McSheffrey sends Wolves packing

Wolves 0 Coventry City 1
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The Independent Online

Wolverhampton Wanderers' miserable Championship campaign took a further turn for the worse as Gary McSheffrey, a striker barely able to hold down a first-team place let alone score a goal this season, found the net to earn Coventry City a deserved victory from a fiercely fought midday Midlands derby.

Wolverhampton Wanderers' miserable Championship campaign took a further turn for the worse as Gary McSheffrey, a striker barely able to hold down a first-team place let alone score a goal this season, found the net to earn Coventry City a deserved victory from a fiercely fought midday Midlands derby.

A neat finish by McSheffrey, who slotted a volley past Michael Oakes just after the hour, sealed three points for a brave, resourceful Coventry side who staved off unrelenting pressure from Wolves before striking on the break.

Managerless Wolves, with Stuart Gray still in temporary charge, dominated Coventry before McSheffrey's goal, laying siege to the visitors' area as they crashed forward with numerous, but ultimately futile, attacks.

Luke Steele, the Coventry keeper on loan from Manchester United, was frequently on his toes but was rarely forced to make a telling save and easily gathered the best that Seyi Olofinjana, Kenny Miller and Carl Cort threw at him from long distance.

Steele was eventually caught out by Mark Kennedy's lob and a Colin Cameron effort but, even then, swarming Sky Blue defenders were on hand to clear away.

The reason for Wolves' downfall was clear and, unusually, given their record this campaign, it was not the defence who were to blame but their toothless strike-force. The final ball into the area, though regularly poor, was made to look even worse by Miller and Cort, whose lethargy allowed Coventry extra time to clear their lines.

When McSheffrey finally broke the deadlock and Wolves were forced to chase the game, there was a feeling that Coventry had employed the "rope-a-dope" tactic with precision as, with the home side stretched, McSheffrey and Stephen Hughes both struck the woodwork and Eddie Johnson missed from close range.

Coventry deserved their second away win of the season, which provides further proof that Peter Reid, their manager, is beginning to bend the club to his will after his less-than-popular appointment at Highfield Road. "Overall I thought we looked a decent side, and hopefully that will give the players more confidence," said Reid. "We've now beaten Wolves, West Ham, Reading and Sunderland - teams you would consider to be decent sides. This could be the start of a good run."

While Reid continues his building project, Wolves have yet to decide on who will lay the foundations for the future at Molineux after Dave Jones's dismissal, although their bite in defeat at least suggested that the task of pushing the club back into the Premiership is not impossible.

Rumours suggest that Rick Hayward, the Wolves chairman, will risk the wrath of supporters by turning to the former West Brom manager Gary Megson this week. But whatever his choice, defeat at home to Coventry is likely to rule out stand-in manager Gray and force the board into making a quick decision.

"The two wins I got have probably allowed the board more time to sift through the applications and review the interview process," said Gray with a grin. "But today's result might change matters.

"With regard to myself, I am contracted here for the next 18 months and I would imagine I will be staying. At least there was plenty of application in the team today. I could not fault them for that."

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