Football: Darby finds pace at Racecourse

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

DION DUBLIN, Coventry's record pounds 2m signing, had his least effective performance since his move from Manchester United as Phil Neal's side battled to a 2-1 Coca-Cola second round first-leg victory at Second Division Wrexham.

Dublin scored two goals in his opening two games for the Highfield Road club, , but his attacking prowess at the Racecourse Ground was limited to a 25-yard drive and an acrobatic overhead kick, neither of which tested the Wrexham goalkeeper, Andy Marriott.

But Sean Flynn, whose 78th-minute winner gave the Premiership team a valuable advantage for the return leg, had nothing but praise for his striking partner's contribution.

'Dion gives so much to the team,' said the 26-year-old forward. 'The rainy conditions at Wrexham meant it was not the sort of game you could put your foot on the ball and play it about. It was the sort of match in which you have to battle, and Dion never gave up running and covering.'

Dublin, who made only 12 appearances in two years at United which were troubled by injury, was still searching for match fitness in only his third full game since his transfer.

Flynn stressed: 'He has been a major asset to us. His match fitness is not as good as it could be yet and he has already done well.

'He has a great touch as you would probably expect from playing with Manchester United and he has been great for us already even though he's still adjusting.

'We read each other quite well already as a partnership - even though we have only played two games together, and I hope to play with him a lot more.'

The Coventry manager, Phil Neal, praised the contribution of midfielder Julian Darby, who put Coventry in front only for Barry Jones to pull Wrexham level.

'Julian worked his socks off and never stopped running for us and that's what we wanted at Wrexham,' Neal said. 'We had to defend astutely at times and I was pleased to come away with a victory.'

His counterpart at Wrexham, Brian Flynn, was in bullish mood about the return leg. 'The tie is not over yet,' he said. 'If we go 1-0 up at Highfield Road early on then who knows?'