Football: Keane and Froggatt punish former boss

Coventry City 4 Watford 0; Watford sink further after a thumping at Coventry
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GRAHAM TAYLOR'S past came back to haunt him on his return to the West Midlands yesterday. Not, for once, in the form of the "Turnip" taunts which have followed him around since his time as manager of England, but in the identity of the players whose lethal finishing set Coventry on their way to an emphatic victory at the expense of his Watford side.

Robbie Keane and Steve Froggatt owe their starts in football to Taylor, who took them on as teenagers during his spells with Wolves and Aston Villa, respectively. They repaid him with stunning first-half strikes which undermined Watford's deceptive early promise and pushed them towards a fifth successive Premiership defeat.

As if to rub salt in the wounds, Froggatt set up an exhilarating third for Mustapha Hadji early in the second half and Keane earned the penalty which the outstanding Gary McAllister converted to take Coventry's scoring tally to 15 goals in five fixtures at Highfield Road.

While the Sky Blues remain in 13th place, they will enter November some five points clear of the relegation zone and just two adrift of their much resented local rivals, Villa. At this rate the peerless survivors will even outlast the hereditary peers.

There cannot have been many occasions during Coventry's 32-year tenure in the top flight when they have so comprehensively outclassed their opponents. But Watford, like Sheffield Wednesday, already have a doomed look. Even allowing for the absence here of a team's worth of suspended and injured players, the never-relegated Taylor will have to perform another loaves- and-fishes job to preserve his record.

Once Coventry had settled, they ruthlessly exposed the dearth of class and confidence in those protecting Alec Chamberlain. It will have been scant consolation to the endlessly vocal away following that it took some spectacular goals to break them.

The effervescent Keane, Gordon Strachan's pounds 6m man, despatched the first in a blur after Coventry's Belgian debutant, Cedric Roussel, marked the first appearance of his loan from Ghent with a nod-down from Froggatt's cross which begged to be met by a first-time volley. Keane has now scored six times since arriving from Molineux and should have taken his haul into double figures by the end.

The Dubliner soon returned the compliment, Froggatt taking his pass before skirting round two defenders and angling a fierce drive back across the goal and past Nigel Gibbs on the far post.

Any hopes Watford had of getting back into the game disappeared four minutes after the interval. Following yet another cross by Froggatt, Hadji chested the ball down before shrugging off Darren Ward and firing in off the underside of the bar.

Shortly after the hour, Steve Palmer handled under pressure from Keane as they contested Paul Telfer's long pass. McAllister, a model of industry and invention all afternoon, showed his coolness from the spot and Taylor's woe was complete.

Goals: Keane (17) 1-0; Froggatt (33) 2-0; Hadji (49) 3-0; McAllister (pen 62) 4-0.

Coventry City (4-4-2): Hedman; Telfer, Shaw, Williams, Hall; Hadji, McAllister, Palmer, Froggatt; Keane, Roussel. Substitutes not used: Breen, Eustace, Strachan, McSheffrey, Ogrizovic (gk).

Watford (3-4-1-2): Chamberlain; Gibbs, Palmer, Panayi (Ward, h-t); Lyttle, Hyde, Johnson, Easton; Miller (Ngonge, h/t); Wooter, Smith (Gudmundsson, 73). Substitutes not used: Perpetuini, Day (gk).

Referee: P Durkin (Portland,).

Booking: Coventry: Froggatt.

Man of the match: McAllister.

Attendance: 21,700.