The knives are again out for manager David Pleat after Sheffield Wednesday
crashed to their seventh Premiership defeat of the season against Steve
Coppell's away-day specialists Crystal Palace.
Under-fire Pleat would appear to be hanging on grimly to his position as Owls
boss by the slenderest of threads after another Hillsborough horror show.
Wednesday's defence, which has now conceded 29 goals - the second worst in the
top flight to Barnsley - caved in again with Pleat seemingly unable to find the
correct combination of players to stem the tide.
But for a late, late show in a 3-1 win over Everton three weeks ago, Pleat
could well have been on his way out of the club and unless he can turn the
current disastrous run into a modicum of success, the fans will get their wish
as they again demanded his sacking.
Cries of "Pleat out" reverberated around Hillsborough after Palace had taken
a two-goal lead and, more noticeably, once referee Dermot Gallagher's whistle
had blown for the latest misery to end.
Palace, who have now won four on the road yet are still waiting for their
first home Premiership win, never appeared anything more than ordinary despite
the comfortable-looking margin of victory.
But for two superb saves from keeper Kevin Miller in the space of three
minutes early on, then Wednesday could have been heading for a Premiership win,
but instead it took an Icelandic defender to show the Owls the way to goal.
Miller produced fingertip stops to deny Wayne Collins in the 15th minute and
then, shortly after, Guy Whittingham, before Hermann Hreidarsson bagged his
first goal for the Eagles.
The 23-year-old full-back, a close season signing from the tiny club of IBV,
stooped to nod home Simon Rodger's 27th minute corner from just six yards out.
Within four minutes, Benito Carbone could have pulled Wednesday level after
being given a clear sight of goal following delightful work by compatriot Paolo
Di Canio, but he sliced his shot into the side-netting.
Within a minute, Norwegian international Petter Rudi was brought on for his
home debut, replacing Lee Briscoe, and could have crowned his first start at
Hillsborough with a goal within minutes but blazed over the bar from 15 yards.
The second-half exploded with three goals in the space of seven minutes as
Palace took a commanding - and eventually decisive - 3-1 lead.
They went two up in the 52nd minute when Bruce Dyer fed Rodger and with the
Wednesday defence standing off, the midfielder let fly with a sweet 25-yard
left-foot strike past the outstretched grasp of keeper Kevin Pressman and into
the bottom left-hand corner.
The fans quickly decided to vent their frustration, taking it out on manager
Pleat, but those jeers soon turned to cheers as Wednesday gave themselves a
Within five minutes, Carbone had swung over a right-wing cross for Collins to
flick home his fourth goal of the season from six yards, with keeper Miller
rooted to the spot.
However, Wednesday's joy was short-lived as Palace lapped up the points with
another stunning strike, this time from Neil Shipperley.
Welsh international Mark Pembridge could only boot a defensive clearance to
the feet of Rodger and he quickly supplied striker Shipperley with an incisive
The former Southampton star turned to leave Collins in his wake before
delivering a right-foot 18-yarder, again into the bottom left-hand corner as
Pressman dived in vain.
There was little left to cheer for the 20,000 home faithful as Rudi nearly
beat Miller with a 25-yard left-foot shot just after the hour, but the Palace
custodian just managed to tip the ball over the bar after seeing the strike
Carbone had two chances to try to pull Wednesday into the game, but one was
deflected narrowly wide with Miller rooted, while another was struck straight
into the arms of the grateful Eagles number one.
Sheff Wed: Pressman, Nolan, Pembridge, Newsome, Walker,
Whittingham (Donaldson 68), Carbone, Di Canio, Briscoe (Rudi 31),
Collins (Poric 73), Magilton.
Subs Not Used: Nicol, Grobbelaar.
Goals: Collins 57.
Crystal Palace: Miller, Edworthy, Gordon, Roberts, Linighan,
Shipperley, Dyer (Emblen 87), Rodger, Smith, Ndah (Bonetti 46),
Subs Not Used: Quinn, Ormshaw, Zohar.
Goals: Hreidarsson 27, Rodger 52, Shipperley 60.
Ref: D J Gallagher (Banbury).