Unlucky numbers and unlikely wins

Sheffield Wednesday

Gary Hooper (centre) celebrates scoring the wining goal for Sheffield Wednesday at Birmingham City

It was a wet day for much of England, resulting in seven games being called off before a ball was kicked.

BBC Sport takes a closer look at what happened in the matches that did go ahead and one that maybe should have.

The inescapable curse of the number 17

Leeds United chairman Massimo Cellino does not like the number 17.

The superstitious Italian believes the number brings bad luck and during his time as owner of Italian side Cagliari had all the number 17 seats replaced with 16b.

With that in mind, the front cover of the Leeds United programme today welcomed fans to home game number 16b of the season.

The front cover of the Leeds programme for Saturday’s game against Nottingham Forest

Sadly for Cellino and Leeds fans, renaming the fixture did not have the desired result as Forest recorded a 1-0 win thanks to Nelson Oliveira’s header.

As if to rub salt in the wound you can probably guess what number the goalscorer was wearing – 17.

The Portuguese also scored against Leeds when the two teams met in December. Maybe Cellino has a point after all.

Water, water everywhere?

It was a slightly shortened fixture list in League One and Two with seven matches falling foul of the wet weather around the country.

One of those to go was the League One derby between Scunthorpe and Doncaster at Glanford Park.

This picture was taken of the Glanford Park pitch at 15:00 GMT when the game against Doncaster was due to have kicked off

Referee Mark Haywood made the decision to call the game off at 12:30 GMT but, as the picture above attests, it may have been a slightly premature call.

Iron chief executive James Rodwell said: “I’m livid about the whole thing. I don’t think he needed to make that decision.

“If a game should be called off because there’s some danger to the players safety then call it off. Today doesn’t fall into that category.”

Nichols nicks it for nine-man Posh

Tom Nichols has scored 13 goals this season

It’s been a big season for 22-year-old Tom Nichols.

He scored against Liverpool in the FA Cup for Exeter, earned himself a move to League One Peterborough and netted the winner on his debut for his new team against Chesterfield.

That’s only part of the story though, as minutes after the striker registered his first goal for the club, he saw his team-mate Michael Smith dismissed for a second bookable offence.

Then, with 12 minutes to go, team-mate Ricardo Santos joined Smith in the dressing room after picking up his second yellow card of the match.

That prompted manager Graham Westley to replace Nichols with centre-half Gaby Zakuani and somehow Posh held out.

“I said to Tom at half-time it’s fine that it’s your debut, but you haven’t done anything and I want to see something from you. It was good to see him produce something in the second half,” boss Graham Westley told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

The League One side host Premier League strugglers West Brom in their FA Cup fourth round replay on Wednesday – but Nichols is ineligible.

Shearer saves the day for Stags

Scott Shearer gives boss Adam Murray a hug after his heroics on Saturday

Mansfield keeper Scott Shearer probably thought it was going to be one of those days when Kevin Ellison gave Morecambe the lead after just 58 seconds.

His mood was lifted by goals from Matty Blair and Krystian Pearce putting his side in front after 24 minutes – and thereafter the Scot came into his own.

First, the former Crawley and Rotherham man stopped Shaun Miller’s 35th minute penalty after Ryan Tafazolli had fouled Andrew Fleming in the area.

Then, in the 85th minute Shearer repeated the trick when he kept Paul Mullin’s spot-kick out after Jack Thomas was penalised for handball.

The Stags, who had boss Adam Murray sent to the stands, are up to fifth in League Two.

Hooper wins it for Wednesday’s walking wounded

It was a day of mixed emotions for Sheffield Wednesday at Birmingham.

Attacking midfielder Kieran Lee was injured in the warm up, forcing Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal to bring Vincent Sasso into the starting XI and move Sam Hutchinson from midfield to defence.

Less than 10 minutes into the game, Hutchinson collided heavily with Wednesday keeper Keiren Westwood and both players had to be substituted.

The injuries meant that there were 13 minutes of injury-time played at the end of the first half and it was after five of those that the hosts went in front thanks to Clayton Donaldson.

After such adversity it would perhaps have been understandable if the visitors had crumbled, but a Gary Hooper double gave the Championship play-off hopefuls an unlikely win.

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