Coventry City boss Gordon Strachan spent more than
15 minutes talking to a pack of Sky Blues supporters after another highly frustrating
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 didnt explain the reasons to the press either, but made it plain he was not
happy with the showing which again throws the clubs very top-flight status into
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
The opening period seemed to be drifting to an end when, in injury time, Gary Breen was
forced to concede a corner. Steve Guppys cross was accurate, Marshalls 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
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.
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