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Adam Dent[27 OCT 01] COVENTRY CITY MATCH REPORT - DIVISION ONE
Coventry City (1) 2
Sheffield Wednesday (0) 0
BY ADAM DENT

Coventry stormed to the top of the league with a comfortable win over Sheffield Wednesday at Highfield Road.

The victory and ascent to first place marks a dramatic turnaround under Roland Nilsson who took over from Gordon Strachan with the Sky Blues in 19th place in the table.

But ten matches unbeaten and five games without conceding a goal have transformed Coventry and the confidence that run has given the players was clear for all to see today.

City by no means romped past Sheffield Wednesday, whose form has picked up under Terry Yorath, but a stunning free-kick from Youssef Safri on 38 minutes and a Lee Hughes spot-kick just after the hour mark were enough to secure the three points.

The Owls were the better side in the opening half-hour but for all their possession they created just one shooting effort when Simon Donnelly burst on to Gerald Sibonís pass but Andy Goram saved the former Celtic starís shot with his legs.

Hughes was working tirelessly for Coventry and saw two efforts go just the wrong side of the post before Safriís belter gave the Sky Blues the lead.

The £750,000 purchase from Raja Casablanca stepped up to take a free-kick from 30 yards out after David Thompson was upended by Steve Haslam and the Moroccan curled his effort up and over the wall and into the net off the post.

Coventry finished the half with a flourish and could have made it two when Hughes cleverly chipped the ball over Danny Maddix but again fired wide.

City maintained the high tempo at the beginning of the second period and Laurent Delorge had a golden chance to make it two, but fired into the legs of Kevin Pressman after good work from Jay Bothroyd.

But Hughes sealed the win on 63 minutes when he lashed home a penalty after Delorge had been brought down by Derek Geary.

The former West Brom forward fully deserved his goal and made no mistake with the spot kick for the second match running at Highfield Road.

The game opened out in the last 20 minutes and Wednesday had a couple of opportunities to pull one back but Goram saved brilliantly from sub Phil OíDonnell from point blank range.

Once again, Gary Breen and Mo Konjic were unbeatable in defence to help secure the win and top-spot.

COVENTRY CITY:
Andy Goram; Richard Shaw, Muhamed Konjic, Gary Breen, Marc Edworthy, David Thompson, Lee Carsley, Youssef Safri (Barry Quinn, 86), Laurent Delorge (Runar Normann, 65), Lee Hughes, Jay Bothroyd (Jairo Martinez, 73)
Subs not used: Gary Montgomery, Ysrael Zuniga

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY:
Kevin Pressman; Ian Hendon, Ashley Westwood, Danny Maddix, Derek Geary, Simon Donnelly, Trond Egil Soltvedt, Steven Haslam, Owen Morrison (Michele Di Piedi, 61), Gerald Sibon, Facundo Bonvin (Phil O`Donnell, 61)
Subs not used: Chris Stringer, Paul McLaren, Leigh Bromby

GOALS:
Coventry - Safri (38), Hughes (63, pen)

REFEREE:

BOOKINGS:
Coventry - Bothroyd (71, unsporting behaviour), Hughes (82, dissent)
Sheffield Wed - none

ATTENDANCE: 17, 381

COVENTRY LEAGUE POSITION: 1st with 30 points
  

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SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 27 Oct 01
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