Football: Fenton has lucky break

Coventry City 0 Leicester City 2 Fenton 32, Elliott pen 75 Atte ndance: 18,309
Click to follow
The Independent Online
Just when it seemed they might be on the verge of a half-decent season, Coventry are beginning to look like a team destined for the survival struggle that has become their customary fate in the Premiership. This was a contest of poor quality but Leicester, for whom Graham Fenton took advantage of a rare opportunity granted by Emile Heskey's absence through suspension, were good value for their victory.

The scrappiness offered ample evidence of why neither side has been winning much recently. Leicester, who have lost some of their early-season fizz, began with one victory in six outings in the Premiership, Coventry one in nine, although their sequence included six draws.

While errors abounded, few threatened to assume any significance, although a referee less lenient than Martin Bodenham might have made Kasey Keller's illegal use of the hand count for more when the American goalkeeper strayed from his penalty area in the 12th minute. Coventry won a free-kick and Keller was relieved to see Bodenham produce only the yellow card. Nothing came of the kick, nor of much of Coventry's forward play as Gary McAllister explored one cul-de-sac after another in pursuit of an opening.

Steadily, Leicester began to look the more dangerous, the reward of Graham Fenton's goal preceded by a low drive from Matt Elliott that required Steve Ogrizovic to provide a solid save and a neat Robbie Savage that drifted narrowly wide.

Dead balls are Leicester's speciality and Fenton's third goal for the club came after Steve Guppy swung in a free-kick left- footed from the right. Steve Walsh, meeting it at the far post, hit the woodwork but the ball fell to the former Blackburn striker, who did not hit it cleanly but succeeded none the less in steering it wide of the goalkeeper.

Leicester paid pounds 1.1m for Fenton in the summer but have tended to prefer Ian Marshall or Steve Claridge to partner Heskey, limiting the 23-year- old to only two starting appearances so far in the Premiership. More opportunities may now follow.

The goal was not the end of Coventry's troubles. Six minutes later, McAllister was carried off, seemingly troubled by a knee injury, and was replaced by the Norwegian Trond Soldvedt.

Seeking their first win at Highfield Road since 1976, Leicester ought to have strengthened their position early in the second half when Marshall blazed wide. Moments earlier, after a back-heel by Paul Telfer, Soldvedt had squandered a similar opening at the other end.

Then, after Gary Breen had wasted a second opportunity for the home side, Leicester's points were guaranteed when Richard Shaw's foul on Muzzy Izzet allowed Elliott to double their lead from the penalty spot.

Comments