Football: Wilson aggrieved

Coventry City 1 Dublin pen 89 Barnsley 0 Attendance: 20,265
Click to follow
The Independent Online
COVENTRY set a new club record with a sixth win in a row, but they did so with an unsatisfactory performance that only found its controversial finishing touch as time ran out.

As David Burrows's free-kick curled into the Barnsley penalty area in the 89th-minute, Dion Dublin produced what seemed even to some Coventry supporters in the stand a rather extravagant rendition of that old favourite - Man Pushed In Back For Last Minute Penalty.

The referee, Alan Wilkie, was completely convinced, however, booking Peter Markstedt as well as awarding the spot-kick, duly converted by Dublin himself to establish a little bit of history that had looked increasingly destined to elude his side.

The Barnsley manager, Danny Wilson, with last Sunday's penalty that should have been at Old Trafford obviously still fresh in his mind, was seething about this award afterwards, only just stopping short of accusing Dublin of diving. "Dion's hit the deck like he's been hit with a sledgehammer," he said. "If it had been a foreign player who had done that everyone would have been up in arms. I thought it was a bad decision, but it's been a tale this week of penalties given and not given - both detrimental to us."

Wilson and his side were entitled to feel disappointed that their tenacious resistance had come to nothing, but a Coventry team playing with any of its recent panache would have beaten them long before the last couple of minutes.

Coventry had squandered two particularly inviting opportunities to win without the aid of the referee. Dublin had been heavily involved in the first of those chances, putting Darren Huckerby clear. The England B man homed in but shot wide and Coventry went even closer six minutes from time when the Barnsley goalkeeper, David Watson, was sufficiently harried to drive a clearance to George Boateng whose shot rolled slowly and agonisingly on to the post.

But then came the penalty award and all was forgiven and forgotten - although not, you fancy, by Wilson, whose side remain bottom of the Premiership despite becoming so much harder to vanquish by conventional means.