Queen's Park Rangers. . . .1
COMPARISONS are odious, but one wonders how much wider Queen's Park Rangers' margin of victory would have been if Les Ferdinand had been fit to play. His replacement, Devon White, did all that was required of him, scoring the winner and making his not inconsiderable presence frequently felt among the Coventry back four.
But the 6ft 4in striker the fans call Bruno because of his resemblance to the heavyweight boxer should have knocked Coventry completely out of contention before half-time. With the England striker's speed and agility, a hat-trick would have been assured and five goals not out of the question.
The closest Coventry came to avoiding their third successive goalless defeat was when David Bardsley's back-pass almost crept inside Jan Stejskal's post. Their aimless performance acquired a little more urgency as the match wore on but no more skill or style or direction.
Rangers won it without ever really finding their own rhythm, but one laser-sharp pass from Gary Penrice was enough to shake up a dull afternoon and settle the issue. It split the defence and set up the man he once played alongside at Bristol Rovers to score with a low, hard drive inside the near post.
The Coventry manager, Phil Neal, said: 'Our offside trap failed, and although we would have expected Les Ferdinand to take advantage of a situation like that, with no disrespect we did not expect it of Mr White.'
It was White's fourth goal in only his third full Premiership match this season, but he had earlier seen a header kicked off the line by Peter Atherton, and blustered another chance wide from six yards.
In the absence of any Coventry creativity, QPR's own well-oiled offside trap was enough to contain them, and 55 minutes had elapsed before Mick Quinn assayed his side's first shot on goal.
'Without Roy Wegerle we don't have a lot of options up front,' said Neal. 'Perhaps I should take a tip from Trevor Francis and throw a centre-half forward.'