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Leicester City (1) 1
Coventry City (0) 0

Coventry City boss Gordon Strachan spent more than 15 minutes talking to a pack of Sky Blues supporters after another highly frustrating performance.

It was not clear whether he was trying to avoid having to speak to his players who had just so disappointed, explaining the paucity of performance to those who had paid to watch or just explaining what had gone wrong.

He didn’t explain the reasons to the press either, but made it plain he was not happy with the showing which again throws the club’s very top-flight status into jeopardy.

It is always hard to questions players’ commitment – no-one goes out not to try – but there was certainly an apparent lack of urgency that allowed Leicester to coast to an easy and thoroughly merited victory.

City did have problems. Gary McAllister and Noel Whelan were missing through suspension, Steve Froggatt was out injured while Magnus Hedman was still clearly troubled by the knock he sustained during the home reverse against Middlesbrough last week.

That meant Barry Quinn partnering Philippe Clement in the centre of midfield and George Boateng operating down the left of midfield. The balance was not right and Boateng had a very poor game.

Darren Huckerby, 14 games without a goal, was coupled with John Aloisi in attack and they failed to hit it off. The former again drifted very wide – it is hard to tell if that is under instruction or just a habit – leaving his partner bereft of service.

Only when Stefano Gioacchini came on from the bench did City start to look dangerous and despite a considerable improvement it was still not enough.

Leicester, already with four points in the previous six days, always looked the stronger of the two sides and could have won by a wider margin. Not that they totally dominated – they clearly know their season is really over – but they looked capable of moving through the gears and leaving City in their wake.

In a poor first half, Ian Marshall and veteran Tony Cottee could each have grabbed themselves a couple of goals apiece while City were really limited to a diving header from Aloisi.

The opening period seemed to be drifting to an end when, in injury time, Gary Breen was forced to concede a corner. Steve Guppy’s cross was accurate, Marshall’s header deadly. Game over.

Paul Telfer failed to re-appear for the second half after taking a knock on his calf, so giving Marcus Hall a chance to play his first senior action of the year after a major knee injury.

Hedman was fortunate to escape when he flapped at a cross from Guppy under pressure from Emile Heskey.

City only got going when Gioacchini appeared – he must stand a very good chance of starting against Wimbledon. He has already shown his finishing ability in the reserves but failed to match it when Boateng played him in with the best move of the game.

He was free inside the area but failed to get enough power behind his shot, allowing Kasey Keller to make a straightforward stop.

Trond Soltvedt manufactured two openings when he came on but Coventry gave the impression they could have played on until Wednesday without making the breakthrough.

Strachan was, not surprisingly, testy after the game and it was clear he had told the players just what he thought of their efforts – or lack of them.

Other results were kind – too kind really – and City may already have done just enough to stay up. A win against Wimbledon, however, should make all but certain.

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Keller, Sinclair, Elliott, Kaarmark, Impey, Lennon (Gunnlaugsson, 90 mins), Savage, Guppy, Heskey, Marshall (Fenton, 86 mins), Cottee (Campbell, 69 mins)
Subs not used: Arphexad, Miller

Hedman, Breen, Shaw, Williams, Burrows, Telfer (Hall, 45 mins), Clement (Soltvedt, 74 mins), Quinn, Boateng, Aloisi (Gioachini, 60 mins), Huckerby
Subs: Kirkland, Edworthy

GOALS: Marshall (45 mins)

REFEREE: Graham Barber (Pyford)

Leicester – Elliott (63 mins, foul)
Coventry – Quinn (25 mins, foul), Burrows (38 mins, foul), Huckerby (73 mins, foul), Shaw (89 mins, dissent)


MAN OF THE MATCH: Paul Williams – best of a poor bunch

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 24 Apr 99

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM