Football: Smith on the sly

Coventry City 1 Whelan 16 Derby County 1 Carsley 50 Half-time: 1-0 Attendance: 16,627

BACK IN the shadows of rele-gation, Coventry yesterday thought they had done enough in the first half at Highfield Road to lift a corner of the curtain, but Derby's wise and wickedly witty Jim Smith deployed his substitutes and for the second successive week changed the course of the match.

The endearing thing about Derby is that Smith keeps talking about the richest and supposedly best teams in the Premiership as if they live on a different planet. Everyone knows that having met all the top nine teams this season and not been overwhelmed by any of them, Derby now need only to play as well at home as they usually do away to have starry ambitions. In fact, yesterday's match against a Coventry team down on their luck had the makings of light relief.

That optimism was quickly put in abeyance when Coventry came at them with tenacious drive through the seemingly ageless ingenuity and foresight of Gary McAllister, plus the pace of Darren Huckerby. But, presumably, manager Gordon Strachan had been doing his research and found that Coventry had created 60 goal-scoring chances in their previous three matches and scored only twice.

So it was as much a surprise to Strachan as it was to Derby when, in the 17th minute, McAllister charged down Horacio Carbonari's attempted clearance which veered to Stephen Froggatt. His shot was only banged into the ground by Mart Poom and Noel Whelan swept the ball in.

Derby barely constructed an attack, let alone a shot, until half-time was pending. Paulo Wanchope and Dean Sturridge languished largely unserved, while Coventry's midfield dominated two-thirds of the pitch.

Coventry had left their new signing from Portsmouth, John Aloisi, on the bench and seemed in no urgent need of his goal-scoring reputation. Huckerby's pace kept Derby on their heels and Poom did well in an otherwise erratic display to block one of his drives and another from Paul Williams.

Smith's reaction to the situation was to take off Sturridge and Keith Harper and replace them with Steve Elliott in defence and Lee Carsley in mid-field. The effect was productive, bringing Derby back into the game within five minutes of the interval. Wanchope released the ball to Rory Delap, whose shot was deflected backwards for Carsley to push over the line.

But for a sporting instant decision not to fall over - or perhaps a lack of appraisal of his situation - Huckerby would surely have extracted a penalty when Elliott clipped his ankle as he again charged through the Derby area. With Derby so revived it was generosity Coventry were soon in real danger of seriously regretting, but Strachan said afterwards that "99.9 per cent of players would have gone down, but I'll not be teaching him how to dive".

Coventry's chances only added to Strachan's frustration and Derby earned their point through a significant increase in defensive composure, thanks largely to Smith's substitutions.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
News
i100
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little