Dwight Yorke's headed first goal was timed at 13 seconds. Mark Draper sent Ian Taylor clear on the right and his cross was met perfectly by Yorke. Fifteen minutes later a copycat move down Villa's left flank involving Taylor again and Andy Townsend ended with Savo Milosevic sweeping the ball behind John Phelan into the Coventry net, only to be ruled offside.
It says something for Coventry's resilience that, despite the absence of Dion Dublin to spearhead their attack, they strove mightily to get back into the game. Their main threat came from the elusive Peter Ndlovu, recognised as early as the 26th minute by Ugo Ehiogu who was booked for pulling down the Zimbabwean international as he surged in on goal. The Villa defender must have been relieved to see a yellow card - some referees would have reached for the red in the circumstances.
The most frightening moment for Mark Bosnich in the visitors' goal came when David Busst's powerful header bounced from Ehiogu's shins and slid inches past his post. Paul Telfer did contrive to have the Villa keeper show his ability when his forceful header from John Salako's corner brought a splendid save.
Marcus Hall brought out the best in Bosnich again with a thunderous 20- yarder seconds after the restart but for all their hustle and bustle that was the only time Villa's lead seemed in danger. Much of the frenetic energy which fuelled the first half had disappeared. Coventry's attempt to get it back by replacing Ally Pickering with the veteran Gordon Strachan 17 minutes from the end fell flat.
It was left to the visitors to illuminate the last 10 minutes when Milosevic struck twice. There was more than a touch of luck about the second Villa goal in the 85th minute. The Serb pounced on a ball that had ricocheted off several pairs of legs within the six-yard box to shoot past Phelan. His second, in the 88th minute, was much more memorable. The excellent Taylor sent Yorke clear past Coventry's right defensive cover and his beautifully weighted and flighted cross left Milosevic only needing a simple jab to beat Phelan for Villa's third goal.
Among the sides being touted to be "there or thereabouts" by the end of the season must be Villa on this form. Milosevic, despite his two goals, still seems out of phase with the English game but the rejuvenated Yorke has more than compensated. When the Serb finds his feet they could be even more formidable.Reuse content