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Coventry City (0) 2
Wimbledon (0) 0

Coventry City shrugged of the setback of losing their two Moroccan stars by grinding out another Highfield Road victory.

Youssef Chippo and Moustapha Hadji were kept away on international duty on Friday forcing Gordon Strachan to shuffle his side. That could have well upset them against a Wimbledon side looking to recover from a disappointing cup exit last week.

Not so. Coventry created a string of chances and deserved to emerge winners by at least a two goal margin.

Not that they knew a lot about their opening goal – the 100th of Gary McAllister’s league career.

The game had just begun to take on the look of a goal-less draw when nine minutes after the half time interval, Robbie Keane burst into the penalty area and forced Neil Sullivan into fine save.

As the players made their way back for the goal kick the referee pulled them back for what at first appeared to be a free kick for offside. It took a while for everyone to realise he was in fact pointing to the spot, after spotting a handball.

Gary McAllister was not about to argue over the rights and wrongs of the decision and promptly notched his ninth goal of an outstanding season.

It was what the game and City needed. The Sky Blues had looked the livelier in a poor first half but the number of chances they had squandered could just have started to prey on their minds.

Cedric Roussel was the first to squander an opportunity when he headed over from John Eustace in the opening minute and that set the pattern for the rest of the first period. Noel Whelan also failed to trouble Sullivan when Robbie Keane picked him out with a fine cross and the young Dubliner then saw Sullivan keep out a fine low effort after more good work from Eustace.

Keane was a having a field day against the Dons defence and twice more set up colleagues before the half time break.

At the other end Wimbledon, with just Carl Cort up front lacked the fire power to trouble a back four which was playing its seventh game in succession. Midfielder Martin Andresen went closest when he had a shot blocked in the opening exchanges but Wimbledon, knocked out of the FA Cup by Fulham a week before, were all too content to break up the rhythm of the game rather than create chances of their own.

Once McAllister had split the sides, the Londoners looked beaten. Eustace could have crowned his day when Keane put him through but his shot lacked pace and Sullivan made a good save.

Coventry’s second was well created by McAllister but did have a slice of good fortune. McAllister played a lively pass between two defenders for Keane and when his first effort was well kept out by the keeper, the ball fell to him again and he finished off from close range.

Sullivan was not so sure in the final moments when McAllister let fly with a rocket shot from 20 yards out. The ball squeezed through his hands but flew up and over the bar.

Runnar Normann came on for his home debut in the latter stages and looked impressive down the left flank, linking well with Steve Froggatt and McAllister.

He and Eustace may well get another outing next week when City go to Derby without Carlton Palmer.

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Hedman, Telfer, Williams, Breen, Froggatt; Eustace, Palmer, McAllister, Whelan; Roussel (Normann, 81mins), Keane
Subs: Ogrizovic, Konjic, Gavin Strachan, Gustafsson

Sullivan, Cunningham, Andersen, Hreidarsson, Kimble, Andresen, Earle, Francis (Gray, 80mins), Euell, Ardley (Badir, 80 mins), Cort
Subs: Wilmott, Davis, Hughes

Coventry City - McAllister (56 mins, penalty), Keane (76 mins)

REFEREE: Steve Bennett (Orpington, Kent)



COVENTRY MAN OF THE MATCH: Gary McAllister - an inspired display

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Coventry's Agenda 21

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 15 Jan 00

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