Bell will toll again for silent Warnock
Crystal Palace 0 Coventry City 1
An already dismal season for Crystal Palace is set to subside into further despair as Neil Warnock, the manager, prepares to move across London to take over at Queens Park Rangers. If that comes to pass – and it is expected to occur once Palace's FA Cup fifth-round replay at Aston Villa on Wednesday night is out of the way – the Yorkshireman will leave Selhurst Park with the Eagles in the Championship relegation zone.
The club has already been docked 10 points for going into administration and Roy Keane's Ipswich are now above them following a late winner from Coventry substitute David Bell. Warnock certainly could be forgiven for jumping ship to a club where there are no financial worries, although Loftus Road has been something of a managerial graveyard since Flavio Briatore took over almost three years ago.
The Italian has just stepped down however and Warnock gave no indication that he would be staying put in his present position. "I don't even want to mention it, I'm sorry," he said. "No comment – so you can make a story out of that. I won't be talking about that tonight. I'm talking about my players tonight. I've done nothing but talk about that." Asked if he would still be in charge for the Villa game he declared: "I'm bloody looking forward to it!"
A game that seemed destined to finish scoreless was settled five minutes from time in a fashion that was out of keeping with the scrappy fare that had preceded it, with the red-booted Bell making rapid progress down the right beyond the home back line.
Julian Speroni, the Palace goalkeeper, came out to meet him but could only watch as Bell floated the ball over him from just outside the penalty box. It landed just in front of the far upright and went in off it.
Palace worked hard if not effectively, with Darren Ambrose unlucky on a number of occasions. Coventry goalkeeper Keiren Westwood almost let a low drive go in through his legs, getting just enough on the ball to divert it wide, and was grateful for centre-back Richard Wood's block on the line just before half-time after Alan Lee had set Ambrose up in the box.
Before Bell's decider, team-mate Aron Gunnarsson had spurned a much clearer chance with Speroni managing to come out on top in a one-on-one contest.
Palace applied pressure whenever they could but only Ambrose possessed the necessary quality to threaten a breakthrough. Westwood managed to get just enough on a low drive to deflect it wide through his legs and needed centre-back Wood to block another Ambrose effort on the line.
Both chances came before the break however and Coventry's second-half display was impressive enough to merit victory on a pitch that is as untidy as the Palace accounts.
City manager Chris Coleman, who was a Palace player in happier times, said: "You have to feel sorry for them because it's not their fault."
Latest in Sport
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
McDowell did brilliantly to land the World Match Play title in Bulgaria last week, but it’s a format...
by Gareth Purnell
23 May 2013 09:13 AM
- 1 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.