Losing his court battle to Simon Jordan severely dented Iain Dowie's bank balance in the summer, but Leon Best's late equaliser made sure his pride was still intact at Selhurst Park last night.

Rarely does a Championship match cause such a national media stir but the chance to pitch this as round two of the 'Dowie vs Jordan' battle was irresistible for some.

The two had met court in the summer as the Crystal Palace chairman sued the Sky Blues boss on the grounds that he been untruthful in his reasons for leaving the Selhurst Park club in 2006.

Jordan won the case - which could ultimately cost the City boss more than £1 million - but far from being satisfied with that, he took great delight in rubbing his former employee's nose in it in the build-up to this game.

Dowie did his best to remain dignified ahead of his first return to Palace since his departure. Unfortunately for him, his side failed to build on a promising start and his shaky looking defence conceded midway through the first period but substitute Best ensured there was no last laugh for the Eagles' chairman.

As Dowie approached the visiting dug-out prior to the game from the tunnel, flanked by two security guards, the reaction from the home supporters was mixed. A remarkable promotion to the Premiership in 2004 was enough to win applause from some. Leaving Palace for Charlton meant others couldn't resist booing.

But it was a reasonably bright start for Dowie's men and the Selhurst Park crowd quickly fell silent as Coventry got the upper hand. That was down in the main to midfielders Stephen Hughes and Michael Doyle who were commanding in the opening 20 minutes.

Palace had a glorious chance to score the opening goal after 24 minutes when Dougie Freedman was left free in the middle from Tom Soares' pass but his placed shot was pushed wide by Konstantopoulos.

Just three minutes later City were punished for more lacklustre marking as Stuart Green was allowed to slide in unchallenged to prod home Freedman's cross.

And it was noticeable that as Doyle and Hughes started to lose influence in the centre of midfield after the goal, Coventry's possession levels started to drop. At the back too, they looked susceptible whenever Palace broke with pace as skipper Arjen de Zeeuw and Elliott Ward looked dangerously exposed.

Dele Adebola was proving difficult to shake off the ball again and his control and cross just after the break set up another opportunity for McKenzie but he shot wide again. A higher goal-to-chance ratio is definitely required if he is to justify his £1 million fee from Norwich last season.

It was Adebola's turn to squander another half chance as he flicked Jay Tabb's cross wide from ten yards. But Coventry also rode their luck at the back as Mark Hudson spurned a glorious chance to head Palace's second while Hughes was forced to block Green's shot from the edge of the area.

Time appeared to be running out but in the 87th minute the ball broke to Best in the box and he unleashed an unstoppable shot past Speroni. His reaction, along with his teammates, in running straight to Dowie on the bench showed just how much it really meant to the players and their boss.