Jones rues 'Bluebird Flu' as tenacious Coventry steal a point

Cardiff City 0 Coventry City 0
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The Independent Football

The statistics sheet now reads that it is four games since Dave Jones's would-be contenders located the back of a net, a growing concern only fertilised by the absence of Michael Ricketts. The former England international is the latest to come down with a mystery virus that has swept through Ninian Park - "Bluebird Flu" they are inevitably calling it.

The perfect antidote would have been three points to hurl the Welshmen into the top six of England's second tier for the first time since 1978, and although the wealth of possession they enjoyed made them look good value for the maximum return, their paucity in front of goal rendered such dominance worthless.

There, at the business end, Cardiff palpably did not control it; Coventry's three centre-halves did, putting Cameron Jerome's Premiership potential into some sort of perspective. "The kid's just not ready yet," said Jones. "He's not going anywhere."

And neither are Cardiff unless Jerome and Alan Lee learn to make the most of the scraps such dogfights afford. Twice Lee found the billboards when the goal was gaping; once from a Joe Ledley cross to the far post and again with his head from close range as the break approached. Marton Fulop proved able in the Coventry goal all afternoon, especially when superbly turning away Lee's curling right-footer on 51 minutes.

And that was Cardiff's loudest shout, despite rarely having to venture back into their own half. "Our goalkeeper had so little to do he could have read the Sunday newspapers," said Jones. Neil Alexander may even have flicked to the Championship table. And sighed.

Cardiff City (4-4-2): Alexander; Weston, Purse, Loovens, Barker; Koumas, Whitley, Ledley, Cooper (Ferretti, 85); Lee (Parry, 75), Jerome. Substitutes not used: Margetson (gk), Cox, Ardley.

Coventry City (3-5-2): Fulop; Page, Shaw, Heath; Duffy, Nalis, Hughes, Thornton, Hall; Scowcroft, McSheffrey (Adebola, 70). Substitutes not used: Ince (gk), Morrell, Jorgensen, Whing.

Referee: C Penton (Sussex).

Attendance: 11,424.