The Observer from London, Greater London, England on January 8, 1989 · 20
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The Observer from London, Greater London, England · 20

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Sunday, January 8, 1989
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L 20 OBSERVER SUNDAY 8 JANUARY 1989 Ignominy for Coventry, Spurs o Romp for Liverpool o Replays for Everton, United ... and Kettering TOMMY HINDLEY DflSQCD 'Sin) Sport m HERE WAS distilled essence of Cup magic. Coventry, winners of the trophy only 20 months back, pole-axed by a team not even in the top half of the GM Vauxhall Conference. As Sutton's followers chanted their heroes home, the orange-bibbed stewards were overwhelmed by supporters surging on to the, turf at Gander Green Lane to engulf the brave men who had endured the best Coventry could throw at them in a frantic final IS minutes. Sutton's Barrie Williams, the nearest we have had to a toff manager since Alec Stock, attempted to get on the field to offer congratulations but immediately disappeared under a ruck of cameramen. Later this quiet-mannered former history teacher who quoted Kipling in his programme notes ('It ain't the individual nor the Army as a whole, it's the everlasting teamwork of every bloomin' Resounding crashes COVENTRY and Spurs, who produced one of the mightiest FA Cup finals of modern times two seasons ago, were among the fallen after yesterday's scramble for a fourth-round place, done for respectively by Bradford, of the Second Division, and Sutton United, of the Vauxhall Conference. Sutton are thus alive and well and 1000-1 to win the sacred pot. While Sutton's Conference colleagues Welling went down with honour to Blackburn, the other non-Leaguers, Kettering Town, retained an interest in tomorrow's draw live on BBC Breakfast Time at 7.45 Dirty work: Lee Ferreday carries off the Junior championship. Earnest pedallers of filth EVEN though they found themselves knee deep in the boggier bits of Sutton Park near Birmingham yesterday, Britain's leading cycle-cross riders experienced a rare phenomenon: they were able to recognise each other at the end of the Falcon National Championship. The Mediterranean winter had left vast stretches of the sport's spiritual home unsea-sonally parched but, mercifully for those who believe mud is as crucial to 'cross as snow is to skiing, the one-and-a-half mile course contained several reassuringly adhesive sections. A coating of the glutinous stuff not only sorts the men from the boys, it prevents the speedster converts from the road from dipping into the winter circuit and grabbing all the pots. It also enables the hard men to use the odd elbow with inglorious anonimity. 'Nobbling', as knocking a rival out of the saddle is known, is the 'cross equivalent of the professional foul and frequently used on the continent. But it is less a matter of dirty foreigners than filthy lucre, as the sport across the Channel is about big bucks, francs, marks and gilders. Here, with a handful of elite RONALD ATKIN Sutton United 2 Coventry City 1 soul') tested the media's spelling ability with the comment, 'The enormity of this result will reverberate throughout the whole of soccer'. He can say that again. The Coventry manager, John Sillett, a broad smile on Perfect pitch: Lady sinks the Blues. ROUND UP MICHAEL RALPH a.m. by coming from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Halifax. Cohen Griffith beat four men en route to his S8th-minute equaliser. Man of the moment for Grimsby, unquestionably, was Marc North, a 72nd-minute substitute for the Fourth Division side at Middlesbrough. With his second kick he equalised Bernie Slaven's 39th-minute opener, and three minutes from time hit the winner. Two other First Division sides teetered on the brink. ht large with BOB HOLMES exceptions, our amateur boys are happy to muddle through. This year's eight laps of zigzags, bunny jumps, one-in-two inclines and nearly vertical descents demanded much more than that and amply demonstrated just why 'cross resembles conventional pedalling as much as yomping does the Sunday stroll the same basic manoeuvre but an altogether more mind-numbing and gut-wrenching experience. Yesterday's faces bore testimony to this, even though they carried only specks of mud instead of the customary coating. Sporting anthropologists would have had no difficulty in tracing cyclo-cross's routes. Having originally slithered from the slimy trenches of the Great War, where messengers found two wheels could be fun, it first blossomed into an accepted way for summer racers to keep warm in winter. Since the last war it has his face but a look of despair in his eyes as he held court (appropriately in a first-aid room) told Williams, 'Enjoy it' as he shook hands. Then he went on: 'It's been a very hard day for my players. Sunday is going to be worse when they read the papers and realise they have made history the wrong way round.' Non-leaguers are renowned for their ability to offer commitment in Cup-ties, but Sutton did more, much more. Their football was frequently superior and only in the last, anxious minutes did the fitness difference begin to show. All through the first half Sutton matched Coventry for speed, and if the football was often frenetic and aerial that was understandable as both teams strove for the first strike. It fell, crucially, to Sutton a couple of minutes before half-time and was the first of two set-pieces which deceived Coventry. Stephens Sheffield Wednesday went one down to Torquay after three minutes at Hillsborough before recovering to win 5-1; Everton also fell behind to the Second Division leaders West Bromwich Albion before Trevor Steven's penalty earned them a replay. Albion's promotion rivals Chelsea were hammered 4-0 at Barnsley. Manchester United's goalless draw with QPR was marred when Bryan Robson was carried off in the last minute with concussion and is expected to be kept in hospital until Tuesday. Colchester, bottom of the League, earned a relatively famous 3-0 victory at Shrewsbury, struggling near ADAM SCOTT become the first choice of rid' ers who carry the old adage of getting stuck in to its ultimate conclusion. Although the lung-searing ascents and tramps through the quagmires are down to the hero in or out of the pedals, supporting the 100-strong field were many sonhis- ticated teams with three or four machines in reserve. Once the rider's sturdy 211b aluminium bike has become dossed with an extra few pounds of earth, be will reach for a sub stirute machine and his helper will head for the jetspray or in the case of lesser luthts. mum or dad will reach for the bucket and scrubbing brush. But even a freshly spruced bike cannot negotiate certain sections, and this is when it is slung over the shoulder and the rider simply runs as hard as be can for firmer ground, which is one reason the all-round fitness and strength of Steve Douce triumphed yet again. The six-times champion shrugged off a cold as well as an early crash to storm home by the narrowest of margins over his Surrey rival Barrie Clarke. Mud-splattered or not, Douce, who goes into the world championships in a fortnight, is a face to look out for. Big hand for Sutton: took a corner on the left and sent it towards the near post, where Golley's head applied the vital touch which took the ball across the face of goal for left-back Tony Rains to head home. Sutton, who took Middlesbrough to a third-round replay last season, had the bottom of the Second Division. Meanwhile at Cold Blow Lane, Teddy Sheringham's 73rd-minute header gave Millwall a 3-2 win over Luton, who had drawn level from 2-0 down. A floodlight failure five minutes from time had Luton's fans chant ing for the game to be stopped, but 28 minutes later light was restored and Luton's hopes snuffed out. Willing Welling go out TONYPAWSON Welling United. 0 Blackburn Rovers................. 1 WELLING UNITED gave Blackburn Rovers a hard run for their fourth-round place, Hildersley's simple goal depriving them of a deserved second try at giant-killing. Certainly the dash and competitiveness of the home side so harassed their distinguished visitors that it was difficult to detect any difference in class. Blackburn had tradition to spur them on, although their great Cup days are mainly in the past. Their last win was 60 years ago and their last losing final in 1960, three years before Welling started as an under-15 park side. This Vauxhall Conference team has acquired the Cup-fighting spirit and a nice touch of sportsmanship as well. That was evident before the start as they ran to the Blackburn supporters' end, applauded them, and threw them favours in Blackburn colours. Kennedy soon returned that' kindness by trying to force a way past the goalkeeper when a pass back would have left any of three forwards with a simple tap-in. For a spell thereafter it was Blackburn who had to survive, in need of a gift or two from fortune to survive some spirited assaults. The speed of Robbins and the skill of Booker kept their defenders at such full stretch that Gennoe punched Hendry as well as the . ball when making a clearance. But an encouraging quarter of an hour for welling was abruptly ended by Rovers' first flowing movement. Garner centred deep, Gayle headed back and Hildersley stooped low to nod the ball in. That goal should have settled the Second Division side, but the virility and tenacity of the Welling players continued to jolt them out of their stride. Any doubts about Welling's fitness to keep running on the sticky, tiring pitch were dispelled by their eager assaults in the second half. Rovers grew more confident, with the experienced Barron saving well from Hendry. Still, it was Welling who mounted the most insistent attack. Hill was booked as he pulled back Robbins and Handford's consequent free-kick grazed the bar. But despite Burgess keeping up the pressure in his 901st game for the club, the ball never bounced kindly enough in front of goal for that elusive equaliser they so deserved. Scorer: Blackburn Rover: Hildersley (14). Welling United: Barron: MacOonald (Ransom 75), Horton. Glover. Buroess- Reynolds (Lindsay 79). White, Hand-lord, Booker, Robbins, Clemmence. Blackburn Rovers: Gennoe; Atkins, Sulley, Finnigan. Hendry, Hill. Gayle, Hildersley. Kennedy. Gamer, Sellers. : v banow (aoMMn. Paul Rogers is engulfed by a sea of fans after helping to cook Coventry's goose at Gander Green Lane. only enjoyed seven minutes of second-half action before conceding the equaliser. Coventry broke smartly as a Sutton free-kick was repelled, and Sedgley sent an inviting pass into the home penalty area. As Roffey advanced, Phillips moved in to score emphatically. WIMBLEDON had little need to employ the heavier elements of their celebrated bouncers' style in hustling Birmingham out of the Cup and back towards the miseries of a desperate League season. The losers had plenty of the ball but what they did with it represented a polite protest rather than a forceful argument. Long before the end the repetitive simplicities of the Cup-holders' method, particularly their grim concentration on set-piece ploys, had shrivelled Midlands ambition like a baleful stare. St Andrew's these days is a dispiriting mausoleum in which it would take much more than memories of past heroes like Gil Merrick and Trevor Francis to warm the small crowds scattered across its acres of terracing. Here Spurs LIGHTNING does strike twice against the same victim. For the second year in succession Spurs made an embarrassingly early exit from the FA Cup against opponents their expensive talents were expected to outclass. This time, at least, the manner of their defeat bore no resemblance to last season's spineless, gutless surrender at Port Vale. Spurs battled ferociously hard to compensate for one moment of unforgivable nonchalance three minutes before half-time. Perhaps lulled by how effortlessly they seemed to be achieving control, their PRIDE OF BRITAIN, envy of the world, says the sign at the unpopulated railway end of Gresty Road. It refers, of course, to a certain make of motorcar but for 45 minutes it might have been the symbol and inspiration of the Fourth Division side as they dominated Villa and established a two-goal interval lead. In doing so, Crewe moved so smoothly you could almost hear their clock ticking, yet, while they were awfully good, Villa were so embarrassingly bad that their manager, Graham Taylor, had to apply drastic half-time surgery, as well as a few well-chosen words, to prevent them making unwanted history on this tiny ground overlooked by terraced houses. It worked and without exactly oozing class, confidence or poise, Villa hit three second-half goals against opponents who probably still could not grasp how easy it had been earlier, leaving Dario Gradi, their manager, with the consolation of a performance A Home BEFORE this tie, Carlisle United's manager Give Mid-dlemass admitted: 'If Liverpool turn it on, we haven't a prayer.' And after an hour's play at Brunton Park yesterday it certainly seemed that only divine intervention could save his team, who were by then two goals down. It did not materialise, but Carlisle acquitted themselves well enough. It was in front of goal that they lacked menace, and Molby and Ablett eventually took so firm a grip for Liverpool that Nicol was able once again to forage upfield. Aldritlgc had missed an open Incredibly, only eight minutes later, Sutton struck again, this time through a master bricklayer, Matthew Hanlan. It was another corner, this time on the right, gained when Kilcline almost headed through his own goal. Stephens sent a short pass to Dawson and his out- they did not even have serious misbehaviour from Wimbledon to stir their blood. Sanchez had his name taken for tripping Bremner and Jones was quietly reprimanded a couple of times but these moments had no greater influence on the outcome than the late substitution of Yates for Robinson by Birmingham, whose attempts to equalise after the interval were more gesture than reality as their resigned supporters well knew. If it took a remarkable rescuing tackle by Curie to deny Tait, only two more frantic interventions by Overson and Hansbury kept out Fashanu. Fashanu would no doubt have liked to score before being kept out in a severer sense by a three-match ban. Playing the more attractive football against Wimbledon is often a distinction both readily achieved and eventually irrele- are flattened by defenders were strolling about, getting ready to organise a wall against a free kick, when the Bradford skipper Kennedy rudely interrupted them by taking it. He hit the ball across field to full-back Mitchell, who strolled on and whacked it behind those bemused defenders and past keeper Mimms. Until then the match had mainly been noteworthy for what seemed to be tactical errors by Bradford, that looked more likely to rebound in Tottenham's favour. It was surely a mistake for the Second Division team to play only Ormondroyd and Leonard upfield, which freed MICHAEL CAREY Crewe Alexandra 2 Aston Villa 3 that clearly exceeded his expectations. After racing on to the pitch to administer handshakes all round, Gradi said: 'We knew that two goals were no real buffer against a First Division side, but even so it was disappointing to concede one so early in the second half. After that, we tended to stay too deep, although overall I was delighted with the way we played.' Four minutes only were needed to produce the opening goal, Gardiner volleying in from Edwards's pass. After 33 minutes, all kinds of dreams began to materialise when Keown, diving to try and clear Gardiner's cross, speared it past his own goalkeeper. Another goal then and Villa would have been beyond redemption. As it was, Taylor's half-time therapy, which sorted out the defence and led to a better all-round balance, did the trick, though nothing tto porey oc fto pray JOHN DOUGRAY at Carlisle Carlisle 0 goal before the Fourth Division club retaliated, and they almost went ahead from their first corner. A grey, damp afternoon was enlivened by five girls in the Carlisle colours who gave a synchronised dancing display before the kick-off. But it was Liverpool's synchronised attacking that, in the end, was to carry the day. Hetherington volleyed only inches over the top, but disappointment quickly followed. Liverpool launched another intricate move involving Whe- swinging cross was missed by several people before it arrived at Hainan, wno joyfully volleyed the winner. Coventry sent on Houchen for Regis and forced a string of corners. Rains and Jones both cleared off the line, Bennett missed badly from close in and in the last five HUGH MclLVANNEY Birmingham 0 Wimbledon .... 1 vant. So it was for Birmingham. They began by controlling and moving the ball with neatness and composure admirably surprising in a team who have only Walsall beneath them in the Second Division. But the optimism brought to their midfield by the competitive assurance of the upright figure of Langley rarely survived beyond the opposition's 18-yard line. Glimpses of athletic speed from Wigley on the right wing and the occasional capacity of the blond youngster Tait to wheel and pass as deceptively as an old-fashioned inside-forward never amounted to sustained penetration. There was always the FRANK McGHEE Bradford 1 Tottenham 0 Tottenham from the need to protect themselves where they can be so vulnerable, in the centre of defence, and permitted them to concentrate on what they do best: exercising the full range of their attacking options. Early on the rhino-charging runs of Stewart were the most effective, but even then the amount of time and room conceded to Waddle looked like being expensive. He was floating dangerous balls from all over the midfield. It did not seem time for more for Villa's spirits than Piatt's 53rd-minute goal when Cowans's corner was flicked on to the far post. Suddenly, Crewe seemed to sense that dreams die quickly in this competition. They were less impressive when obliged to defend for lengthy periods, but no defence could have done much about Gage's equaliser, driven in with great power from the edge of the penalty area. Mclnally had the satisfaction of settling it when Olney and Piatt worked the ball to him at the far post. Scorers: Crewe: Gardiner (4), Keown og (33). Aston Villa: Plait (S3), Gage (58). Mclnally (79). Crewe Alexandra: Greygoose; Goodison, Edwards (Goodison, 84). Billing. Swain. W Gage. Callaghan, Murphy, Walters, Gardiner, Flshenden. Aston Villa: Spink: Price. Mount-field. K Gage, Evans (Olney, 45), Keown. Daley (A Gray), Piatt. Mclnally, Cowans, S Gray. Referee: K Redfearn (Whitley Bay). Liverpool . 3 lan, Aldridge, Houghton and Beardsley. McKeller blocked Beardsley's shot, but the ball ran to Barnes, who scored from close range. United briefly managed to raise the siege. Stephens sent Hetherington clear, but his shot struck the side netting. After 62 minutes Carlisle withdrew Robertson and sent on Sendall. But the substitution did not halt Liverpool, who scored a delightful second goal three minutes later. A long, accurate pass from Molby was cleverly brought seconds a Coventry header bounced off the sprawling Roffey's chest, but Sutton held out for their glory. So who do they fancy next? 'We are happy to play the cards we are dealt,' said Williams, 'but it would be nice to have another glamour side. There are only four of impression that this would be a stayers' race and, even on a day when Wimbledon's crudities were more technical than physical, it was hard to imagine that their greater driving strength would fail to carry them through. A brisk rising shot from Bremner that went close to Segers's crossbar was as much genuine menace as City could muster before Wimbledon started to grind their way towards the fourth round. Their breakthrough was less the direct product of then-infamous high balls and long throws into the penalty box than of Birmingham's hapless inability to lift the pressure on their goal by any means other than the meek surrendering of corners. They gave these away with a profligacy that was almost sure to be punished by opponents so expert in ruthless a thunderbolt desperate measures when City went in front, and Spurs regrouped after the interval with aggressive intent. They replaced Bergsson in midfield with Hughton and set Thomas free to attack. He produced a whole string of that pearl among passes inviting, floating crosses until his substitution in the 70th by the galloping Moran. Spurs might easily have scored from two of them. Stewart was just wide with one flying header and Walsh plopped another gently into Tomlinson's welcoming arms. Spurs came forward with increasing desperation and were worried by the occasional THIS Manchester United side apparently needs the stimulus of live television to produce the sort of football that capitivated last Sunday's armchair audience in then-defeat of Liverpool. The FA Cup third round tie against Queen's Park Rangers, who have never won at Old Trafford, offered them a lifeline in an inconsistent and so far unrewarding season, but the performance compared so unfavourably that the crowd quickly became disenchanted. For all their monopoly of much of the match, United seldom looked potential scorers against opponents whose reward for an afternoon of honest endeavour is a home replay on Wednesday. Rangers, who in previous visits to Old Trafford had lost 12 and drawn 1, must have felt fate was conspiring against them with the loss through injury in the first half of player-manager Francis and Falco, the result of fouls by Robson and Donaghy respectively. Until the injuries disrupted down and flicked on by Beardsley to Barnes. His goalmouth pass picked out McMahon, who scored. McMahon, and Liverpool, were not yet finished. In the 84th minute the midfielder made it 3-0 after playing a neat one-two with Beardsley. The Liverpool support began to sing 'You'll never walk alone'. There was an ominous ring about it. Scorers: Liverpool: Barnes (35). McMahon (65. 84). Carlisle United: McKeller: Graham. Dalziel. Saddington. Jelfelf. Fitzpatrick. Robertson (Sendall. 63). Gorman, Stephens (Fyfe. 71), Hetherington, Halpin. Liverpool: Hooper; Ablett. Burrows. Nicol, Whelan. Molby, Beardsley. Aldridge, Houghton, Barnes, McMahon. :TJHotbrook(WalsaU). them above Coventry, so any one of those would do.' Scorers: Sutton: Rains (42). Hanlan (60). Coventry: Phillips (52) Sutton United: Rottey; Jones. Rains, Golley. Pratt. Rogers. Stephens. Dawson. Dennis. McKinnon. Hanlan Coventry City: Ogrlzovic; 8orrows. Phillips. Sedgley. Kilcline. Peake, Bennett. Speedie. Regis (Houchen. 70). McGrath. Smith. Referee: A Buksh (Dollis Hill). aerial bombardment. In fact, Wimbledon's critics had to acknowledge a touch of calculated refinement in the way Fairweather used his left foot to exploit a rapid succession of four corners from the right. When the fourth of these kicks was steered on by Jones's head there was sufficient confusion around the far post to permit Gibson (one of the shortest, if also one of the hairiest, players on the field) to duck into a simple scoring header. Only 28 minutes had been played but we had the feeling of having witnessed something decisive. Scorers: Wimbledon: Gibson (28). Birmingham City. Hansbury: Ashley. Trawick, Roberts, Overson, Langley, Bremner, Tait, Whitton, Robinson (Yates. 68), Wigley. Wimbledon: Sogers: Scales, Pha-lan, Jones, Young. Curie, Fairweather. Gibson, Fashanu, Sanchez. Cork. Reform: J B Worrall (Warrington). dangerous counter-attack. They continued to have rather the better of things territorially, but gradually lost composure. When the moments of real danger in the second half were counted, the most memorable was in the 65th minute when the Bradford full-back Abbott bad the ball in the net again before being ruled offside. Scorers: Bradford: Mitchell (42). Bradford City: Tomlinson: Mitchell, Abbott, Banks. Jackson. Evans, Palin, Slnnott, Ormondroyd (Jewell. 80), Kennedy, Leonard. Tottenham: Mimms: Butters, Thomas (Sub: Moran. 70). Fenwick. Fairclough. Mabbutt, Walsh, Bergsson (Sub: Hughton. 46). Waddle, Stewart. Allen. Referee: G Courtney (Spennymoor). DEREK WALLIS Manchester United 0 Queen's Park Rangers 0 them Rangers had made headway through promising attacks which produced volleys from Coney, which Leighton pushed away, and McDonald, whose shot skimmed the bar. United built their frequent attacks so unconvincingly that they had to wait until five minutes from half-time before making an attack which roused the crowd a header from Hughes passing so close to a post that Seaman felt the need to cover it with a dive. United occupied Rangers' territory for much of the second half as well, with McClair, who had started in midfield, being released to play further forward. His cross from the right threatened to leave the defence in disarray but Seaman dived forward to intervene in the nick of time. Despite unceasing pressure Rangers still contrived to produce moments that caused greater concern, Fereday once forcing Leighton to a sprawling save. United's anxiety at their inability to outwit a stern defence mounted as the match progressed. Hughes at last found Robins with Seaman powerless off his line With an open goal beckoning Robins lifted the ball over to miss a chance of scoring on his first-team debut. Robson, who hurled himself about the pitch in efforts to drive on his team, did it once too often near the end when he was injured in diving to head the ball close to a post and was carried off on a stretcher. Manchester United: Leighton: Gill. Martin, Bruce. Beardsmore, Donaghy, Robson (Wilson 89min), Robins. McClair, Hughes, Milne. Queen's Park Rangers: Seaman: McDonald. Pizanli. Parker. Law. Mad-dix. Falco (Stein 28). Francis (Barker 32), Fereday, Coney, Allen. K Hackett (Sheffield).

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