Football: Huckerby the revivalist for Sky Blues

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The Independent Online
THE need to bounce back quickly, a favoured cliche of club managers after a humbling defeat, was the only apt description of yesterday's Premiership visit by Derby County, beaten 5-0 at home by Leeds United last time out, to Coventry City, FA Cup quarter-final victims of First Division Sheffield United.

Coventry it was who got their recuperation in first with a 1-0 win, a scoreline which wholly failed to reflect their dominance. The game was settled a minute before the interval. Paul Telfer played a short corner to Noel Whelan and his ball into the area found Darren Huckerby who controlled the ball and swivelled to volley in from 12 yards for his 12th goal of the season.

In the Sky Blues goal, Steve Ogrizovic was playing the 600th league game of his career. He cannot have had many quieter 90 minutes. The victory made it six wins and a draw in seven Premiership games for Coventry but asks serious questions about Derby's Uefa Cup aspirations.

A top-six finish has also been in Leicester City's sights but it was the relegation plight of Bolton Wanderers which set the tone of the bad- tempered game at Burnden Park. Each side had a player sent off in the first half before two goals from Alan Thompson brought Wanderers three precious points. But before the glory, the sendings off.

The Bolton defender, Gudni Bergsson, went after 26 minutes for a "professional" foul on Emile Heskey. Fifteen minutes of tetchy, niggling play later Robert Ullathorne, the Leicester full-back, lashed out at Per Frandsen to become referee Uriah Rennie's second red card.

In the second half, spaces inevitably occurred and in the 52nd minute a curling shot from the edge of the area brought Thompson his seventh goal of the season. He made it eight a minute from the end to confirm the precious points for Bolton.

At the happy end of the First Division, Sunderland recaptured one of the automatic promotion places when they beat Bury 2-1 at the Stadium of Light. But they had a fright when Bryan Small gave the Shakers a 28th- minute lead. Lee Clark equalised just before half time and a Kevin Phillips penalty 20 minutes from the end lifted the Wearsiders above their North- east rivals Middlesbrough.

Speaking of Boro, Juninho might not have fancied Nationwide First Division football but two other South Americans are finding it to their liking. Marcelo scored the only goal at Bramall Lane as Sheffield United beat Port Vale to keep up their play-off challenge while Edinho scored Bradford City's winner in the 2-1 defeat of struggling Manchester City.

Finally, congratulations to Notts County and Barry Town. County became the first club since the Second World War to be promoted as early as March and go up from the Third Division after their 1-0 home win over Leyton Orient. Bunting out for Barry, too. Their 5-0 win over Bangor City made them League of Wales champions, and the first British team this season to qualify for Europe.

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