Chippo ends Coventry's frustrations

Coventry City 2 Walsall 1
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Inconsistency has dogged Coventry City's attempt to return to the Premiership, but after their thumping 6-1 win at Crewe 10 days ago they were able to follow up with a hard-fought victory over their West Midlands rivals Walsall at Highfield Road last night.

They did, however, have to wait until eight minutes from time for the substitute Youssef Chippo to deliver a most spectacular winning goal. The dipping right-foot shot that soared over the Walsall goalkeeper, Jimmy Walker, from 25 yards altered the outcome of a match that had appeared to be gaining a welcome point for Colin Lee's struggling side and gives Roland Nilsson's team fresh impetus towards a play-off place.

Coventry had gone ahead first in the 21st minute with a goal that punished Walsall for slack defending, a poor clearance by Pedro Matias going straight to the unmarked right-back Barry Quinn deep in the visitors' half.

David Thompson collected Quinn's quickly played cross in the 'D' and despite the proximity of several defenders was able to make space for a right-foot shot that the goalkeeper Walker could only deflect into the net.

This might have been the signal for Coventry to take firm control. Instead, they were pegged back to 1-1 within four minutes with question marks against their own defending, David Holdsworth heading home at the near post after Matias swung in a corner from the right.

Given that Coventry had signed the ex-England goalkeeper, Tim Flowers, on loan from Leicester City less than six hours before kick-off after Magnus Hedman cried off injured, a misunderstanding was always on the cards.

Coventry then carved out a number of chances, the best of which was set up nicely by Lee Mills for his strike partner Lee Hughes, who was disappointed to see his acrobatic scissor-kick sail high over the bar.

The home side lost Hughes to injury early in the second half and although his replacement was to be their eventual matchwinner, until Chippo's stunning strike secured the spoils it seemed frustration would be the story of the night.

Thompson went close to a second goal in the 63rd minute with a fierce low drive, beaten away by Walker, and was thwarted again when he drilled back the rebound. Appeals for a penalty for Ian Roper's 75th-minute challenge on substitute Gary McSheffrey were turned down, then Walker smothered a header from Lee Mills on the goalline.

Coventry City (4-4-2): Flowers; Quinn, Konjic, Breen, Hall; Delorge (McSheffrey, 64), Safri, Healy, Thompson; Mills, Hughes (Chippo, 55). Substitutes not used: Fowler, Montgomery (gk), Betts.

Walsall (4-4-2): Walker; Shields, Holdsworth, Roper, Aranalde; Corica, O'Connor, Biancalani, Matias (Garrocho,85); Leitao (Byfield, 79), Marcelo. Substitutes not used: Simpson, Harper (gk), Gadsby.

Referee: A Kaye (Wakefield).