Football: Gould on a high

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The Independent Online
Wimbledon. . . . . . .1

Coventry City. . . . .2

THE visit of Kenny Dalglish to Anfield later in the season will be more emotional, and that of Joe Kinnear to White Hart Lane, more affectionate. But no result which either of those managers might achieve will be sweeter than the victory earned by table-topping Coventry yesterday on the occasion of Bobby Gould's return to the club he led to FA Cup immortality in 1988.

It would be premature in the extreme to suggest that the Sky Blues look the genuine article, but there is no doubting the transformation Gould and Phil Neal have wrought upon a side which has plumbed the depths of mediocrity in recent seasons. Stewart Robson, restored to full fitness at last, is proving a wily and inspirational captain, and Kenny Sansom's mere presence imbues confidence in the youngsters by his side. There is, so they say, no substitute for class, but experience runs a close second.

Coventry got off to a flying start when the evergreen Mickey Gynn fired in David Smith's simple cross with the aid of a deflection off Gary Elkins. The second, immediately after the interval, punished Wimbledon for ball-watching. Robert Rosario raced on to John Williams's flicked header to slip a less than fulminating shot through Hans Segers' legs.

Although Dean Holdsworth reduced the deficit 17 minutes from time, the Dons had no answer to what Gould described as Coventry's 'inner strength'. 'It's down to two four-letter words - hard work,' he said after the game, shepherding his players into the team bus for a celebratory meal of the back-to-earth variety - at McDonalds.

Wimbledon: H Segers; R Joseph, G Elkins, W Barton, D Blackwell, S Fitzgerald (A Clarke, 45 min), G Dobbs (P Miller, 83 min), R Earle, D Holdsworth, L Sanchez, S Anthrobus. Sub not used: N Sullivan (gk). Manager: J Kinnear.

Coventry City: S Ogrizovic; T Fleming, K Sansom, S Robson, A Pearce, P Atherton, M Gynn (L McGrath, 76 min), L Hurst, R Rosario, J Williams (P Ndlovu, 74 min), D Smith. Sub not used: J Gould (gk). Manager: B Gould.

Referee: I Borrett (Norfolk).

Goals: Gynn (1-0, 14 min); Rosario (0-2, 46 min); Holdsworth (1-2, 73 min).