Wolverhampton 1 Coventry City 0: Collins educates Coventry in art of striking at death

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The Independent Football

An injury-time header from their substitute, Neill Collins, gave Wolves the victory they deserved from this dire local derby at Molineux.

The match was meandering its way towards a goalless draw when, in the third minute of time added on, its best player Michael Kightly, put in a cross from the right for Collins to finish.

Wolves had done well to adapt to the loss of two players in the first half, while the better chances had fallen to Coventry so this could be ranked as a late escape for the home side.

Coventry, three points ahead of Wolves at kick-off and with the boost of that memorable Carling Cup victory at Old Trafford, had every reason to travel with confidence to a team with only one win in their last six but Michael Mifsud, whose goals knocked out Manchester United, could not repeat his feat of two weeks ago.

Wolves' first injury setback came after 20 minutes when the experienced Michael Gray injured himself in a 50-50 tackle.

The disruption continued for the hosts when they had to replace Wayne Hennessey after the goalkeeper collided with Robbie Simpson. Using two substitutes so early was not in the game plan of Mick McCarthy although City lacked the composure to take advantage.

That almost changed when the speedy Mifsud got the chance to run through, but his shot from a narrow angle was comfortably saved by the replacement in goal, Graham Stack.

Wolves should have taken the lead five minutes before half-time, a precise through-ball from Karl Henry releasing Kightly, whose first shot was saved by Andy Marshall's legs before his follow-up header went wide.

Wolves brought on their leading scorer, Freddy Eastwood, in a bid to add the missing punch, but Coventry had the better chances - one was wasted when Stephen Hughes shot straight at Stack and the next saw the goalkeeper deny Mifsud.

Wolves were too prone to concede free-kicks in dangerous areas. One of them, for Gary Breen's foul on Mifsud on the edge of the area, set off a bout of push and shove. There is no Earnie Hunt or Willy Carr among Coventry's dead-ball specialists these days and another free-kick cannoned into the wall.

Eleven minutes from time Jay Tabb's ball released Michael Doyle for what should have been the winner, but the Coventry captain put it past the far post.

By that time, the sides from opposite ends of the Midlands seemed to have reconciled themselves to one point, which was all either of them was really worth after such an undistinguished afternoon's effort, but Kightly and Collins had the final word on that.