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BBC Sport's Peter Slater
"It's winning which counts"
 real 14k

Derby manager Jim Smith
"We needed a battling performance"
 real 56k

Saturday, 16 December, 2000, 18:12 GMT
Derby edge out Coventry
Derby players celebrate with scorer Malcolm Christie
Goalscorer Christie is congratulated
Derby 1-0 Coventry

Malcolm Christie's strike after just nine minutes secured three vital points for Derby from their relegation battle with Coventry at Pride Park.

The home side found their rhythm quickly and deservedly took the lead when Craig Burley's shot was saved by Magnus Hedman and Christie slotted home the rebound.

Derby's impressive start had already created a chance for Seth Johnson and mid-way through the half, Rory Delap looked likely to double their lead.

But he could not control Christie's excellent pass and a relieved Hedman gathered the ball.

Everybody was rubbish
  Derby boss Jim Smith

Coventry had played their way into the match by then and had numerous opportunities to equalise, but contrived to fire almost every chance over the bar.

Mustapha Hadji began the trend on 13 minutes when he hit a poor effort over, and later Paul Telfer nearly blazed the ball out of the stadium from eight yards.

The second 45 minutes saw Coventry enjoy most of the possession but they lacked a cutting edge and, as tempers began to flare, the quality of the football suffered.

Lacking quality

Craig Bellamy was causing problems on the left and looked the only player capable of changing the course of a match which was becoming scrappy.

His cross on 58 minutes would have presented the unmarked John Aloisi with a glorious opportunity but Taribo West made a timely interception.

I have seen nothing in the last six weeks that is any better than us
  Coventry boss Gordon Strachan
When Bellamy supplied another cross, Hadji was guilty of a dreadful miss from 10 yards as he shot wide of the target.

Neither side were producing the quality of football that they will need to if they are to survive in the Premiership.

And as the game became more competitive, the player's commitment began to boil over.

When Christie was hauled down as he ran across the half-way line, Barry Quinn was lucky to escape with just a booking.

Youssef Chippo had a long-range effort well saved by Hedman in the closing stages, and as desperation set in Coventry were reduced to trying their luck from distance but with less accuracy.

In the end, there was little to choose between the sides, as is reflected by their league positions.

But Derby's victory means they swap places with the Sky Blues, who were two points ahead before the game but now find themselves in the bottom three.

Derby: Poom, Carbonari, Powell, Delap, Burley, Johnson, Christie, Martin, Eranio, Riggott, West. Subs: Burton, Morris, Higginbotham, Oakes, Murray.

Coventry: Hedman, Breen, Quinn, Williams, Konjic, Thompson, Telfer, Carsley, Hadji, Aloisi, Bellamy. Subs: Kirkland, Eustace, Chippo, Roussel, Guerrero.

Referee: M Messias

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09 Dec 00 |  Eng Prem
Chelsea crack four past Derby
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