Football: Blake's breaks

Coventry City 2 Telfer 8, Huckerby 20 Bolton Wanderers 2 Blake 69,76 Attendance: 16,633
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The Independent Online
Bolton displayed true northern grit to leave Coventry with a point after a disastrous first half yesterday, recovering so well after Peter Beardsley came on as a 55th-minute substitute for John McGinlay that they took control and would have been worth the three points they would have stolen in the dying minutes but for Steve Ogrizovic's splendid save from Nathan Blake.

Whatever confidence Wanderers had brought to Highfield Road was severely bruised by the 20th minute. With only eight minutes gone, Dion Dublin had nodded a John Salako cross back into the path of Paul Telfer, who steadied and shot past Keith Brannigan, a deflection helping to confuse the keeper.

Twelve minutes later Neil Cox dallied, wishing the ball to cross his dead ball line, only to see Darren Huckerby steal the ball and thump it inside Brannigan's near post for Coventry's second goal. A demoralising first half for the visitors ended with Brannigan's desperate dive pushing a sweet Salako header on to his post.

Bolton desperately needed an early goal after the restart to remain afloat, but the closest they came until the 69th minute was a couple of spectacular but wildly inaccurate Blake volleys. However, the striker's aggressive persistence, did the trick when the hitherto immaculate Richard Shaw got into a confused tangle with Ogrizovic in trying to intercept Beardsley's through-ball. Blake barged in to clear up the confusion by hammering it into an empty net.

Coventry still had the chance to put the outcome beyond recall when a 20-yard Salako shot took Brannigan by surprise. The keeper beat the shot out, then saved his reputation with a brave dive at the feet of the on- rushing Huckerby.

With confidence restored, Bolton moved up a gear and their 76th-minute equaliser was fully deserved. In a clever free-kick manoeuvre, Per Frandsen's volley was diverted for a corner. Then Alan Thompson's cross was unaccountably allowed to pass through the crowded goalmouth and reach Blake, who accepted the gift with alacrity.

Coventry, deprived of the organising skills of Gary McAllister, their injured skipper, lacked a cool hand to soothe their fevered brow when Bolton rose from the dead and almost won the day.

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