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Wednesday 2-1 Coventry

2 - 1
Coventry City


21/04/07 - 15:00

Attendance: 23,632


The Owls moved to within two points of the Championship play-offs and stretched their winning run to a superb eleven matches with a hard-fought victory over Iain Dowie's battling Sky Blues side on Saturday.

Goals from Marcus Tudgay and Steve Maclean were enough to give Brian Laws men all three points - but it was anything but a vintage performance from the boys in blue and white as Coventry battled hard to try and de-rail the Owls' promotion hopes.

Wednesday boss Brian Laws made two changes to the side that beat West Brom last time out with Leon Clarke coming in to the side at the expense of Steve Maclean and Steve Watson also returning to the starting eleven with Kenny Lunt dropping to the bench.

There was also the inclusion of Jermaine Johnson on the bench after the former Bradford winger continued his recovery from chicken pox, while Iain Turner made his final appearances in the Owls keeper jersey this term before being recalled to Everton.

The Owls were keen to continue their march up the table with victory over the Sky Blues, but Iain Dowie's men were equally desperate to make amends for the 4-0 drubbing at home to Preston last weekend - and the opening ten minutes saw openings for both teams.

Leon Clarke had the first chance of the match when Marcus Tudgay nodded on a Steve Watson ball only to see the young striker shoot straight at City stopper Andy Marshall.

And at the other end former Brentford winger Jay Tabb saw his shot go high and wide of Turner's goal from close range after some good work from Liam Davis.

But Wednesday soon took control of proceedings after typically neat link-up play between Deon Burton and goalscorer Tudgay on 17 minutes.

The former Derby duo have shown in previous matches what a deadly duo they can be in the Owls attack, and Burton controlled a Tudgay pass well before laying the winger on for a neat finish just inside the Coventry box which Marshall could do little about.

There was little fine football being played in the opening stages, with Coventry setting up to stop the Owls attacks in any way possible with some crunching tackles.

But it was a bad challenge from Tudgay in the middle of the park which forced the goalscorer off the pitch prematurely to be replaced by pacey winger Jermaine Johnson, who got a huge cheer coming on to the pitch.

And to their credit the visitors hit back with Turner being forced in to action to tip a dangerous Stephen Hughes free-kick over the bar before former Sheffield United defender Robert Page almost silenced the boo boys as his header from the resulting corner went over the bar.

Sky Blues target man Dele Adebola was being his usually problematic self in the City attack and the former Birmingham City hitman almost drew the visitors level before the half hour mark but he fired his effort from the edge of the box wide of goal.

Despite the early superb link-up play between Burton and Tudgay Wednesday were showing little signs of doubling their advantage with the best chances falling from long-range with sub Johnson seeing his deflected effort drift wide before Marshall did well to punch an inswinging Brunt free-kick away from danger.

While at the other end the little and large combination of Adebola and the tricky striker Michael Mifsud was beginning to cause the Owls defence a number of problems, not least when the latter sprinted his way in to the box before rifling the leveller home eight minutes before half-time.

Half-Time: Wednesday 1-1 Coventry

Owls boss Brian Laws made a change at half-time as he looked to make Wednesday more dangerous in attack with Steve Maclean coming on in place of Leon Clarke.

But Coventry continued their attacking momentum in to the second half and made the brighter start as Mifsud continued to cause Richard Wood problems at the back and put in Tabb at the edge of the box, only to see his shot fire well over the Owls crossbar.

And the hosts continued to look the more dangerous on the attack, with Wednesday's attacking options reduced when Deon Burton was forced off for Chrus Brunt to partner Maclean in the Wednesday attack and Peter Gilbert to come in on the right-wing.

But the trio linked up well minutes later to regain the advantage for the hosts.

Wednesday's counter attacking play has been key to a lot of their success this season, and Gilbert sprinted down the left-hand side to release Brunt, who saw his initial effort well saved by Marshall before Maclean's goalscoring instincts saw him mop up the rebound to regain the Owls advantage to the obvious relief of the majority inside Hillsborough.

But Wednesday had to work hard to get their victory, and also make the most of the luck that came their way late on.

Jay Tabb tested Turner from long range before the Sky Blues hit the woodwork twice in a minute from Mifsud and Thornton.

But Wednesday clung on to get their fifth win on the bounceand keep alive their slim hopes of achieving a play-off place with just two matches remaining this season.

Full-Time: Wednesday 2-1 Coventry

Wednesday: Turner, Bullen, Wood, Simek, Spurr, Whelan, Tudgay (Johnson 29), Brunt, Watson, Burton (Gilbert 64), Clarke (MacLean 46). Subs not used: Adamson, Lunt.

Coventry: Marshall, Hall, Page, Ward, Mifsud, Hughes, Osbourne, Tabb (Kyle 80), McNamee, Adebola, Davis (Thornton 72). Subs Not Used: Steele, Birchall, Turner.

Attendance: 23,632.

Brian Laws told BBC Sport:

'It wasn't a fluent effort today.

'They got in our faces and we had to work hard, but everyone agrees it is not the performance that we're looking for at the moment - it's the result.

'I know we're getting closer. It was another win for us and it gives us another bite at the cherry.'

Iain Dowie told BBC Sport:

'We've had six great chances to score a second. We've got the worst record of scoring away from home in the league and that tells its own story.

'We created chances at will today but if you don't score you're in trouble.

'Since I've been here it's not been too bad but we haven't solved our away from home problem and it's something I'll be looking at in the summer.'

Date:Sunday April 22 2007
Time: 3:49PM

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League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Newcastle 27 19 1 7 58 33
2 Brighton 26 17 6 3 57 24
3 Huddersfield 27 15 4 8 49 2
4 Leeds Utd 27 15 3 9 48 10
5 Reading 26 14 4 8 46 2
6 Sheff Wed 27 13 6 8 45 5
7 Derby County 27 12 7 8 43 6
8 Barnsley 27 12 5 10 41 5
9 Fulham 26 10 10 6 40 13
10 Norwich 27 12 4 11 40 5
11 Preston 27 11 7 9 40 3
12 Birmingham 27 9 10 8 37 -5
13 Aston Villa 27 8 12 7 36 1
14 Ipswich 27 9 7 11 34 -5
15 Brentford 27 9 6 12 33 -1
16 Cardiff 26 9 6 11 33 -9
17 Q.P.R. 27 9 6 12 33 -11
18 Wolves 27 8 8 11 32 -3
19 Forest 27 8 6 13 30 -7
20 Bristol City 27 8 3 16 27 -4
21 Wigan 27 6 7 14 25 -8
22 Burton 27 6 7 14 25 -11
23 Blackburn 27 6 7 14 25 -12
24 Rotherham 27 4 4 19 16 -33
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