Football: Sheridan strikes late winner: Bolivia beaten in final minutes as Bonner equals Brady's record

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JOHN SHERIDAN saved the Republic of Ireland from a second scoreless World Cup workout in Dublin last night with a searing right-foot shot five minutes from the end, which fittingly was the final word in this argument between two America-bound sides.

The Sheffield Wednesday playmaker is forging a powerful argument for a starting place in Jack Charlton's preferred XI, thanks to the extra maturity in his game and the additional accuracy he lends to the Irish engine-room. He has now supplied the last two Republic goals at this stadium, and this latest had the additional kudos of being the 100th his country has scored at Charlton's renowned stronghold.

Sheridan and his team left it late, but there was no disputing the fact that the shot he unleashed with venom from 20 yards was just reward for a performance that, from an inauspicious beginning, grew with an impressive momentum.

It promised to break the obstinate resistance of the South Americans long before it did and, until Sheridan took careful aim as a Tony Cascarino header was deflected into his path, the evidence had supported the belief that it is in the goalscoring department where Ireland's prospects for USA '94 look most fragile. In a six-minute period midway through the second half three encouraging chances came and went. It is unlikely that such profligacy will go unpunished when the tournament begins for real.

Last night, Tommy Coyne again foraged in isolation up front after his sterling display in the Netherlands last month, which produced the winning goal for the Motherwell striker. He enhanced his reputation here, although he will look back on two opportunities that slipped away, first off his left foot, and later from his head.

Bolivia's first thought was to defend and they seldom ventured far enough upfield to trouble Pat Bonner on the occasion of his 72nd cap, which equalled Liam Brady's appearance record. That was until the 80th minute, when a bouncing shot from Julio Baldivieso appeared to catch the goalkeeper on his heels, and he was relieved to see it rebound off the upright.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND (4-5-1): Bonner (Celtic); Irwin (Manchester Utd), Moran (Blackburn), Babb (Coventry), Phelan (Manchester City); Houghton, Townsend (both Aston Villa), Keane (Manchester Utd), Sheridan (Sheffield Wednesday), Staunton (Aston Villa); Coyne (Motherwell). Substitutes: G Kelly (Leeds) for Irwin, h-t; Kernaghan (Manchester City) for Moran, h-t; McAteer (Bolton) for Houghton, 60; Cascarino (Chelsea) for Coyne, 84.

BOLIVIA (3-5-2): Trucco; Rimba (both Bolivar), Quinteros (The Strongest), Sandy (Bolivar); Soruco (Blooming), Pinedo (Oriente Petrolero), Baldivieso (Bolivar), Melgar (The Strongest), Cristaldo (Bolivar); A Pena (Temuco), Ramos (Bolivar). Substitutes: Moreno (Blooming) for Ramos, h-t; Borja (Bolivar) for Pinedo, 55; J Pena (Blooming) for Soruco, 88; R Castillo (Platense) for A Pena, 70.

Referee: A Howells (Wales).

Le Tissier's deal, page 35