Football: Mutch matches Wegerle's brilliance

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The Independent Online
Coventry City. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

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SWINDON'S spirit, allied to a defiant adherence to purist principles, earned the Premiership's bottom club a potentially precious point against the odds at Highfield Road last night.

With an entertaining game in its final seconds and Coventry leading through Roy Wegerle's 73rd- minute goal, Andy Mutch equalised with a stunning near-post volley. It was the third successive match in which Swindon had scored in the last minute, two of those goals securing a draw.

If the result was harsh on Coventry, who deserved a third consecutive victory, it was difficult to begrudge John Gorman's side their reward after a fightback in which they persevered with a passing game to the end.

Much more of this drama and we will have to start calling him Stormin' Gorman. 'It would have been easy to throw in the towel after that superb strike by Wegerle,' he said. 'But our goal was fitting reward for the way we stuck at it. Coventry are one of the form teams, yet we played our football and deserved the draw.'

However, Gorman was stretching the point when he suggested Swindon might have 'sneaked it'. They often lived dangerously in defence, and were relieved to see three Coventry efforts hit the woodwork.

Phil Neal's assessment was closer to the mark. 'We did enough to have won it,' the Coventry manager sighed. 'We've got to be more professional in finishing teams off.'

Neal has inspired a mini-revival since succeeding Bobby Gould in October. Two players, in particular, have responded to the new man's methods: Wegerle, whom Neal had called upon to complement his class with a greater supply of goals, and Chris Marsden, a stylish midfielder on loan from Huddersfield. Marsden, who is due to return to Leeds Road this week unless Coventry buy him, set up the American's third goal in as many matches, a rising angled drive into the roof of the net. Coventry should have had the game won long before then. Brian Borrows, from 25 yards, had rattled Swindon's bar after seven minutes, while Marsden and Peter Ndlovu each struck an upright either side of half-time.

They might also have had a penalty when Martin Ling appeared to foul Ndlovu, but the referee did not look kindly on the Zimbabwean's theatrical fall. Swindon's best chance - almost their only opportunity until a late flurry - fell to Paul Bodin, only for the Welshman to chip obligingly into Steve Ogrizovic's hands.

In the final minute Terry Fenwick had a header hacked off the line by Marsden, but like spit on the wind, Swindon came straight back. The ball was worked wide to Ling, whose cross was met by Mutch for the former Wolves striker's seventh goal since his arrival in September.

Coventry City (4-4-2): Ogrizovic; Borrows, Atherton, Babb, Morgan; Flynn, Darby, Marsden, Ndlovu; J Williams (Quinn, 62), Wegerle. Substitutes not used: Rennie, Gould (gk).

Swindon Town (4-4-2): Hammond; Summerbee, Whitbread, Taylor, Horlock; Ling, Moncur, Fenwick, Bodin; Mutch, Maskell (Scott, 72). Substitutes not used: McLaren, Cook (gk).

Referee: B Hill (Kettering).