Allardyce purrs at tactical mastery

Coventry City 1 West Ham United 2
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The Independent Football

How ironic, considering the madcap suggestion about substitutions from Coventry City's corridors of power this week, that Sam Allardyce should demonstrate why such matters are best left to the professionals.

Leonard Brody, a Canadian businessman departed Coventry's board by proposing that supporters be allowed to vote by text on who managers should withdraw. West Ham will happily leave the decision-making to Allardyce after two of the men he sent on, Carlton Cole and Frédéric Piquionne, brought this sixth away win.

The goals gave the Hammers an even firmer grip on the Championship's second place and left the manager smiling: "I can call myself a master tactician. You earn your money by turning a game round through spotting what's wrong and I changed the system by matching Coventry up in midfield. I reminded the players we were attacking the end where we had 6,500 fans. Fortunately, I had very talented players to send on."

Cole, still being eased back after injury, can expect a full recall after this telling 45-minute contribution. Luck was on his side as he emerged unpunished from a borderline tangle with Richard Keogh from Robert Green's long kick and scored with a left-foot shot.

Six minutes after West Ham's 2,000th away League goal, Coventry's susceptibility to implode was underlined. Julien Faubert's long diagonal centre was comically headed against the falling Piquionne by Cyrus Christie and the ball bounced in off the forward's thigh.

Coventry edged a dull first half, and seized a 38th minute lead when Clive Platt exposed Abdoulaye Faye's poor marking.

Coventry (4-1-2-1-2): Murphy; Christie (Wood, 80), Keogh, Cranie, Hussey; Clingan; Thomas, Bigirimana; McSheffrey (Baker, 75); Jutkiewicz, Platt.

West Ham (4-5-1): Green; Faubert, Faye, Tomkins, McCartney; Collison, Noble, Diop (Piquionne, 62), Nolan, Baldock (O'Brien, 80); Carew (Cole, h-t).

Referee Keith Stroud.

Man of the match Noble (West Ham).

Match rating 6/10.