Gary McAllisters 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 Strachans 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
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 Swedes 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 Corts 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 McAllisters goal. Aloisi went on the
charge to reach a through ball and didnt pull out of the challenge as Sullivan dived
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.
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,
Coventry Chippo (21 mins, foul), Aloisi (90 mins, foul)
COVENTRY MAN OF THE MATCH:
Youssef Chippo another impressive display