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BBC's Alan Biggs
"It was too little too late."
 real 28k

The BBC's John Murray
"We didn't think it would end like this"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 9 May, 2000, 21:05 GMT 22:05 UK
Wednesday relegated
Henry and Dixon
Scorer Dixon is congratulated by Henry
Arsenal 3-3 Sheffield Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday have been relegated from the Premiership after drawing 3-3 with Arsenal in an amazing game at Highbury.

Wednesday came from 1-0 down to lead 3-1 with just 12 minutes to go as they battled for survival.

But two wonderful strikes from Arsenal's Silvio Silvinho (78) and Thierry Henry (79) condemned Wednesday to the Nationwide Division One next season.

Acting Owls manager Peter Shreeves had been celebrating after an inspired double substitution saw Gerald Sibon and Gilles De Bilde swing the game in Wednesday's favour as they clung on to the Premiership by their fingertips.
Match facts
34 mins: Dixon puts Arsenal 1-0 up
58 mins: Sibon equalises
60 mins: De Bilde puts Wednesday 2-1 ahead
70 mins: Quinn makes it 3-1
78 mins: Silvinho pulls it back to 3-2
79: Henry equalises for Arsenal

But after climbing a mountain they fell off the other side as Arsenal rallied and scored two late goals.

Lee Dixon had driven the first nail intoWednesday's relegation coffin after putting the home side ahead on 34 minutes to bring a curiously tepid game to life.

Wednesday struggled with lone striker Andy Booth and had no complaints at the half-time score.

But Shreeves gambled in the second half and brought on the tall Sibon and striker De Bilde.


Chris Waddle and Peter Shreeves
A dejected Chris Waddle and Peter Shreeves
It immediately paid off as Sibon and De Bilde both scored to turn the game extraordinarily on its head.

Sibon, in fact, scored with his first touch, climbing above Vieira to head home Wim Jonk's right-wing cross after 58 minutes.

And just two minutes later De Bilde stunned Highbury with an amazing second, playing a one-two with Booth, nutmegging Keown in the process, before slotting the ball past Seaman into the far corner.

The Wednesday management were up off the bench and De Bilde made his feelings about being dropped clear, gesturing wildly to the bench and punching the air furiously as his team-mates tried to congratulate him.

Superb shot

Unbelievably the visitors then went 3-1 ahead when Alan Quinn collected De Bilde's through ball, springing the offside trap, before rounding Seaman and stroking the ball into the empty net.

All Wednesday had to do with hold on but substitute Silvinho scored his first goal for Arsenal, rifling a superb 25-yard left-foot shot into the top corner past a helpless Pressman to make it 3-2.
Arsenal v Sheff Weds
Both teams produced superb football

And with just 10 minutes left Wednesday were on the brink of relegation as Henry added the latest twist to an extraordinary match.

Bergkamp fed Overmars down the left and, when the ball was pulled back for Henry, the Frenchman fired in his 26th goal of the season from just inside the left-hand edge of the area.

Wednesday had given their all, and scoring three goals at Highbury was a major achievement, but in the end it was not enough and the Owls must now face life in the First Division.

Teams:

Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Keown, Luzhny, Winterburn, Parlour, Grimandi, Vieira, Overmars, Henry, Kanu. Subs: Bergkamp, Manninger, Silvinho, Malz, Vernazza.

Sheff Wed: Pressman, Atherton, Walker, Nolan, Hinchcliffe, Sonner, Jonk, Haslam, Horne, Booth, Quinn. Subs: Sibon, Humphreys, Briscoe, De Bilde, Srnicek.

Referee: Jeff Winter (Stockton-on-Tees)

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See also:

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Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.