Football: Harford has the answers

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The Independent Online
Coventry City. . .1

Chelsea. . . . . .2

COVENTRY'S unsophisticated mix of pace and aerial power kept Chelsea under siege for much of the afternoon but the Midlands club paid the price for mistakes in front of their own goal.

Before this defeat Coventry had not lost for seven matches but it may be more significant that they have now not won in five. With journeys to Leeds and Arsenal coming up, their credentials as Premier League title prospects face a stiff examination.

Defenders had to answer for both Chelsea goals. When Mick Harford challenged Robert Rosario for Darren Barnard's short corner at the right-hand extremity of the six-yard box, Coventry had three or four men close to their goal-line but the ball found a way through and Harford celebrated his seventh goal of the season.

Then, after Rosario's scrambled equaliser spelled danger for the Londoners, another flick by Harford was miskicked by the centre-back Peter Atherton and Graham Stuart seized the opportunity to drive the ball past Steve Ogrizovic from eight yards.

Harford, as it happens, is just the kind of player favoured by Bobby Gould, the Coventry manager. Tall and strong, even at 33 years old, he is still rated by the Chelsea chief Ian Porterfield as 'the best target man in the game'.

Gould can now pair the 6ft 4in Paul Williams with the 6ft 3in Rosario to give his long-ball philosophy a twin focal point. Williams is on loan from West Bromwich, for whom Gould bought him from Stockport last season. Under Ossie Ardiles, he has been unable lately to get a look in at the Hawthorns.

Williams appeared as substitute just before half-time, allowing Gould to operate with Peter Ndlovu on one flank and John Williams, the Rumbelows Sprint Challenge winner, on the other in support of the big men.

Coventry City: S Ogrizovic; B Borrows, K Sansom, P Atherton, A Pearce, P Ndlovu, L McGrath (P Williams, 41 min), L Hurst, R Rosario, S Robson, J Williams. Subs not used: P Babb, J Gould (gk). Manager: B Gould.

Chelsea: K Hitchcock; G Hall, F Sinclair, A Townsend, D Lee, M Donaghy, G Stuart, R Fleck, M Harford, E Newton, D Barnard (G Le Saux, 69 min). Subs not used: C Burley, A Chamberlain (gk). Manager: I Porterfield.

Referee: M Peck (Kendal).

Goals: Harford (0-1, 35 min); Rosario, (1-1, 58 min); Stuart (1-2, 72 min).