Writer: Stef C
Date:Sunday March 5 2006
Saints started the game with one change from the side which cruised to victory against Sheffield Wednesday last week. Nathan Dyer replaced the injured Matt Oakley and unfortunately it was to be Dyer who was central in gifting Coventry a share of the points by giving away a late penalty.
It would be harsh to blame the youngster for the teams failure to secure back to back victories. In fact a draw was a reasonably fair result; Saints created a few more chances than the visitors but never had a prolonged spell of pressure during the match and paid the price for that in the end.
In the first half the game was physical and never really settled; Mickey Adams side were well organised and very hard to break down and Saints struggled to find their tempo, instead having to work hard just to contain the threatening Sky Blues attack.
After 40 minutes Saints hard work should have been rewarded with a penalty when Kenwyne Jones broke into the penalty area and was taken down by Andrew Whing. It was a clear foul and a certain penalty; referee Phil Dowd blew up but instead of pointing to the spot gave a free kick outside the area, for what appeared to be an earlier shirt tug by Richard Shaw. If Dowd had interpreted the rules exactly surely an advantage should have been played for the first foul, as Jones had managed to break into the box; then if he's fouled again it has to be a penalty kick. Instead Shaw escaped with a booking and the resulting free kick was touched back to Danny Higginbotham and his fierce swerving shot was excellently saved by Marton Fulop.
At half time Kenwyne Jones was replaced by Dexter Blackstock; the Trinidad striker was taken to hospital in an ambulance as a result of the penalty that never was. Kenwyne must have been scared he'd have his World Cup dream taken away from him but luckily the X-Ray revealed his leg is severely bruised rather than fractured.
It was Blackstock who created the first clear cut chance for Saints to score in the second half. Rasiak laid the ball wide for Blackstock and his cross found Andrew Surman in space in the box, somehow the youngster skewed his shot wide of the post when he was odds on to score.
There were few other clear cut chances but Saints took the lead through a scarce moment of quality in an otherwise unspectacular match. Surman made amends for his earlier miss when he produced a pinpoint cross for Gregorsz Rasiak to head home. With only 10 minutes remaining it looked like Rasiak's second goal for Saints would be enough to take the points. That was until the 88th minute when Don Hutchinson won a penalty from Nathan Dyer's naive tackle and the veteran striker stepped up to score from the spot to send Saints fans home feeling deflated.
Saints: Smith, Ostlund (Potter 10), Lundekvam, Higginbotham, Brennan, Dyer, Chaplow, Wright, Surman, Jones (Blackstock 45), Rasiak. Subs: Madsen, Powell, Miller
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Date:Sunday March 5 2006
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|6. West Ham||12||5||3||4||+4||18|
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