Sheffield Wednesday 2-3 Bristol City: Albert Adomah nets late winner for Robins
Albert Adomah scored a dramatic late winner as Bristol City completed an amazing come-from-behind victory over fellow strugglers Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
The Ghana winger beat former England keeper Chris Kirkland direct from a free kick to relieve the pressure on Robins boss Derek McInnes and make it seven straight defeats for the Owls.
Migeul Llera and Gary Madine put Wednesday in front in the third and 78th minutes respectively, only for Sam Baldock to twice level from the penalty spot as City made it two wins in four games.
But the game ended in controversy after referee Andre Marriner disallowed a Madine strike and instead awarded a free kick to City, generating fury in the stands.
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City boss McInnes warned his players beforehand of the aerial threat posed by Wednesday, but it made no difference as his side fell behind to a set-piece routine after just three minutes.
Former Bristol Rovers midfielder Chris Lines directed a corner kick towards the edge of the six yard box and Owls centre-half Llera climbed high to head past Tom Heaton for his fourth goal of the season.
Given the number of red shirts inside the penalty area, the ease with which the Spaniard was allowed to rise unchallenged will have set alarm bells ringing on the away bench.
Encouraged by the early breakthrough, Wednesday continued to expose a shaky back four and the home side could easily have put the outcome beyond doubt in the opening 10 minutes.
City full-backs Richard Foster and Liam Fontaine were being led a merry dance by Michael Antonio and Jermaine Johnson respectively and Wednesday's front two of Gary Madine and Chris O'Grady were being afforded far too much room by the former Middlesbrough centre-back pairing of Matthew Bates and Stephen McManus.
Madine should have done better with a shot on the turn that failed to seriously inconvenience Heaton, while O'Grady miss-cued horribly after being set-up by Johnson, who showed Fontaine a clean pair of heels.
Heaton then went down smartly to gather a David Prutton free kick as City weathered the early storm.
When the visitors equalised on 18 minutes, it was against the run of play. Baldock burst into the 18 yard box and was hauled down by Llera, Wednesday's earlier hero becoming the villain of the piece.
Referee Andre Marriner had no hesitation in awarding a penalty and Baldock picked himself up to beat Chris Kirkland from the spot to register his sixth and arguably most important goal of the season.
Baldock's pace was causing Wednesday's defence all kinds of problems and the striker earned a free kick when drawing a rash challenge from Prutton. Albert Adomah took responsibility for the set-piece, only for his effort to fly high into the crowd.
City's back four continued to struggle under the high ball and Heaton demonstrated safe hands when coming to claim a succession of crosses as the visitors just about held firm.
City started the second half brightly and threatened to take the lead from a well-rehearsed set-piece routine, Baldock racing onto a Neil Danns corner and shooting narrowly wide from just inside the 18 yard box.
The visitors were their own worst enemy and, when their defence and midfield inexplicably backed off, Johnson burst through and saw his shot deflected behind by Stephen McManus.
Madine then terrorised a back-pedalling defence, only to be denied by Heaton, who saved with his feet.
City had their moments going forward and Kirkland was called upon to make a smart reaction save from Baldock after Adomah had opened up the home defence.
Neither side was defending with any real conviction, but poor decision making ensured both continued to fire blanks as the stalemate continued.
It was the same old story when Adomah tricked his way past Helan, only to drag the ball back behind the in-rushing Taylor.
Fontaine then met Baldock's low centre with a first-time shot which required Martin Taylor to clear off the line as the Robins upped the tempo in search of a winner.
Just when it looked as though City were finishing the stronger of the two sides, Wednesday stunned them by scoring on the counter-attack.
Kirkland's quick throw found Johnson, who advanced to the edge of the penalty area before testing Heaton with a stinging shot. City's keeper could only parry and the ball fell invitingly for the unmarked Madine to sweep into an empty net to restore the home side's lead.
City were back on terms seven minutes later. Once again, Llera was the villain, handling the ball inside the 18 yard box after Marvin Elliott had headed it back into the mix.
Baldock oozed confidence as he smashed his penalty kick past Kirkland to set-up a thrilling finale.
City's winner came two minutes from time after Taylor upended Danns on the edge of the penalty area. Adomah stepped up to guide a stunning free kick into the top left-hand corner of the net to deliver a crucial victory.
Wednesday (4-4-2): Kirkland; Buxton, Taylor, Llera, Helan; Johnson (Mayor 82), Prutton, Lines, Antonio; O'Grady (Rodri 82), Madine.
City (4-4-2): Heaton; Foster, Bates, McManus, Fontaine; Adomah, Elliott, Danns, Bryan (Anderson 83); Baldock (Pearson 90), Taylor.
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)