Bergkamp's bounty hunt

Arsenal 1 (Bergkamp 24) Coventry City 1 (Whelan) 23 Attendance: 35,623

AS THE Premiership season enters its decisive stages, one of the few certainties is that Coventry City will not bore their way out of trouble. Yesterday at Highbury they needed an untypical dose of nervousness by Arsenal's Ian Wright, who not only missed a penalty but also one-on-one chances in each half, to survive. But in the final stages, City threw themselves at the Arsenal goal as though they needed an equaliser, not a winner.

The bold approach is typical of their manager, Ron Atkinson, who said afterwards: "We have to play that way, because all our best players are forwards." If he was referring to Noel Whelan, the remark was entirely justified. The England Under-21 forward scored a well-taken goal and was a constant threat to an Arsenal defence missing Steve Bould, Martin Keown and Tony Adams. Adams's inaction will be extended by at least a month after he underwent keyhole surgery to remove a cartilage yesterday.

Adams' absence was notably exploited by Coventry, who produced an astonishing opening five minutes in which they might have scored three goals. Richard Shaw's diving header forced David Seaman into a fine reflex save, and the keeper had to reproduce that moments later to stop Whelan's fierce half-volley. Lee Dixon then cleared the same player's header from under the bar.

It took Arsenal time to break Coventry's grip. Wright, elevated to captain, could not force his shot past Steve Ogrizovic after John Jensen's pass left him clear. It was an ominous miss. Coventry duly claimed their reward for early enterprise as Whelan latched on to Kevin Richardson's volleyed pass, calmly dinking the ball past Seaman.

But Coventry - with a record of conceding two goals a game - instantly threw away their advantage. Straight from the kick-off, Arsenal worked the ball to Glenn Helder, who powered down the left pulling defenders towards him. This left Dennis Bergkamp unmarked to head in the cross for the equaliser.

That was the end of the scoring, but not of the chances. "Nobody leaves the room when we're playing," Atkinson noted and, though the second-half initiative rested with Arsenal, Wright squandered key chances. First, his weak penalty, given after Marcus Hall seemed to have pulled him down, allowed Ogrizovic to save. Later, when Wright was put clear by a Paul Merson chip, the giant keeper turned the shot away with his left arm.

Coventry never quite created such clear-cut openings, but their spirit was always willing, most notably that of Gordon Strachan, who illuminated the game. His 78th-minute substitution by a forward, Peter Ndlovu, underlined Atkinson's commitment to Coventry attacking their way to survival.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific