Football: Dublin delivers

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The Independent Online
Coventry City. . . . .1 Dublin 85 Manchester City. . . .0 Attendance: 15,804 MANCHESTER CITY can hardly be blamed for harbouring a heightened sense of injustice after Dion Dublin's goal five minutes from time consigned them to an undeserved defeat at Highfield Road.

City had not only threatened to win this match but also to continue the fun and games of their two seven-goal extravaganzas the previous week.

Worse than that, they had just carved out four clear opportunities in as many minutes, three of them superbly saved by Steve Ogrizovic and the other stopped inadvertently by Paul Walsh.

'Ogrizovic was outstanding and he had to be,' Phil Neal, the Coventry manager, admitted. His goalkeeper's tip-over from Peter Beagrie's 20-yarder, his block from Niall Quinn's close-range header and his denial of Nicky Summerbee had already proved that point.

Coventry then produced the perfect demonstration of the value of hanging on hopefully, even in a match that seems to be galloping away from you.

Peter Ndlovu, in his first Premiership start of the season after major knee surgery and obviously feeling the pace, found the energy for a darting run on the left and a low-driven cross.

Dublin and Michel Vonk slid in for it together, but there was never any doubt that the Coventry captain would claim his eighth goal for the club.

'Sometimes you get the rub of the green,' Neal said. 'They were full of confidence and they looked more likely than us to score.'

Neal seemed as though he could not quite believe his luck as he attempted to compliment the quality of the free-flowing football on offer at Highfield Road yesterday. It came out inadvertently as 'free-loading football'.

Coventry were not as undeserving as that, but they were fortunate to survive the string of chances that Manchester City created.

'I wouldn't criticise any of our players today,' Brian Horton, the Manchester City boss, said. 'We're disappointed, but not disappointed the way we were when we lost 4-0 here last season. We've come on a bundle since then and we've played very well today.'

That was undeniable, but Manchester City should have made more of opportunities during an early spell of almost total dominance which should have produced a goal.

Instead, the slate was left blank for Dublin to make his mark as time ran out. Not much justice, perhaps; but more than enough drama.

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