Football: Sky Blues are unclear

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The Independent Online
Coventry City . . .2

Crystal Palace. . .2

IT WAS one of those grey, wet days that make you wonder why Coventry City were ever called the Sky Blues. The match, however, had its hand-warming moments of excitement. Certainly there was plenty to clap about during a frenetic first half as defenders lost their feet and forwards kept their heads in the inclement conditions.

Peter Ndlovu, after his spectacular goal last week, was obviously a marked man. He had already fallen under a couple of heavy challenges before Eddie McGoldrick nudged him over in the seventh minute. McGoldrick was booked for over-protesting his innocence, and Ndlovu was amply avenged when Lee Hurst's free- kick was headed powerfully in at the far post by Andy Pearce.

Palace's reply was almost immediate, Chris Coleman drilling home an equaliser from the edge of the box, following Robert Rosario's weak defensive header. It was 10 minutes before Coventry regained the lead, the elusive Gallacher materialising at the near post to head home Ndlovu's cross from the left.

The pressure of expectation did not seem to be telling on the young Zimbabwean. On the half-hour he nutmegged Robert Shaw near the half-way line and raced 50 yards before whipping over a low cross which both Gallacher and Rosario only just failed to convert. The miss proved costly eight minutes later when John Salako found space on the left and McGoldrick rose unchallenged to nod in his cross.

It was the home team that had the better chances to secure the match in the second half. Pearce shot tamely into the side netting after beating the Palace offside trap, and with five minutes remaining, Gallacher raced clear only to see his shot blocked by Nigel Martyn. The loose ball spun tantalisingly away from John Williams, sliding in. Bobby Gould will probably be keeping his Manager of the Month champagne on ice for the moment.

Coventry City: S Ogrizovic; B Borrows, K Sansom, P Atherton, A Pearce, P Ndlovu, L McGrath, L Hurst, R Rosario (T Fleming, 88 min), K Gallacher, J Williams. Subs not used: P Babb, J Gould (gk). Manager: B Gould.

Crystal Palace: N Martyn; R Shaw, L Sinnott, G Southgate, E Young, S Osborn, P Williams, C Coleman, C Armstrong, J Salako, E McGoldrick. Subs not used: G Thomas, S Collymore, P Heald (gk). Manager: S Coppell.

Referee: G Ashby (Worcester).

Goals: Pearce (1-0, 7 min); Coleman (1-1, 8 min); Gallacher (2-1, 18 min); McGoldrick (2-2, 38 min).