exited. He had left his stamp of Yorkshire grit on Sheffield, a place close to his own heart. Match details Sheffield United (3-5-1-1) Moore; Basham, Stearman (Wright 69), O’Connell; Baldock, Evans (Leonard 88), Lundstram, Fleck, Stevens; Brooks (Donaldson 72); Clarke. Subs Eastwood (g), Sharp, Lafferty, Holmes. Cardiff City (4-3-3)Etheridge; Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett; Paterson, Grujic, Gunnarsson; Mendez-Laing (Madine 46), Zohore (Pilkington 78), Hoilett (Wildschut 78). Subs Murphy (g), Peltier, Bryson, Ward. Booked Bennett. Referee Michael Oliver (Northumberland).
Sheffield Utd 1 Cardiff City 1: Anthony Pilkington equaliser gives ebullient Neil Warnock the last laugh
Neil Warnock’s comeback to his ­beloved Bramall Lane ended in a fairytale finish, as one of his Cardiff City substitutes – Anthony Pilkington – rescued a point in injury time. Although Warnock’s Cardiff endured their eight-game winning run ­being ended, the exuberant ­celebrations after the equaliser showed what this meant, as they demonstrated the fighting spirit that has muscled them into the top two. Warnock said his players looked like they had “won the World Cup” when they came into the dressing room at full-time. It was all so hard to take for ­play-off chasing Sheffield United – a club that Warnock famously both supported and managed – after their impressive display. Watching the late Cardiff joy clearly hurt them. United manager Chris Wilder said afterwards that his men had been accused of being “smug” by opposition staff, “but that wasn’t our attitude”, indicating some ­lingering ill-feeling. Ultimately, United were not ­clinical, while Cardiff were, and that is a key difference between the clubs. Warnock, beaming with pride when he came in to his press conference. “It could be the best point of the season that, in the ­circumstances,” he said. “You never say never with our lot. Cloughie [Brian Clough] used to say it only takes a second to score a goal.” Warnock also gave a reminder of old times by criticising the officials, adding: “I thought he might have booked a couple of ball boys, too [for slowing the game down] - but they learned from me maybe.” Anthony Pilkington grabs Cardiff's late equaliser Credit: Richard Sellers/PA Ball boys aside, nothing could dampen Warnock’s enthusiasm ­after a timely result – with Wolves and Aston Villa being Cardiff’s next opponents. Wilder’s men had automatic ­promotion dreams of their own in the first half of the season – until Leon Clarke stopped scoring goals so prolifically. Perhaps it is a ­promising omen that the striker ended his 10-game drought here. The problem was that Clarke’s strike was all that they had to show for their efforts. Wilder said: “We dominated a side that are heading for the Premier League. When you play well, you’ve got to win.” Warnock had not managed against United at Bramall Lane since August 2010. He was greeted on his return here by a boggy pitch after earlier heavy snow. On that tricky surface, it was a scrappy start. United adjusted ­better and deservedly went ahead. Leon Clarke puts the Blades ahead Credit: Richard Sellers/PA Wire A well-worked move ended in John Lundstram supplying Clarke to score, as the striker sent an ­untidy 12-yard shot bobbling ­beyond Neil Etheridge. A slight ­deflection on the way, off Cardiff’s Bruno Ecuele Manga, did not help the goalkeeper’s cause. Cardiff carried on looking ­second best for the remainder of the half – but proceedings were livened up at half-time when Warnock brought on Gary Madine. The former ­Sheffield Wednesday striker made his presence felt on United ­defender Richard Stearman, annoying the crowd. “We needed him,” said Warnock. “We were a bit soft before.” Still, United should have finished them off as the second half went on. Clayton Donaldson came close, in the 77th minute, but struck a post from eight yards. United’s Lee Evans was then brought down by Sol Bamba in the area. “I thought it was a penalty,” said Wilder. “You’re hoping they give it. The linesman is looking right down the barrel of the gun of it. But he didn’t and those are the cruel realities of sport.” Wilder’s men were left to rue it when Pilkington – making a rare appearance - fired in, inside the penalty area. “By gum, we’ve got big hearts,” beamed Warnock, as he exited. He had left his stamp of Yorkshire grit on Sheffield, a place close to his own heart. Match details Sheffield United (3-5-1-1) Moore; Basham, Stearman (Wright 69), O’Connell; Baldock, Evans (Leonard 88), Lundstram, Fleck, Stevens; Brooks (Donaldson 72); Clarke. Subs Eastwood (g), Sharp, Lafferty, Holmes. Cardiff City (4-3-3)Etheridge; Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett; Paterson, Grujic, Gunnarsson; Mendez-Laing (Madine 46), Zohore (Pilkington 78), Hoilett (Wildschut 78). Subs Murphy (g), Peltier, Bryson, Ward. Booked Bennett. Referee Michael Oliver (Northumberland).
Neil Warnock’s comeback to his ­beloved Bramall Lane ended in a fairytale finish, as one of his Cardiff City substitutes – Anthony Pilkington – rescued a point in injury time. Although Warnock’s Cardiff endured their eight-game winning run ­being ended, the exuberant ­celebrations after the equaliser showed what this meant, as they demonstrated the fighting spirit that has muscled them into the top two. Warnock said his players looked like they had “won the World Cup” when they came into the dressing room at full-time. It was all so hard to take for ­play-off chasing Sheffield United – a club that Warnock famously both supported and managed – after their impressive display. Watching the late Cardiff joy clearly hurt them. United manager Chris Wilder said afterwards that his men had been accused of being “smug” by opposition staff, “but that wasn’t our attitude”, indicating some ­lingering ill-feeling. Ultimately, United were not ­clinical, while Cardiff were, and that is a key difference between the clubs. Warnock, beaming with pride when he came in to his press conference. “It could be the best point of the season that, in the ­circumstances,” he said. “You never say never with our lot. Cloughie [Brian Clough] used to say it only takes a second to score a goal.” Warnock also gave a reminder of old times by criticising the officials, adding: “I thought he might have booked a couple of ball boys, too [for slowing the game down] - but they learned from me maybe.” Anthony Pilkington grabs Cardiff's late equaliser Credit: Richard Sellers/PA Ball boys aside, nothing could dampen Warnock’s enthusiasm ­after a timely result – with Wolves and Aston Villa being Cardiff’s next opponents. Wilder’s men had automatic ­promotion dreams of their own in the first half of the season – until Leon Clarke stopped scoring goals so prolifically. Perhaps it is a ­promising omen that the striker ended his 10-game drought here. The problem was that Clarke’s strike was all that they had to show for their efforts. Wilder said: “We dominated a side that are heading for the Premier League. When you play well, you’ve got to win.” Warnock had not managed against United at Bramall Lane since August 2010. He was greeted on his return here by a boggy pitch after earlier heavy snow. On that tricky surface, it was a scrappy start. United adjusted ­better and deservedly went ahead. Leon Clarke puts the Blades ahead Credit: Richard Sellers/PA Wire A well-worked move ended in John Lundstram supplying Clarke to score, as the striker sent an ­untidy 12-yard shot bobbling ­beyond Neil Etheridge. A slight ­deflection on the way, off Cardiff’s Bruno Ecuele Manga, did not help the goalkeeper’s cause. Cardiff carried on looking ­second best for the remainder of the half – but proceedings were livened up at half-time when Warnock brought on Gary Madine. The former ­Sheffield Wednesday striker made his presence felt on United ­defender Richard Stearman, annoying the crowd. “We needed him,” said Warnock. “We were a bit soft before.” Still, United should have finished them off as the second half went on. Clayton Donaldson came close, in the 77th minute, but struck a post from eight yards. United’s Lee Evans was then brought down by Sol Bamba in the area. “I thought it was a penalty,” said Wilder. “You’re hoping they give it. The linesman is looking right down the barrel of the gun of it. But he didn’t and those are the cruel realities of sport.” Wilder’s men were left to rue it when Pilkington – making a rare appearance - fired in, inside the penalty area. “By gum, we’ve got big hearts,” beamed Warnock, as he exited. He had left his stamp of Yorkshire grit on Sheffield, a place close to his own heart. Match details Sheffield United (3-5-1-1) Moore; Basham, Stearman (Wright 69), O’Connell; Baldock, Evans (Leonard 88), Lundstram, Fleck, Stevens; Brooks (Donaldson 72); Clarke. Subs Eastwood (g), Sharp, Lafferty, Holmes. Cardiff City (4-3-3)Etheridge; Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett; Paterson, Grujic, Gunnarsson; Mendez-Laing (Madine 46), Zohore (Pilkington 78), Hoilett (Wildschut 78). Subs Murphy (g), Peltier, Bryson, Ward. Booked Bennett. Referee Michael Oliver (Northumberland).
Sheffield Utd 1 Cardiff City 1: Anthony Pilkington equaliser gives ebullient Neil Warnock the last laugh
Neil Warnock’s comeback to his ­beloved Bramall Lane ended in a fairytale finish, as one of his Cardiff City substitutes – Anthony Pilkington – rescued a point in injury time. Although Warnock’s Cardiff endured their eight-game winning run ­being ended, the exuberant ­celebrations after the equaliser showed what this meant, as they demonstrated the fighting spirit that has muscled them into the top two. Warnock said his players looked like they had “won the World Cup” when they came into the dressing room at full-time. It was all so hard to take for ­play-off chasing Sheffield United – a club that Warnock famously both supported and managed – after their impressive display. Watching the late Cardiff joy clearly hurt them. United manager Chris Wilder said afterwards that his men had been accused of being “smug” by opposition staff, “but that wasn’t our attitude”, indicating some ­lingering ill-feeling. Ultimately, United were not ­clinical, while Cardiff were, and that is a key difference between the clubs. Warnock, beaming with pride when he came in to his press conference. “It could be the best point of the season that, in the ­circumstances,” he said. “You never say never with our lot. Cloughie [Brian Clough] used to say it only takes a second to score a goal.” Warnock also gave a reminder of old times by criticising the officials, adding: “I thought he might have booked a couple of ball boys, too [for slowing the game down] - but they learned from me maybe.” Anthony Pilkington grabs Cardiff's late equaliser Credit: Richard Sellers/PA Ball boys aside, nothing could dampen Warnock’s enthusiasm ­after a timely result – with Wolves and Aston Villa being Cardiff’s next opponents. Wilder’s men had automatic ­promotion dreams of their own in the first half of the season – until Leon Clarke stopped scoring goals so prolifically. Perhaps it is a ­promising omen that the striker ended his 10-game drought here. The problem was that Clarke’s strike was all that they had to show for their efforts. Wilder said: “We dominated a side that are heading for the Premier League. When you play well, you’ve got to win.” Warnock had not managed against United at Bramall Lane since August 2010. He was greeted on his return here by a boggy pitch after earlier heavy snow. On that tricky surface, it was a scrappy start. United adjusted ­better and deservedly went ahead. Leon Clarke puts the Blades ahead Credit: Richard Sellers/PA Wire A well-worked move ended in John Lundstram supplying Clarke to score, as the striker sent an ­untidy 12-yard shot bobbling ­beyond Neil Etheridge. A slight ­deflection on the way, off Cardiff’s Bruno Ecuele Manga, did not help the goalkeeper’s cause. Cardiff carried on looking ­second best for the remainder of the half – but proceedings were livened up at half-time when Warnock brought on Gary Madine. The former ­Sheffield Wednesday striker made his presence felt on United ­defender Richard Stearman, annoying the crowd. “We needed him,” said Warnock. “We were a bit soft before.” Still, United should have finished them off as the second half went on. Clayton Donaldson came close, in the 77th minute, but struck a post from eight yards. United’s Lee Evans was then brought down by Sol Bamba in the area. “I thought it was a penalty,” said Wilder. “You’re hoping they give it. The linesman is looking right down the barrel of the gun of it. But he didn’t and those are the cruel realities of sport.” Wilder’s men were left to rue it when Pilkington – making a rare appearance - fired in, inside the penalty area. “By gum, we’ve got big hearts,” beamed Warnock, as he exited. He had left his stamp of Yorkshire grit on Sheffield, a place close to his own heart. Match details Sheffield United (3-5-1-1) Moore; Basham, Stearman (Wright 69), O’Connell; Baldock, Evans (Leonard 88), Lundstram, Fleck, Stevens; Brooks (Donaldson 72); Clarke. Subs Eastwood (g), Sharp, Lafferty, Holmes. Cardiff City (4-3-3)Etheridge; Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett; Paterson, Grujic, Gunnarsson; Mendez-Laing (Madine 46), Zohore (Pilkington 78), Hoilett (Wildschut 78). Subs Murphy (g), Peltier, Bryson, Ward. Booked Bennett. Referee Michael Oliver (Northumberland).
Sunderland's mini-revival was halted by Sheffield Wednesday, while the play-off race took an interesting turn.
Championship Review: Sunderland slip further towards drop, Bristol City suffer play-off blow
Sunderland's mini-revival was halted by Sheffield Wednesday, while the play-off race took an interesting turn.
Sheffield Wednesday’s captain, Tom Lees, wheels away after scoring at the Stadium of Light.
Football League: Sunderland survival bid hit, Northampton sack Hasselbaink
Sheffield Wednesday’s captain, Tom Lees, wheels away after scoring at the Stadium of Light.
Hope is fragile thing for Sunderland, a gentle flame too easily extinguished. Having pulled off a shock victory at promotion chasing Derby County on Good Friday, rekindling belief they could avoid relegation, Chris Coleman’s side predictably followed it up with a painful home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday. It has been like this for far too long, it has become a habit, first in the Premier League and now in the Championship. League One beckons. Sunderland have not won two games in a row since November 2016 and this was their 12th home defeat of the season. Even when they play reasonably well, they still manage to lose. That is one of the worst things you can say about a football team. With six games left to play and with just one win in their last 14, the Black Cats are five points from safety. They look doomed. After spending so long clinging on to their place in the Premier League, surviving but never anything more during a decade long-stay in the top flight, the Black Cats look as though they will tumble through the Championship without even so much as gaining a foothold. To put the scale of their demise into some sort of context, only four teams have previously been relegated from the second tier in English football the year after falling out of the top division. “We did more than enough today to come away with a good result and I haven’t always been able to say that,” said Coleman. “I can’t fault us, but I can fault the referee. He should have given us a penalty and they should have been down to ten men and the game is very different. “We conceded two soft goals, but overall it’s difficult to say to the players they’ve played badly. The thing is, I’d rather play badly and win. We just haven’t had any luck. We had the performance, but not the result. “We’re not giving up, we can beat any team in this division, we’ve seen that already this season, so it’s not inconceivable we can still stay up. If we hadn’t had the performances we’ve had in the last two games, maybe I wouldn’t believe that, but I do. It’s still possible.” Indeed, Sunderland were the better team for much of the first half, Donald Love firing over from distance before free-kicks from Bryan Oviedo and Aiden McGeady were saved by Joe Wildsmith. The second-half was more entertaining as Wednesday took the lead, against the run of play, with their first shot on target, Lucas Joao smashing home a knockdown from Atdhe Nuhiu. Chris Coleman has refused to give up on surviving relegation Credit: GETTY IMAGES Sunderland responded immediately, George Honeyman heading in Lynden Gooch’s excellent cross to the far post. The home side looked the more likely to score a second and had a strong penalty appeal turned down, but it was the visitors who did thanks to some terrible defending at a set piece, goalkeeper Lee Camp motionless as the ball flew over four Sunderland players and was tapped in by Tom Lees. A few minutes later, Wednesday killed the game with a third goal from Nuhiu, as Sunderland once again failed to deal with a cross in the box. “We didn’t have a lot of chances but we were very efficient when we did,” said Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay. “Sunderland had the chances to score more than one goal, but we had a fantastic goalkeeping performance when we needed it. We have moved away from the dangerous situation at the bottom of the table and can look forward to the remainder of the season.” Lineups Sunderland (4-2-3-1) Camp, Love, O’Shea, Wilson, Oviedo (Matthews 64), Cattermole, McNair, Honeyman (Ejaria 83), McGeady, Gooch (Asoro 83), Fletcher Subs: Steele, LuaLua, McManaman, Maja. Sheffield Wednesday (4-2-3-1) Wildsmith, Hint, Vanancio, Lees, Fox (Thorniley 8), Boyd, Pelupessy, Bannan (Jones 83), Joao, Reach, Nuhiu Subs: Dawson, Rhodes, Butterfield, Matias, Forestieri Attendance: 29,786 Referee: Simon Hooper.
Sunderland 1 Sheffield Wednesday 3: League One beckons for Chris Coleman's sorry side
Hope is fragile thing for Sunderland, a gentle flame too easily extinguished. Having pulled off a shock victory at promotion chasing Derby County on Good Friday, rekindling belief they could avoid relegation, Chris Coleman’s side predictably followed it up with a painful home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday. It has been like this for far too long, it has become a habit, first in the Premier League and now in the Championship. League One beckons. Sunderland have not won two games in a row since November 2016 and this was their 12th home defeat of the season. Even when they play reasonably well, they still manage to lose. That is one of the worst things you can say about a football team. With six games left to play and with just one win in their last 14, the Black Cats are five points from safety. They look doomed. After spending so long clinging on to their place in the Premier League, surviving but never anything more during a decade long-stay in the top flight, the Black Cats look as though they will tumble through the Championship without even so much as gaining a foothold. To put the scale of their demise into some sort of context, only four teams have previously been relegated from the second tier in English football the year after falling out of the top division. “We did more than enough today to come away with a good result and I haven’t always been able to say that,” said Coleman. “I can’t fault us, but I can fault the referee. He should have given us a penalty and they should have been down to ten men and the game is very different. “We conceded two soft goals, but overall it’s difficult to say to the players they’ve played badly. The thing is, I’d rather play badly and win. We just haven’t had any luck. We had the performance, but not the result. “We’re not giving up, we can beat any team in this division, we’ve seen that already this season, so it’s not inconceivable we can still stay up. If we hadn’t had the performances we’ve had in the last two games, maybe I wouldn’t believe that, but I do. It’s still possible.” Indeed, Sunderland were the better team for much of the first half, Donald Love firing over from distance before free-kicks from Bryan Oviedo and Aiden McGeady were saved by Joe Wildsmith. The second-half was more entertaining as Wednesday took the lead, against the run of play, with their first shot on target, Lucas Joao smashing home a knockdown from Atdhe Nuhiu. Chris Coleman has refused to give up on surviving relegation Credit: GETTY IMAGES Sunderland responded immediately, George Honeyman heading in Lynden Gooch’s excellent cross to the far post. The home side looked the more likely to score a second and had a strong penalty appeal turned down, but it was the visitors who did thanks to some terrible defending at a set piece, goalkeeper Lee Camp motionless as the ball flew over four Sunderland players and was tapped in by Tom Lees. A few minutes later, Wednesday killed the game with a third goal from Nuhiu, as Sunderland once again failed to deal with a cross in the box. “We didn’t have a lot of chances but we were very efficient when we did,” said Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay. “Sunderland had the chances to score more than one goal, but we had a fantastic goalkeeping performance when we needed it. We have moved away from the dangerous situation at the bottom of the table and can look forward to the remainder of the season.” Lineups Sunderland (4-2-3-1) Camp, Love, O’Shea, Wilson, Oviedo (Matthews 64), Cattermole, McNair, Honeyman (Ejaria 83), McGeady, Gooch (Asoro 83), Fletcher Subs: Steele, LuaLua, McManaman, Maja. Sheffield Wednesday (4-2-3-1) Wildsmith, Hint, Vanancio, Lees, Fox (Thorniley 8), Boyd, Pelupessy, Bannan (Jones 83), Joao, Reach, Nuhiu Subs: Dawson, Rhodes, Butterfield, Matias, Forestieri Attendance: 29,786 Referee: Simon Hooper.
Hope is fragile thing for Sunderland, a gentle flame too easily extinguished. Having pulled off a shock victory at promotion chasing Derby County on Good Friday, rekindling belief they could avoid relegation, Chris Coleman’s side predictably followed it up with a painful home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday. It has been like this for far too long, it has become a habit, first in the Premier League and now in the Championship. League One beckons. Sunderland have not won two games in a row since November 2016 and this was their 12th home defeat of the season. Even when they play reasonably well, they still manage to lose. That is one of the worst things you can say about a football team. With six games left to play and with just one win in their last 14, the Black Cats are five points from safety. They look doomed. After spending so long clinging on to their place in the Premier League, surviving but never anything more during a decade long-stay in the top flight, the Black Cats look as though they will tumble through the Championship without even so much as gaining a foothold. To put the scale of their demise into some sort of context, only four teams have previously been relegated from the second tier in English football the year after falling out of the top division. “We did more than enough today to come away with a good result and I haven’t always been able to say that,” said Coleman. “I can’t fault us, but I can fault the referee. He should have given us a penalty and they should have been down to ten men and the game is very different. “We conceded two soft goals, but overall it’s difficult to say to the players they’ve played badly. The thing is, I’d rather play badly and win. We just haven’t had any luck. We had the performance, but not the result. “We’re not giving up, we can beat any team in this division, we’ve seen that already this season, so it’s not inconceivable we can still stay up. If we hadn’t had the performances we’ve had in the last two games, maybe I wouldn’t believe that, but I do. It’s still possible.” Indeed, Sunderland were the better team for much of the first half, Donald Love firing over from distance before free-kicks from Bryan Oviedo and Aiden McGeady were saved by Joe Wildsmith. The second-half was more entertaining as Wednesday took the lead, against the run of play, with their first shot on target, Lucas Joao smashing home a knockdown from Atdhe Nuhiu. Chris Coleman has refused to give up on surviving relegation Credit: GETTY IMAGES Sunderland responded immediately, George Honeyman heading in Lynden Gooch’s excellent cross to the far post. The home side looked the more likely to score a second and had a strong penalty appeal turned down, but it was the visitors who did thanks to some terrible defending at a set piece, goalkeeper Lee Camp motionless as the ball flew over four Sunderland players and was tapped in by Tom Lees. A few minutes later, Wednesday killed the game with a third goal from Nuhiu, as Sunderland once again failed to deal with a cross in the box. “We didn’t have a lot of chances but we were very efficient when we did,” said Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay. “Sunderland had the chances to score more than one goal, but we had a fantastic goalkeeping performance when we needed it. We have moved away from the dangerous situation at the bottom of the table and can look forward to the remainder of the season.” Lineups Sunderland (4-2-3-1) Camp, Love, O’Shea, Wilson, Oviedo (Matthews 64), Cattermole, McNair, Honeyman (Ejaria 83), McGeady, Gooch (Asoro 83), Fletcher Subs: Steele, LuaLua, McManaman, Maja. Sheffield Wednesday (4-2-3-1) Wildsmith, Hint, Vanancio, Lees, Fox (Thorniley 8), Boyd, Pelupessy, Bannan (Jones 83), Joao, Reach, Nuhiu Subs: Dawson, Rhodes, Butterfield, Matias, Forestieri Attendance: 29,786 Referee: Simon Hooper.
Sunderland 1 Sheffield Wednesday 3: League One beckons for Chris Coleman's sorry side
Hope is fragile thing for Sunderland, a gentle flame too easily extinguished. Having pulled off a shock victory at promotion chasing Derby County on Good Friday, rekindling belief they could avoid relegation, Chris Coleman’s side predictably followed it up with a painful home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday. It has been like this for far too long, it has become a habit, first in the Premier League and now in the Championship. League One beckons. Sunderland have not won two games in a row since November 2016 and this was their 12th home defeat of the season. Even when they play reasonably well, they still manage to lose. That is one of the worst things you can say about a football team. With six games left to play and with just one win in their last 14, the Black Cats are five points from safety. They look doomed. After spending so long clinging on to their place in the Premier League, surviving but never anything more during a decade long-stay in the top flight, the Black Cats look as though they will tumble through the Championship without even so much as gaining a foothold. To put the scale of their demise into some sort of context, only four teams have previously been relegated from the second tier in English football the year after falling out of the top division. “We did more than enough today to come away with a good result and I haven’t always been able to say that,” said Coleman. “I can’t fault us, but I can fault the referee. He should have given us a penalty and they should have been down to ten men and the game is very different. “We conceded two soft goals, but overall it’s difficult to say to the players they’ve played badly. The thing is, I’d rather play badly and win. We just haven’t had any luck. We had the performance, but not the result. “We’re not giving up, we can beat any team in this division, we’ve seen that already this season, so it’s not inconceivable we can still stay up. If we hadn’t had the performances we’ve had in the last two games, maybe I wouldn’t believe that, but I do. It’s still possible.” Indeed, Sunderland were the better team for much of the first half, Donald Love firing over from distance before free-kicks from Bryan Oviedo and Aiden McGeady were saved by Joe Wildsmith. The second-half was more entertaining as Wednesday took the lead, against the run of play, with their first shot on target, Lucas Joao smashing home a knockdown from Atdhe Nuhiu. Chris Coleman has refused to give up on surviving relegation Credit: GETTY IMAGES Sunderland responded immediately, George Honeyman heading in Lynden Gooch’s excellent cross to the far post. The home side looked the more likely to score a second and had a strong penalty appeal turned down, but it was the visitors who did thanks to some terrible defending at a set piece, goalkeeper Lee Camp motionless as the ball flew over four Sunderland players and was tapped in by Tom Lees. A few minutes later, Wednesday killed the game with a third goal from Nuhiu, as Sunderland once again failed to deal with a cross in the box. “We didn’t have a lot of chances but we were very efficient when we did,” said Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay. “Sunderland had the chances to score more than one goal, but we had a fantastic goalkeeping performance when we needed it. We have moved away from the dangerous situation at the bottom of the table and can look forward to the remainder of the season.” Lineups Sunderland (4-2-3-1) Camp, Love, O’Shea, Wilson, Oviedo (Matthews 64), Cattermole, McNair, Honeyman (Ejaria 83), McGeady, Gooch (Asoro 83), Fletcher Subs: Steele, LuaLua, McManaman, Maja. Sheffield Wednesday (4-2-3-1) Wildsmith, Hint, Vanancio, Lees, Fox (Thorniley 8), Boyd, Pelupessy, Bannan (Jones 83), Joao, Reach, Nuhiu Subs: Dawson, Rhodes, Butterfield, Matias, Forestieri Attendance: 29,786 Referee: Simon Hooper.
Sunderland 1 Sheffield Wednesday 3: League One beckons for Chris Coleman's sorry side
Sunderland 1 Sheffield Wednesday 3: League One beckons for Chris Coleman's sorry side
Sunderland 1 Sheffield Wednesday 3: League One beckons for Chris Coleman's sorry side
Sunderland 1 Sheffield Wednesday 3: League One beckons for Chris Coleman's sorry side
Sunderland 1 Sheffield Wednesday 3: League One beckons for Chris Coleman's sorry side
Sunderland 1 Sheffield Wednesday 3: League One beckons for Chris Coleman's sorry side

What to read next

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes