Football: Banal bows to Ndlovu

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The Independent Online
Middlesbrough. .0

Coventry City. .2

THE tone was set at 3.0 when the sun over the Holgate End dipped back into the clouds. On the field the few bright moments belonged to Coventry, who did not have to be anything special to eclipse Middlesbrough. The talent of the Zimbabwean international Peter Ndlovu shone through, however, his speed and skill highlighting Boro's glaring absence of class, which may well prove to be their eventual undoing in the Premier League.

A banal first half full of stoppages, which exhausted the crowd's patience, was enlivened only by the errors of the home side's reshaped defence. On separate occasions John Williams, Mick Quinn and Ndlovu each left his marker padding along hopelessly behind and then proceeded to miss the target. Quinn, the man who brought goals from Newcastle, failed to bury the sort of chance he loves from just four yards.

Middlesbrough, anxious to atone for the ignominious FA Cup defeat in midweek by Forest, hung on white-knuckled without ever creating anything as clear-cut. However, their luck held only until the 67th minute when Coventry scored with the best move of the game. Lee Hurst played an incisive ball inside, Quinn let it run through to Ndlovu who drifted between Jon Gittens and Chris Maurice to thump it home.

Twelve minutes from time Quinn wrapped it up with with his 14th goal in 13 League games, bullocking through to force home the rebound from Ndlovu's volley.

Middlesbrough: S Pears; C Morris (J Pollack, 73 min), J Phillips, N Mohan, J Gittens, W Falconer, B Slaven, C Hignett, P Wilkinson, A Peake, J Hendrie (T Wright, 11 min). Sub not used: I Ironside (gk). Manager: L Lawrence.

Coventry City: S Ogrizovic; B Borrows, P Babb, P Atherton, A Pearce, J Williams, P Ndlovu, M Gynn, R Rosario, M Quinn, L Hurst. Subs not used: D Busst, S Flynn, J Gould (gk). Manager B Gould.

Referee: I Borrett (Harleston).

Goals: Ndlovu (0-1, 67 min); Quinn (0-2, 78 min).

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