Goalscorers: David Busst 40, Dion Dublin 60, David Rennie 64, Peter Ndlovu 74, John Salako 88
Coventry City: Steve Ogrizovic, David Rennie, David Busst, Marcus Hall, Ally Pickering, Paul Telfer, Chris Whyte, Kevin Richardson, John Salako, Peter Ndlovu, Dion Dublin
Blackburn Rovers: Tim Flowers, Graeme Le Saux, Henning Berg, Nicky Marker, David Batty, Tim Sherwood, Lars Bohinen (Billy McKinlay 45), Stuart Ripley, Mike Newell (Paul Warhurst 33), Alan Shearer, Chris Sutton
Referee: Steve Dunn, Attendance: 13,409
Coventry City hosted Blackburn Rovers in December 1995 desperate for a win. They were still in single digits in terms of points and hadn’t achieved a maximum three points since beating Manchester City in their second game of the campaign. Reigning Premier League champions Blackburn Rovers were not making the best of title defences but were unbeaten in three games. However, they were yet to win on their travels in the top-flight in 1995-1996.
Having ended up on the wrong end of a seven-goal thriller five nights earlier at Hillsborough, Ron Atkinson’s side kicked off bottom of the Premier League. Blackburn came into the match having just thrashed Norwegian champions Rosenborg 4-1 in the UEFA Champions League group stages. So, it was a huge surprise to see what would happen next, despite Rovers’ lack of form away from Ewood Park. It was a frosty and chilly afternoon at Highfield Road and Steve Dunn had to give the pitch a late inspection to ensure play could go ahead. Atkinson had a defensive crisis with the likes of David Burrows and Paul Williams out injured. He had recruited 34-year-old Chris Whyte on-loan from Birmingham City and he went straight into the side.
Coventry did the majority of the early running and it was the home side who took the lead. Marcus Hall produced a deep cross, Peter Ndlovu headed the ball across goal and central defender David Busst was in the right place to nod the ball past Tim Flowers. Blackburn had beaten Coventry in the reverse fixture 5-1 back in September but now it was the champions’ who were taking the pasting. Dion Dublin nearly made it 2-0 in the opening moments of the second half but was denied at point-blank range by Flowers. 15 minutes later, he did double the Sky Blues’ lead, flicking the ball over himself, leaving Henning Berg on the turf and slicing the ball past Flowers reach.
Number three arrived four minutes later. Kevin Richardson’s free-kick was headed in at the near post by David Rennie. Ndlovu, who was a constant pest all afternoon, made it 4-0. He skipped past three brittle Blackburn challenges and knocked in after his lovely run. Two minutes from time, John Salako completed the rout, smashing home after Blackburn struggled to clear a deep cross from Ally Pickering.
Atkinson said afterwards: “I have always thought we were capable of putting a run together. We defended very well and didn’t give Blackburn a look in.”
Coventry ended up surviving on the final day of the season, whilst Blackburn had to wait until mid-January for their first away win which came at Queens Park Rangers. They had to settle for a final finishing position of seventh but Alan Shearer did win the Golden Boot for a second successive season with 31 goals.