Force of Rovers

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Blackburn Rovers 4

Sutton 17, 34, Gallacher 30, Donis 76

Coventry City 0

Attendance: 24,055

This was a stroll for Blackburn, who are playing so impressively these days one can scarcely believe they were bottom of the table for the best part of two months. Under the temporary stewardship of Tony Parkes they have lost only once in their last 10 Premiership games, keeping clean sheets in the last four.

Not that Coventry did much to make things difficult for them yesterday, which was disappointing from a side whose run of 13 points from five matches had deservedly won Gordon Strachan the accolade of manager of the month. But they were defensively negligent here, especially in the first half when their problems were compounded by the sending-off, for the second consecutive match, of Dion Dublin.

Dismissed against Sunderland when Coventry last played two weeks ago, Dublin took no further part after only 20 minutes yesterday, a dreadful two- footed lunge into the defender Henning Berg, who required stitches, leaving the referee, Paul Durkin, with no option but the red card. No wonder Dublin hung his head. Facing a three-match ban for his previous misdemeanour, he will receive a similar punishment for this one.

Strachan might have sensed it was going to be one of those days. Having restored Dublin to attack, in place of the injured Noel Whelan, after a run of outstanding performances in defence, he might have been tempted to pull the striker back again during the course of this game. That option was removed.

Rovers had already taken the lead, Chris Sutton heading home after Graeme Le Saux crossed from the left to an unguarded far post. And after losing Dublin, Coventry then lost all hope of recovery by conceding two more goals in four minutes.

The first of these stemmed from that classic howler, the backfiring offside trap. Moving forward in a line as Lars Bohinen crossed from the right, Coventry's defenders looked bemused when the referee's assistant failed to flag Tim Sherwood, still more so when, after the captain's header hit the post, Kevin Gallacher crashed home the rebound.

While Coventry were reflecting on that, Sutton pounced on a parried save by Steve Ogrizovic to stab home the third. Thereafter Blackburn were so much on top they struggled to keep their concentration, but Yorgos Donis, on the field for little more than a minute, added a fourth in the second half.