Coventry 2 Arsenal 2

  • By: Phil Casey, PA Sport
  • Last Updated: May 22 2012, 10:00 BST

Dion Dublin salvaged a point for the Sky Blues in what could be his last game

for Coventry in an extraordinary match at Highfield Road.

The home side had dominated the first half but only had Noel Whelan's 21st

minute effort to show for it.

And it looked like they would pay dearly for several missed chances when

Dennis Bergkamp and Nicolas Anelka put Arsenal in front within 12 minutes of

the second half.

But Coventry were handed a lifeline on 64 minutes when Patrick Vieira conceded

a penalty for handball and the Frenchman was then dismissed after protesting his

innocence too vehemently for referee Steve Lodge's liking.

Dublin remained the calmest player on the pitch while Vieira was finally

escorted by Arsenal officials and he beat David Seaman from the spot to level

the scores.

Coventry were also reduced to ten men when Paul Williams received his marching

orders for the second time in the season for a professional foul on Dennis

Bergkamp just outside the area.

There was little indication of what was to follow from a first half which

Coventry dominated throughout as Arsenal appeared to be suffering from the

effects of their long battle with Port Vale in the FA Cup in midweek.

The Gunners felt they had good claims for a penalty after 14 minutes when Paul

Williams and Ray Parlour clashed just inside the area but the referee was well

placed and waved away the visitors protests.

That was Arsenal's only real chance and after that they were in danger of

being overwhelmed by a Coventry side that looked dangerous on every attack.

The Sky Blues opened the scoring on 21 minutes with a beautifully constructed

goal from Noel Whelan.

Dublin's intelligent first time flick found Trond Soltvedt free in the penalty

area and he did well to hold off the challenge of Steve Bould before laying the

ball back into the path of Whelan who sidefooted it past David Seaman.

That threatened to open the floodgates and Arsenal were grateful for an

outstanding save from Seaman and some wasteful finishing from Darren Huckerby

for keeping them in the game.

After 32 minutes Huckerby beat Bould on the edge of the area with a delightful

turn but saw his thunderous drive tipped over by Seaman.

Huckerby could count himself unlucky on that occasion but he was then guilty

of missing three chances that could have sealed the points by half time.

As the Arsenal defence looked in vain for the offside flag he was through on

goal on three occasions but twice he shot weakly at the advancing keeper and

also took too much time on another occasion to allow Matthew Upson to get back

and clear.

Arsenal then made Huckerby pay for his wasted chances as they levelled the

scores within five minutes of the restart.

Paul Williams attempted backheader to Magnus Hedman was well short of pace and

Bergkamp nipped in to lob the advancing keeper.

It was an equality the visitors did not deserve and they robbed salt in

Coventry's wounds with a second seven minutes later.

Lee Dixon's left-foot shot was going wide until Anelka poked out his rightfoot.

Hedman managed to smother the ball but as it got caught under the keeper's

body Anelka stabbed it into the back of the net.

The real excitement was yet to follow however as both sides were reduced to

ten men in an increasingly bad tempered second half.

Vieira had already been booked when he conceded a penalty for handball on 64

minutes.

That was probably enough to get him sent off but he made absolutely certain by

protesting his innocence too strongly and referee Lodge reached for the red

card.

Vieira then kicked the ball away in a show of petulance and had to be escorted

from the pitch by Arsenal officials.

Dublin remained calm enough to score from the spot once the game eventually

restarted to make the scores level.

And it was then Coventry's turn to be reduced to ten men when Williams

received his marching orders for the second time this season.

He brought down Bergkamp on the edge of the area and the Dutchman closed in on

goal was shown the red card for a professional foul.

He had a brief stay of execution however as the referee consulted his linesman

before confirming the decision.

Bergkamp blasted the resulting free kick over the bar but there was still time

for Arsenal to come close to an undeserved winner.

Bergkamp's low cross was met by Anelka but the teenager could not get his left

foot shot on target for what would have been an undeserved victory.

Teams

Coventry: Hedman, Burrows, Nilsson, Williams, Breen, Whelan,

Telfer, Soltvedt, Boateng, Dublin, Huckerby.

Subs Not Used: Ogrizovic, Shaw, Moldovan, Salako, Strachan.

Sent Off: Williams (79).

Booked: Whelan, Telfer.

Goals: Whelan 21, Dublin 66 pen.

Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Vieira, Bould,

Anelka (Boa Morte 82), Bergkamp, Keown (Grimandi 42), Parlour,

Petit, Upson.

Subs Not Used: Manninger, Wreh, Hughes.

Sent Off: Vieira (65).

Booked: Vieira, Grimandi, Parlour.

Goals: Bergkamp 50, Anelka 57.

Att: 22,864

Ref: S J Lodge (Barnsley).