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Aston Villa (0) 1
Coventry City (1) 4

A tremendous history making performance by the Sky Blues – heroes all!

George Boateng, Coventry City FCGeorge Boateng and John Aloisi scored two goals apiece to bring City their first ever league victory at Aston Villa, former Sky Blue Dion Dublin scored for Villa and right at the death 16 year old Gary McSheffrey became the youngest player for years to play for City.

It was an afternoon of joyous celebration for the Sky Blue fans. The Villa faithful, so used to watching their team collect three easy points off their near neighbours, sat in stunned silence.

There were fifteen minutes to go when those wearing the claret and blue began to stream out of Villa Park.

Many waved their arms dismissively at the pitch where their side was being given a footballing lesson.

A stranger would have thought it was Coventry who were chasing championship honours.

Coventry began where they had left off against Manchester United only this time their efforts were rewarded by goals. They had better players than Villa in every area of the pitch, they had more ‘attitude’, more resilience and definitely more finishing power.

It would have been fitting if Aloisi or Boateng could have scored a hat-trick and it would certainly have been well deserved if Darren Huckerby had got on the scoresheet. He ran Villa ragged and was desperately unlucky not to win a penalty in the first half.

There was drama even before kick off when City’s manager Gordon Strachan produced two relatively unknown substitutes out of his magician’s hat.

Noel Whelan (bruised shoulder), Stephano Gioacchini (hamstring) and veteran goalkeeper Steve Ogrizovic (knee) were out of action and Strachan introduced youth team player Gary McSheffrey on to the bench along with youth goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.

In stoppage time Strachan ordered McSheffrey to strip off his tracksuit and stood with his arm around the youngster’s shoulders trying to attract the attention of referee Uriah Rennie.

The youngster got on to the pitch for just 30 seconds before the final whistle blew and then ran to every player on both teams to shake their hands.

City thoroughly deserved to win both halves of this match. Aloisi set them on the way in the 24th minute when he skipped past Gareth Southgate and slid the ball inside the far post.

Two minutes later City should have had a penalty when Southgate scythed down Huckerby from behind but Mr Rennie unaccountably waved aside the protests.

Villa, inevitably made more of a fist of the second half, but still they did not screw on the pressure and it was Coventry who repeatedly found a way to goal.

Boateng got the second in the 51st minute when he squeezed the ball home from the narrowest of angles but City’s joy was shortlived.

Julian Joachim went down in the penalty area and Mr Rennie this time pointed to the spot. There was a huge roar of relief from Villa’s fans when Dublin crashed home the spot kick – his first goal since mid-December and for a time City’s defence underwent a thorough examination.

But they were lethal on the break and from Steve Froggatt’s 73rd minute free-kick Aloisi finished powerfully from close range.

At this point Villa’s fans began their mass exodus but City were not finished. In another breakout in the 84th minute McAllister set Boateng free and as goalkeeper Michael Oakes ran out of his area the City man coolly lobbed him and into the net.

The perfect result for next Saturday’s match against fellow strugglers Charlton Athletic at Highfield Road.

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Oakes; Wright, Southgate, Watson (Barry 44 mins), Taylor (Draper 28 mins, Collymore 56 mins), Merson, Joachim, Dublin, Grayson, Hendrie, Scimeca
Subs not used: Bosnich, Samuel

Hedman; Nilsson, Burrows, Williams, Shaw, Boateng, McAllister, Telfer, Froggatt, Huckerby (McSheffrey 89 mins), Aloisi
Subs not used: Kirkland, Konjic, Soltvedt, Edworthy,

GOALS: Aloisi (24, 73 mins), Boateng (51, 84 mins)

Aston Villa – Grayson (foul, 47 mins), Barry (dissent, 48 mins), Southgate (foul,   61 mins), Dublin (foul, 88 mins)
Coventry – Williams (foul, 31 mins), Aloisi (dissent, 56 mins)

REFEREE: Uriah Rennie (Sheffield)


George Boateng - superb on the ball, a provider who can also score goals

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 27 Feb 99

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