Given's error allows Dublin to capitalise

 

Those who have spent many long years waiting for Coventry, like the proverbial penny, eventually to drop, think of Highfield Road not so much as the home of the Sky Blues as a pervading, all encompassing greyness. But under the copper-haired Gordon Strachan there is alchemy unloosed. Time will tell whether he produces real or merely fool's gold, but for the moment it is a genuine pleasure to watch his team blend pragmatism with vibrancy, and skill with intelligence.

The start of this thoroughly entertaining match was more Maine Road than anything. Surely no man of the Republic can have left Dublin behind with quite so little thought.

Shay Given, who compensates for his lack of height with immense athleticism and anticipation, superbly gathered Gary McAllister's cross but, in his haste to clear the ball, failed to check behind him. Given tossed the ball forward in preparation for a kick, whereupon Dion Dublin nipped around the goalkeeper's nether regions and scored.

United levelled when Keith Gillespie unleashed a ball of sufficient venom to evade Coventry's defence and allow John Barnes, the latest in the line of mend-andmake-do strikers, to equalise. Canny old Kenny. "I remembered Barnes playing up front for Watford against us at Liverpool," said Dalglish. Memories like elephants, these managers.

Dublin's second goal should have been decisive for City, but no defensive cover can cope with the sort of long range shot Robert Lee produced. Ogrizovic saw it coming but the velocity and accuracy stretched even his huge frame beyond his limits.

Coventry City: Ogrizovic, Shaw, Burrows, Williams, Breen, Huckerby (Haworth 72), Dublin, McAllister, Telfer, Hall, Nilsson. Subs Not Used: Soltvedt, Hedman, Boland, Johansen. Booked: Hall, Williams. Goals: Dublin 4, 82.

Newcastle United: Given, Beresford, Batty (Barton 30), Peacock, Lee, Barnes, Ketsbaia, Gillespie, Watson, Pistone, Albert. Subs Not Used: Hislop, Tomasson, Crawford, Hamilton. Booked: Albert. Goals: Barnes 31, Lee 87.

Referee: P A Durkin (Portland).