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Wimbledon (0) 1
Coventry City (0) 1

Gary McAllister’s experience and steady nerves earned Coventry their first goal and point of the season.

With hopes fading and a third straight defeat staring the Sky Blues in the face, Wimbledon defender Dean Blackwell pulled John Aloisi back as the City striker tried to reach a centre from Gary Breen in the final seconds of the half.

Referee Mark Halsey seemed to take an age to react but then, finally, pointed to the spot. Wimbledon were not amused and chased after the official. It took him a couple of minutes to calm everything down and McAllister had to wait and contemplate with the ball on the spot.

But when the whistle sounded, he despatched his spot kick forcefully and accurately to send Neil Sullivan the wrong way.

The goal was a just reward for Strachan’s side who produced a far more impressive showing than their first two dismal performances.

Strachan gave Aloisi his first full outing of the season and his presence up front gave the attack a much-needed focal point. He may not be the finished article – his first touch needs a lot of work before he reaches that stage – but he is a genuine target man.

He helped City achieve a higher level of penetration but their poor finishing nearly cost them extremely dear. They started strongly when Moustapha Hadji, who had a disappointing game, fired in a shot from a tight angle which Sullivan pushed aside.

Wimbledon were slow to start and Coventry continued to press with imagination even if the end product was missing. Aloisi fired over in the 26th minute after a sweeping move and that eventually woke the home side up.

John Hartson, playing a lone role up front, tested Magnus Hedman with a deflected shot which could easily have gone anywhere, and Marcus Gayle curled a free kick just over the big Swede’s cross bar.

By the interval, the game was evenly balanced and ripe for the taking. For a while after the break, Wimbledon looked more likely to take the game by the scruff of the neck as they gave City the run-around.

Hartson should have scored when he met a Kenny Cunningham cross at the far post but only found the side-netting.

But when the Dons did take the lead, it came after a period of concerted City pressure. They were pushing forward when substitute Jason Euell, on for Robbie Earle, pushed the ball into Carl Cort’s path and the teenager cleverly lifted a shot over Hedman.

The confidence that had been building in the City ranks disappeared in that instant but, to their credit, they carried on pressing and the longer the game went on the more they poured forward.

Steve Froggatt replaced Hadji and had one glorious chance when he ghosted on to a header from Aloisi only to fire weakly straight to Sullivan.

And there was no defending their point after McAllister’s goal. Aloisi went on the charge to reach a through ball and didn’t pull out of the challenge as Sullivan dived to intercept.

He had every right to try for the ball, but Wimbledon players were incensed and went looking for retribution. Fortunately for Aloisi, the referee once again did well to calm the situation down.

So City have a point and face troubled Derby County on Saturday by which time they could have a new striker in the ranks.

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Sullivan; Cunningham, Pedersen, Blackwell, Thatcher; Cort, Roberts (Hughes, 69 mins), Earle (Euell, 57 mins), Gayle (Ardley, 75 mins), Andersen; Hartson
Subs: Kimble, Davis

Hedman; Breen, Shaw, Williams, Burrows; Telfer, McAllister, Hadji (Froggatt, 75 mins), Chippo; Whelan, Aloisi
Subs: Nuzzo (gk), Gavin Strachan, Konjic, Edworthy

Cort (69 mins, neat finish from a tight angle), McAllister (90 mins, penalty)

REFEREE: Mark Halsey (Welwyn)

Wimbledon – Andersen (28 mins, foul), Hartson (85 mins, foul), Pedersen (90 mins, dissent)
Coventry – Chippo (21 mins, foul), Aloisi (90 mins, foul)


Youssef Chippo – another impressive display

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 14 Aug 99

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM