Football: Harford homes in

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Coventry City. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Newcastle United. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

AMID much mirth from the massed Blaydon faces, Coventry's Mick Quinn squandered a spot- kick against his former employers shortly before half-time at Highfield Road last night. By the end, those same supporters had been stunned into silence by a goal from another ex-Newcastle No 9, Mick Harford, which completed a rousing fight back by the home side with four minutes remaining.

Pavel Srnicek, the Newcastle goalkeeper, was sent off for the foul that prompted the penalty award, at which time Newcastle led through an own goal by Peter Atherton. The rules allow a substitute keeper to replace the banished player, so it could be argued that justice was served when first Peter Ndlovu, with a stunning strike, and then the 34- year-old Harford beat Tommy Wright in the second half.

The result leaves both sides with 100 per cent records after two Premiership matches. Unfortunately for newly promoted Newcastle, theirs is composed of defeats. Worse still, their next fixture is at Manchester United.

Newcastle had looked capable of puncturing the optimism Coventry carried over from Highbury after taking a 23rd-minute lead. Jonathan Gould, the boss's boy, looked to have Liam O'Brien free-kick covered, only for Atherton to deflect the ball out of his reach and into the net.

But in the 37th minute, John Beresford inexplicably passed straight to Roy Wegerle. Srnicek hauled down the American as he tried to round him, with inevitable consequences, but the man whose hat-trick had demolished Arsenal skied the penalty into the building site behind Wright's goal.

Coventry deservedly equalised in the 58th minute through Ndlovu. Receiving the ball from the wiry Wegerle 18 yards out, Zimbabwe's answer to Ryan Giggs danced past a defender before unleashing a rising right- footed drive, which the combined talents of Wright and Srnicek would have struggled to keep out.

Newcastle's 10 men finally succumbed when one substitute, Paul Williams, centred for another, Harford, to mark his arrival from Sunderland with a looping header which must have had a sickening familiarity for the visiting hordes.

Coventry City (3-4-1-2): Gould; Atherton, Rennie, Babb; Flynn, Sheridan (Harford, 73), Ndlovu, Morgan (P Williams, 73); Wegerle; Quinn, J Williams. Substitute not used: Ogrizovic (gk).

Newcastle United (4-5-1): Srnicek; Watson, Venison, Scott, Beresford; Bracewell, O'Brien, Clark, Papavasiliou (Wright, 37), Lee; Cole. Substitutes not used: Allen, Appleby.

Referee: I Borrett (Norfolk).