Football: Quinn defies logic

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Coventry City. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Arsenal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

LITHE, mobile, and blessed with lightning pace: all of these are qualities you might expect in the modern Premiership striker. Mick Quinn possesses none of them, yet on Saturday he cheerfully cocked a snook at Ian Wright and would be more delighted still to do the same to Andy Cole when Coventry visit Newcastle, his employers at the start of last season, on Wednesday.

Quinn comfortably concedes two stone to both of his athletic rivals, but his capacity for a good supper is matched by his capacity to defy logic. In a sprint, Wright would cover 10 yards before Quinn left the blocks but while the England forward chased scraps at Highfield Road, Quinn tucked into half a dozen appetising chances and, but for the excellence of David Seaman, would have duplicated the hat-trick which so shook Arsenal at home on the season's opening day.

As it happened, he did not need to. The one occasion on which he beat the England goalkeeper was enough both to gain Phil Neal his first points as Coventry's manager and to end Arsenal's sequence of seven consecutive clean sheets away from home.

Defensive records are of dubious, essentially negative, value and Arsenal's contribution to this match was so lacking in positive ambition that they deserved nothing from it. Wright was quiet because he was barely given the ball by Arsenal's insipid midfield, who seemed content to aim long balls at Alan Smith's head rather than employ some imagination.

The home side, by contrast, were busily industrious, always looking for the short, intelligent pass. It was a reflection of the runaround to which Arsenal were subjected that four men in red shirts found their way into the referee's book, all for fouls that bore the mark of frustration. Nigel Winterburn was lucky that his card was not red when, in injury time, he hacked down Sean Flynn with quite unnecessary violence near the corner flag.

It has been Winterburn that Flynn dispossessed before providing the chance with which Quinn made his mark, 11 minutes from time. A low cross slid past Steve Bould, who had replaced Tony Adams a few minutes earlier, and Quinn nipped in front of Martin Keown to deflect it beyond Seaman.

Goal: Quinn (79).

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

Arsenal (4-4-2): Seaman; Dixon, Keown, Adams (Bould, 76), Winterburn; McGoldrick (Campbell, 76), Selley, Davis, Merson; Wright, Smith. Substitute not used: Miller (gk).

Referee: R Hart (Bishop Auckland).