Griffin cracker KO's Coventry
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Andy Griffin's 30-yard thunderbolt secured Stoke City a 1-0 win over Coventry City.
Andy Griffin's 30-yard thunderbolt secured Stoke City a 1-0 win over Coventry City at a misty Britannia Stadium.
The experienced defender scored a goal to clinch any match on the hour mark, while Stoke finished the game with 10 men after Ricardo Fuller was dismissed for elbowing Michael Doyle.
Murky conditions summed up a dreary first half, with Fuller twice failing to make the most of good openings.
A burst into the box was brought to a halt by Robert Page's well-timed tackle and he then slipped when in a good position before slashing Carl Hoefkens' cross over the bar.
In between, Stern John was equally wasteful as he rashly shot wide after rounding Steve Simonsen following an error in the Stoke defence.
The second half perked up and, on the hour mark, the gloom was lifted by a magnificent strike from Griffin.
The full back cut in from the left-hand side and unleashed an unerring drive from 30 yards which arrowed into the top corner of the net.
Just minutes later and Stoke were denied a second goal when Hoefkens' shot cannoned off the bar and, in attempting to continue the momentum, Fuller was sent off for lifting his elbow into Doyle's chin.
On 76 minutes, Coventry were aggrieved not to be awarded a penalty when Jay Tabb's header back across goal struck the arm of Danny Higginbotham, who was being held back by Leon McKenzie.
Stoke almost pinched a second goal on the counter attack in injury time, but substitute Vincent Pericard's low drive was beaten away by Andy Marshall.
Deep into stoppage time, The Sky Blues thought they had salvaged an equaliser, but McKenzie was in an offside position when he diverted Page's header into the net.