Football: Wimbledon defy critics

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The Independent Online
Coventry City. . .0

Wimbledon. . . . .2

THE announcement of Wimbledon's demise appears - once again - to have been an exaggeration. After their midweek chastisement by Everton the pundits were gleefully prophesying the end for the Premier League's least popular team. At Highfield Road, however, they out-fought and out-played a curiously inept Coventry City side.

Coventry might have taken the lead in the opening seconds when Robert Rosario robbed the ball straight after the kick-off and pushed it through to John Williams. Williams's pace carried him clear but Hans Segers came off his line to make a fine double save.

It was to be the home side's best chance of the match. Missing the pace of Kevin Gallagher (injury) and Peter Ndlovu (international duty for Zimbabwe) Coventry lacked penetration.

Wimbledon, by contrast, had a wealth of attacking options. They had taken the commendable risk of playing with four forwards, and on this occasion fortune favoured the brave.

They took the lead in the fourth minute when Dean Holdsworth collected the ball in the box and held off two challenges before making enough space to drive a low shot inside Steve Ogrizovic's left-hand post. Coventry managed to reach the interval without further damage, but 10 minutes after the restart the game was put beyond them. Vinny Jones touched the ball through Coventry's defensive line, Neal Ardley laid it on to Andy Clarke who, despite a suspicion of offside, ran through to score. After that the Wimbledon fans - and there were several dozen of them - drowned out the Sky Blue faithful as they cheered their team home.

Coventry: S Ogrizovic; B Borrows, P Babb, P Atherton, D Busst, J Williams, P Billing (S Flynn, 64 min), M Gynn, R Rosario, M Quinn, L Hurst. Subs not used: A Pearce, J Gould (gk). Manager: B Gould.

Wimbledon: H Segers; R Joseph, B McAllister, V Jones, J Scales, D Blackwell, N Ardley, R Earle, J Fashanu, D Holdsworth, A Clarke (G Dobbs, 84 min). Substitutes: L Sanchez, N Sullivan (gk). Manager: J Kinnear.

Referee: Mr R Gifford (Mid-Glamorgan)

Goals: Holdsworth (0-1, 4 min); Clarke (0-2, 55 min).