Football: Dublin's equality drive

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Penrice 35, 37

Coventry City 2

Cook 27, Dublin 84

Attendance: 11,398

A MATCH that looked to have lost its way suddenly turned up three goals in 10 minutes, QPR remembering how to shoot and overhauling Paul Cook's spectacular opener for Coventry. The Midlanders broke away from constant pressure in the second half to equalise through their pounds 2m debutant Dion Dublin.

In fact, he nearly scored with his second touch, his overhead kick flying into Tony Roberts's arms. But the game degenerated, two sets of 4-4-2 snuffing out each other's predictable moves. Coventry's defence looked highly vulnerable to Les Ferdinand's pace, while the left-back Steve Morgan's navety was surprising at this level.

Amid the uninspired crosses into packed areas and the hashed clearances, Ferdinand broke away but lost his nerve and then the ball. Rangers bustled, prompted mainly by Ian Holloway, but lacked conviction near goal. They were rudely awoken by Cook's 27th- minute goal, which combined farce with brilliance.

Out on the left, David Bardsley fell over, Roy Wegerle took advantage and tried to round Roberts. Wegerle, in turn, lost his footing as Roberts hurtled out, but the loose ball found Cook. He sent a resounding drive on to the underside of the bar. Cook calmly collected the rebound, turned away from lunging defenders, juggled the ball on his foot, swivelled and hit a low shot past Roberts. With one goal, he becomes City's joint top scorer.

Immediately, Holloway sidefooted against the post. Coventry's Leigh Jenkinson planted a firm shot wide as Coventry took heart, but a minute later QPR had an equaliser: a Ferdinand run and pass and Gary Penrice finished. The same combination produced another goal two minutes later, Ferdinand heading on, Penrice twisting and turning David Busst then sending a shot across Steve Ogrizovic into the corner.

Rangers should have finished the job as half-time approached, Ferdinand three times in on goal, but forcing only one save from Ogrizovic, who sprawled to his left to get to the England man's header.

Phil Neal withdrew Cook with a groin injury at half-time and Coventry lacked all creativity thereafter. But again Rangers failed to convert possession into goals and let the game meander. With eight minutes left, Dublin popped up in the box to head home Wegerle's back flick.

(Photograph omitted)