Football: The age of Fjortoft

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The Independent Online
Swindon Town. . . 3

Fjortoft 8, pen 35, pen 79

Coventry City. . .1

Darby 53

Attendance: 14,640

THEY will have been singing in the fjords of Norway last night, not because the Winter Olympics are about to start, but because Jan Age Fjortoft cannot stop scoring goals. They will have been pretty happy in Swindon last night, too; Fjortoft's hat-trick was not enough to relieve them of bottom spot, but Premiership survival is not something people joke about any more.

It was not as if Fjortoft's goals were stunning - two came from penalties - but in Swindon they will cheer anything the Norweigan international can put in the back of the net, because his barren time at the County Ground nearly made him pack his bags for home. But after no goals in 22 appearances, Fjortoft has now notched up five in three and his efforts yesterday deservedly won Swindon the game.

Coventry played well in patches, but for their stroking it around the midfield, they had an impotent first half in which they barely tested Nicky Hammond, a goalkeeper whose hands are not blessed with a reputation for safety.

With a rearranged front line, Peter Ndlovu going up front, Coventry came back to dominate much of the second half, but a two-goal deficit was too much to chase and Fjor toft's second penalty, 11 minutes from time, had them chasing the impossible.

Poor Peter Atherton, the Coventry centre-back, gave away both penalties. After the first - a dubious decision, given when John Moncur had gone down, Klinsmann-like, arms flailing - it was surprising Atherton should have risked the late lunge on Fjortoft that conceded the second.

Fjortoft had poached his first after just eight minutes, nodding in the rebound after Steve Ogrizovic had parried a header from Brian Kilcline, and it was lucky that he was in form because his striking partner, Keith Scott, was woefully out of it.

The best goal of the game, though, was the 54th-minute strike from Julian Darby. Put through by David Rennie, he rounded Hammond to score. This put Coventry on the scent of an equaliser, but Fjortoft soon put them off it again.