Another defeat for Newcastle
GORDON STRACHAN celebrated his first win as Coventry City manager as his side moved off the bottom of the Premiership table, taking a notable scalp in the process.
Goals from former Newcastle player Darren Huckerby and skipper Gary McAllister enabled Coventry to register their first win in 11 starts since early September. It also continued Newcastle's current slump which, either side of their European triumphs, has seen them collect only three points from their last five league matches.
Coventry went ahead in the first worthwhile move of the game courtesy of a defence-splitting pass from veteran Kevin Richardson. Huckerby showed his pace to outstrip Philippe Albert and then drilled a low shot past Newcastle goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek into the far corner.
Newcastle were rattled for a spell but then forced three splendid saves from veteran Coventry goalkeeper Steve Ogrizovic in quick succession. Alan Shearer produced a piece of splendid individual skill to flick the ball over Liam Daish and then fire in a volley which was beaten out by Ogrizovic.
Albert had a header parried away by Ogrizovic who then performed heroics to keep out a downward header from Shearer which seemed destined for the corner of the net.
But just as Newcastle looked to be grabbing the initiative, Coventry struck with another splendidly crafted goal with Richardson again the instigator.
His 45-yard crossfield ball behind the Newcastle defence let in Huckerby in space on the right and he kept his cool before rolling his pass into the path of McAllister. The Scotland captain did not have to break his stride as he strode forward and clinically finish with a first-time shot into the left hand corner of the net.
Newcastle then gained the upper hand and in the 62nd minute Shearer headed in a centre from the increasingly influential Peter Beardsley.