Football: Own goal sets Coventry on their way: Ipswich hit self-destruct button

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The Independent Online
Coventry City. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Ipswich Town . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

POINTS won by whatever means are welcome to these sides, neither of whom is well equipped to survive another season in the Premiership. An own goal and a penalty decided these in Coventry's favour and they are not about to complain.

The portents were never good for Ipswich, for whom six defeats in seven matches preceded last night's contest, a dismal run interrupted somewhat perversely by the defeat of Manchester United at Portman Road. Injuries robbed them of three of their multi-national squad when Paul Mason, Ian Marshall and the Uruguayan, Adrian Paz, failed fitness tests. Boncho Genchev was required by the Bulgarian national team.

Even so, a bright opening to the second half suggested more might have been achieved by the East Anglian team. Headers by Chris Kiwomya and Steve Sedgley forced Steve Ogrizovic to double his first-half work-rate.

Craig Forrest, meanwhile, was considerably busier and the scoreline would certainly have been more emphatic but for a string of high-quality saves by the Canadian goalkeeper. A point- blank stop from David Rennie's header displayed lightning reactions which he matched in thwarting a swerving Dion Dublin shot.

It was a frustrating night for Coventry's pounds 2m Manchester United discard, seeking to extend a scoring run of six goals in as many games. But consolation came, in first-half stoppage time, when the outstretched leg of John Wark thwarted Sean Flynn's attempt to locate Dublin with an awkward low cross from the right only to turn the ball into his own net.

The combination of Dublin and Roy Wegerle, which had yielded five goals in two preceding games, looked to have produced another when the American launched a fierce drive only for Forrest to pull off another save.

The reprieve for the visitors was not long-lasting, however. The penalty awarded against Gavin Johnson after a challenge on Wegerle, six minutes later, looked a little harsh but Paul Cook did not waste the opportunity to put the game out of Ipswich's reach.

A paltry attendance of fewer than 10,000 reflected the presence of television cameras at a match hardly well off for selling points. But, come next spring, it may prove to have been a significant occasion for one or both teams.

Coventry City (4-4-2): Ogrizovic; Pickering, Busst, Rennie, Morgan; Flynn, Darby, Cook, Jones (Ndlovu, 83); Dublin, Wegerle. Substitutes not used: Borrows, Gould (gk).

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Forrest; Yallop, Wark, Linighan, Johnson; Palmer, Williams, Sedgley, Slater (Cotterell, 71); Kiwomya, Thomsen. Substitutes not used: Gregory, Baker (gk).

Referee: R Hart (Bishop Auckland).