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banner Wednesday, 27 September, 2000, 21:41 GMT 22:41 UK
Coventry 4-1 Preston
Coventry City celebrate
John Aloisi celebrates with his Coventry team-mates
Coventry 4-1 Preston (Agg: 7-2)

Australian striker John Aloisi scored an impressive hat-trick to send First Division Preston crashing out of the Worthington Cup.

This was Aloisi's first start for almost a year and he received a well-deserved standing ovation when he was substituted in the second half.

He scored twice in the first half and completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot in the 54th minute as Coventry eased to a 4-1 win on the night and a 7-2 aggregate triumph.

Preston grabbed a goal through Mark Rankine at the start of the second half but they were always struggling against a team anxious to make amends for the weekend's miserable home defeat by West Ham.

Opened account

It took Aloisi just five minutes to open his account, helped greatly by the efforts of record signing Craig Bellamy, who made ground down the left and then crossed low and hard into the goalmouth where Aloisi was perfectly placed to smash it into the net.

Coventry's second came from skipper Mustapha Hadji who sprinted down the left and a low cross found the onrushing midfielder John Eustace who side-footed into the net.

Seven minutes later Coventry made the aggregate score 6-1 when Bellamy and Aloisi again linked up to score the third.

Coventry lost their Swedish international goalkeeper Magnus Hedman in the 30th minute following a collision with Rankine 20 minutes earlier.

Rankine gave the handful of Preston fans a moment to cheer in the first minute of the second half when he headed in Iain Anderson's centre, before Aloisi scored from the spot and ensured Coventry's progress in the competition.

Coventry: Hedman, Edworthy, Hall, Williams, Shaw, Telfer, Chippo, Hadji, Eustace, Aloisi, Bellamy. Subs: Kirkland, Breen, Quinn, McPhee, Bothroyd.

Preston: Lonergan, Alexander, Edwards, Jackson, Murdock, Cartwright, Rankine, Gregan, Anderson, Basham, Robinson. Subs: Kidd, Eyres, Appleton, Barry-Murphy, O'Hanlon.

Referee: C Foy (St. Helens)

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