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Page last updated at 15:11 GMT, Sunday, 4 May 2008 16:11 UK

Charlton 4-1 Coventry

Jay Tabb of Coventry City battles for the ball with Jonjo Shelvey
Coventry battled with the threat of relegation hanging over them

Elated Coventry escaped relegation to League One by a point despite a heavy defeat against Charlton at The Valley.

With nothing to play for, the hosts raced into a fourth-minute lead through striker Luke Varney's simple lob.

Andy Gray slid home for a second though Michael Mifsud pulled one back as Coventry frantically chased the game.

But, despite Grant Basey driving in a third just after half-time and veteran Chris Powell adding a fourth, Coventry survived thanks to results elsewhere.

Coventry will be playing in the Championship next season but they had to rely on other teams to save them - fierce Midlands rivals Leicester were relegated after they failed to win at Stoke and Southampton beat Sheffield United 3-2 to ensure their survival.

With their situation precarious, the Sky Blues were looking for a win at The Valley against a Charlton side destined for a mid-table finish.

But they got off to the worst possible start when keeper Kasper Schmeichel raced out after a long pass from Madjid Bougherra only for Charlton striker Varney to beat him to it and lob the ball into the empty net from 20 yards.

606: DEBATE
ChaventryBoy

Varney nearly grabbed a brace within 10 minutes when he fired in another long-range effort but this time his shot sailed wide.

Michael Doyle almost drew the visitors level when his overhead kick was blocked by Addicks defender Patrick McCarthy.

But Charlton went two up after 19 minutes when Gray finished off a classy team move, latching on to Varney's flick and sliding the ball past Schmeichel.

Yet Mifsud popped up to unleash a 25-yarder into the bottom corner and bring Coventry right back into the game.

Charlton, though, continued to push and Varney had a 25-yard strike blocked by Michael Hughes while Shevley sent an effort wide from a similar distance.

Three minutes after the interval Basey struck after another Schmeichel error, his mis-cued punch falling to Basey who slotted the ball home with ease.

The visitors chances were minimal but Stephen Hughes did drill a left-foot shot wide from distance and Charlton keeper Nicky Weaver was rarely tested.

With 19 minutes left, Coventry should have got back in the game but Leon Best headed over the bar from six yards out but Matt Hollandalso smashed a 30-yard scorcher against the crossbar at the other end.

Best had a goal disallowed for a foul on McCarthy before former England international Powell, playing his last game before retirement, came on as a late sub and converted Halford's cross from the right wing.


  • Charlton manager Alan Pardew:

    "The players played with a freedom today because there was no pressure on us and it is that mentality I feel has cost us this year. Being able to cope with the expectation and pressure has been a problem.

    "I spoke to the players afterwards about that. If they had coped with the pressure better then we would have been in the play-offs - and possibly even promoted.

    "I certainly need to bring three or four strong characters into this group, which hopefully will have a stronger mentality from the experience of this year."

  • Coventry manager Chris Coleman:

    "It was agony. I never want to experience that again. I'm delighted we have stayed up but not in the fashion we did.

    "The players weren't celebrating in the dressing room. None of us were."


    Charlton: Weaver, Halford, Bougherra, McCarthy, Basey (Iwelumo 70), Thomas (Wagstaff 64), Holland, Shevley (Powell 84), Youga, Varney, Gray.
    Subs Not Used: Randolph, Sodje.

    Goals: Varney 4, Gray 19, Basey 48, Powell 86.

    Coventry: Schmeichel, Osbourne (Hines 73), Ward, Dann, Fox, Mifsud, Doyle, Michael Hughes (Thornton 60), Stephen Hughes, Tabb, Best.
    Subs Not Used: Marshall, Hall, Gray.

    Booked: Stephen Hughes, Fox.

    Goals: Mifsud 20.

    Att: 26,130

    Ref: Andy D'Urso (Essex).


    see also
    Relieved Coleman bemoans 'agony'
    04 May 08 |  Coventry
    Sunday football as it happened
    04 May 08 |  Football
    Championship photos
    04 May 08 |  Football


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