Football: Logic of Strachan hard to follow

Coventry City 1 Derby County 1

CALL THIS old fashioned, but surely the idea of substitutions, when the scores are level, is to produce a goal. So the reasoning of Gordon Strachan, when Coventry had been pegged back to 1-1, in leaving the country's second leading goalscorer on the bench for 88 minutes must remain hidden in managerial subterfuge.

Coventry City need goals. They also understand their place in the food chain that is football's natural hierarchy. So they sold the man now the Premiership's leading scorer for pounds 5.75m (and next day Dion Dublin scored twice for Aston Villa); six weeks later they bought a 22-year-old, 17- goal marksman (and next day John Aloisi was named as substitute).

Fair play; no flaw in the argument thus far. But when relegation-threatened Coventry, to hand back their full title temporarily mislaid last season, have failed to capitalise on total first-half dominance against Derby players still musing over what to buy the wife for Christmas, then logic suggests that throwing on a youngster keen for success might be a handy tactic.

But when did logic have anything to do with football? Last week Jim Smith, the Derby manager, played three substitutes and saw one, his goal-hungry striker Dean Sturridge, grab an equaliser against Chelsea. This time he threw on a centre-back and a defensive midfielder and saw the latter, Lee Carsley, equalise Noel Whelan's first-half effort.

"Football's becoming more and more of a squad game and, fortunately, we've got a good squad," said Steve McClaren, the Derby coach. "John's not had much time with us," said Strachan. "But his time will come," and recalled how, last January, when leading at Chelsea, he brought on a fourth striker in giving Viorel Moldovan his debut. "I got my fingers burned," said Strachan. "We went from 1-0 up to 3-1 down."

Maybe fortune favours the brave. Certainly Strachan threw down the gauntlet to his first-choice forwards in buying Aloisi from Portsmouth for pounds 650,000 and he has a longer-term view than one Midlands derby. Whelan responded well, looking sharp from the off, snapping up his sixth goal of the season when Mart Poom could only parry Steve Froggatt's 17th-minute shot. But when he fired over the bar when well-placed two minutes into first-half injury time, Derby appreciated their reprieve.

Smith clearly has the golden touch with substitutions. He asked the left wing-back Rory Delap to play as an inside- forward and, assisted by the striker who did survive the half-time chop, Paolo Wanchope, it was the former Carlisle midfielder who centred for Carsley to score on the turn. It was the Republic of Ireland international's first goal for 15 months. But, then, Derby clearly know how to make their substitutions pay.

Goals: Whelan (17) 1-0; Carsley (50) 1-1.

Coventry City (4-4-2): Hedman; Nilsson, Shaw, Williams, Edworthy (Breen, 73); Telfer (Boateng, 85), McAllister (Aloisi, 88), Soltvedt, Froggatt; Huckerby, Whelan. Substitutes not used: Ogrizovic (gk), Shilton.

Derby County (3-4-3): Poom; Prior, Carbonari, Laursen; Delap, Powell, Bohinen, Dorigo (Hunt, 66); Sturridge (Elliott, h-t), Wanchope, Harper (Carsley, h-t). Substitutes not used: Hoult (gk), Christie.

Referee: U Rennie (Sheffield).

Bookings: Coventry: Telfer, Froggatt. Derby: Dorigo, Powell, Delap, Wanchope.

Man of the match: Shaw.

Attendance: 16,627.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
News
news
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£55 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We are looking to recruit two ...

Primary supply teachers required in Ipswich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary teachers requ...

Science Technician

£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Preston: A school in Preston require a S...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week