Football: Shearer at the double: Blackburn move into second place

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Blackburn Rovers. . .2

Coventry City . . . .1

PHIL NEAL lost his unbeaten record as Coventry's manager on the night he was confirmed in the job as Alan Shearer's two goals took Blackburn into second place in the Premiership.

Neal took a creditable record of a win and two draws in his caretaker capacity to a freezing Ewood Park. He could have come away with it intact if Peter Ndlovu had not hit the crossbar six minutes from time with a chance far easier than the one he had earlier hammered home.

Ndlovu had spent the first half looking like a man who had stumbled into the wrong climatic zone, but gave warning early in the second that he could yet warm matters up with one quicksilver run.

When John Williams robbed the previously immaculate Alan Wright, a clever cross gave the Zimbabwean the opportunity for a glorious strike into the top corner.

Shearer hit back within 90 seconds, taking the ball in an apparently unthreatening position wide in the Coventry area. Responding to the needs of the moment, he cut inside and squeezed his 13th goal of the season through a crowd of players and inside the near post.

Shearer's first of the night had been a simpler affair, putting an end to a series of near misses on a treacherous pitch by darting on to Wright's through ball.

But Blackburn were too willing to let Coventry come at them again. It was almost fatal to their chances of leading the pack in pursuit of Manchester United when Williams' run from a suspiciously offside position gave Ndlovu his late chance.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Flowers; Berg, May, Marker, Wright; Ripley (Gallacher, 80), Batty, Sherwood, Le Saux; Shearer, Newell. Substitutes not used: Pearce, Mimms (gk).

Coventry City (4-4-2): Ogrizovic; Borrows, Babb, Rennie (Flynn, 72), Morgan; Boland, Atherton, Marsden, Ndlovu; Williams, Quinn. Substitutes not used: Darby, Gould (gk).

Referee: K Burge (Tonypandy).