Stubbs stuns Coventry

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The Independent Online
TWO goals in five second-half minutes at Highfield Road by the defender Alan Stubbs gave Bolton Wanderers a third consecutive away win, keeping alive their slim chances of Premiership survival. But the 2-0 defeat edged Ron Atkinson's Coventry City a place closer to relegation.

With six draws in 10 games, the Sky Blues needed to beat the league's bottom club and started brightly, but Dion Dublin's headed goal was disallowed for offside against Noel Whelan. Fine goalkeeping by Keith Branagan kept the home side at bay before and after Stubbs' strikes.

With the England squad for the friendly against Bulgaria due to be announced, Terry Venables' prefered strikers were in form, with Alan Shearer, as usual belying his international form, scoring a hat-trick for Blackburn Rovers at White Hart Lane. The goals took his season's total to 34 and helped Rovers to record only their second away win of the season, a 3- 2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

Shearer's first came after eight minutes when Colin Calderwood sent him sprawling and he got up to convert the penalty. His second went in 11 minutes before half-time but Teddy Sheringham, 11 goals behind Shearer, and Chris Armstrong brought the scores level with 10 minutes remaining. Shearer grabbed the winner in the final minute.

With a Coca-Cola Cup Final against Leeds at Wembley next Sunday and an FA Cup semi- final against Liverpool or Leeds also pending, Aston Villa could be forgiven for taking it easy against Sheffield Wednesday. Regi Blinker, the Owls' Dutch international winger, was in rampant form but it was Ye Olde English strikers in the shape of Guy Whittingham and David Hirst who blasted Wednesday's two goals without answer.

Middlesbrough halted their spectacular decline - slightly - when Robbie Mustoe replied almost immediately to Chris Allen's goal for Nottingham Forest at the Riverside Stadium. The 1-1 draw means Boro have taken two points from the last 36.

Forest, who try to overturn a 2-1 deficit against Bayern Munich in the second leg of their Uefa Cup quarter final at the City Ground on Tuesday, were without Steve Stone, Bryan Roy and Ian Woan.

Leeds United, who entertain Everton this afternoon, have Cups on their mind too. Next Sunday they play in the Coca-Cola Cup final and the following Wednesday they must meet Liverpool at Anfield in their FA Cup sixth round replay.

"We seem to have been involved in big games since Christmas," their manager, Howard Wilkinson, said. "It would be of some benefit to the players if we could revitalise their bodies and brighten their minds."

Defenders Nigel Worthington and David Wetherall enjoy some rest and relaxation through suspension, but Tony Dorigo is struggling with a hamstring injury.

In the Endsleigh First Division, leaders Derby salvaged a point at home to bottom club Watford with a Paul Simpson penalty six minutes from the end. Sunderland will go top if they beat Birmingham this afternoon.