ON THIS DAY: Paul Warhurst scores twice as Owls see off Blackburn

Paul Warhurst in the pilot's seat on the way to Luxemburg - 10th January 1991
Paul Warhurst in the pilot's seat on the way to Luxemburg - 10th January 1991
Have your say

Necessity is the mother of invention. So stated Greek philosopher Plato.

Given he died in roughly 347BC, it is highly unlikely that he had Sheffield Wednesday’s team selection in mind.

However, for Trevor Francis his proclamation did indeed ring true in the 1992/93 season.

Injuries to Mark Bright and David Hirst forced the Owls boss to look elsewhere for a striker and he found it in his own defence in the shape of Paul Warhurst.

Warhurst had joined the Owls from Oldham in 1991 and he had high hopes for the following season but they were soon dashed with the centre-half finding himself in the reserves behind Peter Shirtliff and Viv Anderson.

There was though the first outing as a striker against Nottingham Forest in September, and he duly scored, before a double against Spora Luxembourg in the UEFA Cup but then it was back to the grind of the Pontins League.

John Harkes in action

John Harkes in action

However, injuries to Bright and Hirst saw him restored to the attack against Chelsea on 30 January 1993 and it took him just three minutes to score in a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

That was the start of a run which saw Warhurst score nine goals in seven games as Wednesday enjoyed a swashbuckling run in both league and cups.

On Wednesday 10 February the Owls travelled to Ewood Park to take on Blackburn in the first leg of the Coca-Cola Cup. Rovers were shorn of England striker Alan Shearer through injury and they were on a poor run of form when Francis’ men arrived, backed by a band of 4,800 fans.

It was the hosts who went ahead though after just 10 minutes, Roy Wegerle running on to a ball and pushing it beyond the defence before slotting past Chris Woods.

The lead lasted just five minutes though. Roland Nilsson pulled the ball back for Chris Bart-Williams and he in turn floated a ball across the face of goal which was met by John Harkes whose diving header gave Bobby Mimms no chance in the Blackburn goal.

Six minutes later and the Owls were ahead, Sheridan playing a one-two with Warhurst before the midfielder flicked the ball into the corner.

It was soon Warhurst’s turn to find the back of the net, the defender-cum-striker showing his pace as he ran on to a pass, escaping a Rovers defender before turning Colin Hendry inside and out and firing low into the corner.

Three minutes later and Warhurst had his second. Chris Waddle received the ball on the right and dinked a ball with the outside of his left foot which found Bart-Williams in the box. The midfielder managed to pull the ball back to Warhurst who had his back to goal but he turned and fired an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.

Just 31 minutes gone and Wednesday were 4-1 up and heading to Wembley before Carlton Palmer put the ball into his own net seven minutes before the break.

Although there was not as much verve after the break the Owls still produced a constant wave of attacks, Sheridan, Danny Wilson and Waddle all going close. It had been a breathtaking night although it was slightly marred by an injury to substitute Nigel Pearson who broke his leg in a challenge with Wegerle.

With some understatement, Warhurst said: “I’ve played as a defender all my career: it’s different now, it’s a challenge and I’m enjoying it.” Francis added: “It was an incredible game - an understatement to say it was entertaining.”