Stubbs' resistance

Coventry City 0 Bolton Wanderers 2 Stubbs 66, 70 Attendance: 17,226
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The Independent Online
THE Wanderers still refuse to die and their third successive away win must have stopped a few hearts - and not just Coventry's at Highfield Road. This victory deserved no laurel wreath, but it put the Bolton faithful in good voice for a rousing rendition of "We're Not Going Down".

If Coventry don't pull their socks up, this might be the year when they lived too dangerously. They had the chances before Alan Stubbs's two second- half goals, in the space of five minutes, put the day beyond them. But even at two down, Eoin Jess spurned at least three good opportunities to do damage.

Bolton's decision to defend in depth meant that this game was never a pretty sight, but their identification of John Salako as the main threat was justified. The winger found himself facing two, sometimes three, markers and the supply of crosses that Dion Dublin and Noel Whelan have been known to thrive on was strangled.

The Sky Blues had had a warning in the 56th minute when Noel Blake broke off his push-and-shove contest with Richard Shaw to reach Scott Sellars's cross and stab his shot against Steve Ogrizovic's right-hand post. Ten minutes later, Simon Coleman added his height in the Coventry penalty box for a Sellars corner, nodded a pass into Stubbs's path and his right foot did the rest. Five more minutes and it was all over, when Stubbs's shot first took a deflection and then hit a bump for the ball to bobble over an embarrassed Ogrizovic.

Gordon Strachan had replaced the ineffective Peter Ndlovu minutes before Stubbs's goals but the 30-year-old veteran couldn't save Coventry's bacon. Their midfield functioned only in fits and starts, as the wilful Paul Williams wandered hither and thither and Jess spent another 90 minutes of acclimatisation to the Premiership.

Stubbs, positioned in front of his defence, gave an object lesson in purposeful endeavour over and above his goals. Sasa Curcic oozed a touch and vision that would have been very profitable if allied to a less wayward accomplice than Blake. He almost got the right response from Blake's 80th- minute replacement, Fabian de Freitas, in the dying seconds, but Ogrizovic saved some face with a brave dive at the striker's feet.

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