Sheffield Wednesday 4-3 Coventry City (December 1995)

Goalscorers: Dion Dublin 18, 37, 55, Guy Whittingham 25, David Hirst 39, Marc Degryse 60, Mark Bright 73

Teams:

Sheffield Wednesday: Kevin Pressman, Peter Atherton, Steve Nicol, Ian Nolan, Des Walker, Lee Briscoe, Marc Degryse, Chris Waddle (Graham Hyde 85), Mark Bright, David Hirst, Guy Whittingham

Coventry City: Steve Ogrizovic, Marcus Hall, Ally Pickering, David Rennie (Gordon Strachan 74), Richard Shaw, Paul Williams, Kevin Richardson, Paul Telfer, John Salako, Dion Dublin, Peter Ndlovu

Referee: Mike Reed, Attendance: 16,229

Both Sheffield Wednesday and Coventry City were struggling in the Premier League table when the sides clashed at Hillsborough on a Monday Night Football in December 1995. The Sky Blues had won just one game all season, whilst David Pleat’s Owls were in the bottom six and looking to find some consistency. Both sides produced thrilling attacking displays which meant the neutral was in for an early December treat.

Coventry took the lead on 18 minutes. Their top goalscorer, Dion Dublin headed home from a corner which looked to have been cleared off the goal-line. However, referee Mike Reed correctly spotted the whole of the ball had crossed the line before it was hooked clear. The visitors’ lead lasted just seven minutes. Lee Briscoe got the better of Ally Pickering on the right-hand side and his cross into the box eventually fell to the feet of Guy Whittingham. Whittingham made no mistake to score his fourth goal in his last three matches against the Midlands club. Whittingham was enjoying this match and so too was Dublin. Eight minutes before the interval, he scored his second of the evening to put Ron Atkinson’s side back infront. Kevin Pressman failed to hold onto John Salako’s ambitious attempt and his spill gave Dublin the simplest of finishes.

Wednesday’s response was even quicker than their first equaliser. Mark Bright ghosted into plenty of space and his shot was saved brilliantly by Steve Ogrizovic. Unfortunately for the Coventry shot-stopper, it fell straight to David Hirst to restore parity. It was his sixth goal of the season as he was on the comeback trail from his most recent injury setback which had been a neck problem.

2-2 at the break, more goals were promised in the second half and sure enough, the entertainment continued on this wet Yorkshire evening. Coventry’s Achilles heel was dealing with crosses and it nearly led to embarrassment for defender Richard Shaw. A Hirst header back across the face of goal was diverted onto his own crossbar by Shaw. Maybe it was a sign that Coventry were going to win and Dublin was in peak form. From Kevin Richardson’s corner, Dublin flicked the ball into the net on 55 minutes to complete his hat-trick. However, Coventry’s defensive ineptitude would ensure the skipper’s goalscoring contribution would be on a losing cause.

Yet again, Atkinson’s side were caught out by a cross. Bright pulled off the back of Shaw from Hirst’s cross and Belgian international Marc Degryse followed up after another save from the unfortunate Ogrizovic. Hirst then went on to hit the post as the Owls definitely finished as the stronger side. The winner came 17 minutes from full-time. Ian Nolan escaped the attentions of Salako and drilled in a cross to the near post that was stabbed home by the excellent Bright. This was the start of Sheffield Wednesday’s most productive month of 1995-1996. They scored 14 goals in four matches and both clubs would avoid relegation but only in the closing weeks of the campaign.

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