Football: Ogrizovic's glory

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The Independent Online
Blackburn Rovers 1

Sherwood 1

Coventry City 2

Jess 28, Huckerby 44

Attendance: 21,123

Steve Ogrizovic, sole survivor of Coventry's FA Cup-winning side of 10 years ago, took his team through to the fifth round of this year's competition with as good and as important a penalty save as he can have made in his long career.

Good measures of luck and determination, plus a smattering of football fine enough to belie their fortunes in the league, also played a part in Coventry's victory. But the vital moment came midway through the second half when Brian Borrows brought down Kevin Gallacher from behind and the referee pointed to the spot.

Chris Sutton's penalty was well struck towards the bottom left corner, but Ogrizovic flung himself full length to keep it out. As befits a man nearing his 40th birthday, he was less nimble in getting up again, leaving the ball to sit tantalisingly in front of goal as Sutton followed up. But Ogrizovic scrambled after it in time to protect Coventry's lead.

It was a lead built from the most unpromising foundations. As if to make up for being a round behind the rest of the field, the two teams at Ewood Park started a couple of minutes before three o'clock and Coventry were a goal down within 50 seconds of that premature kick-off. Graeme Le Saux was the architect, sliding his pass perfectly into the stride of the Blackburn captain Tim Sherwood, who swept it left-footed past Ogrizovic.

But if Coventry were discouraged, they did not let it show for long. Having survived further probing down the left by Le Saux and Jason Wilcox, they found a rhythm of their own and had a couple of good chances by the time they equalised just before the half-hour.

Paul Telfer's shot hammered into Eoin Jess, who recovered well to redirect the ball past Tim Flowers. Immediately before half-time, a piece of marvellously fluent football put them ahead. The increasingly influential Gary McAllister began a move full of instinctive touch and balance, Jess carried it on and Noel Whelan delivered the ball into the penalty area for Darren Huckerby to fire home.

Coventry rode their fortune on occasions after that, with Gallacher hitting the bar with a shot and Henning Berg the far post with a header. Ogrizovic did well to tip Paul Warhurst's header over the bar, but it would have ruined a good story if Coventry's Cup progress had been halted by a late goalkeeping error.

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