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Tottenham Hotspur (1) 3
Coventry City (0) 2

Coventry City came with in a whisker of achieving another White Hart Lane great escape or, as Gordon Strachan pointed out, they flattered to deceive.

City’s revival having conceded three goals was admirable and they could well have emerged from North London with a share of the spoils but they did too little, too late to justify a point.

Had they started with the same gusto they showed after Tottenham had all but sewn up the points, they would have walked the game. Whether they were capable is a different matter.

When you are three down, their manager claimed, it is easy to summon response. There is no pressure and little is expected.

Strachan made five changes from the defeat at Tranmere and, after asking his players to vent their disappointment with action rather than words, must have been very worried at half time.

In fact, Coventry constructed the first telling move of the game when Moustapha Hadji, playing up front alongside the recalled Robbie Keane, shot just wide after good inter-play with his striking partner.

But after seven minutes their defence was ripped apart. Mauricio Taricco cut inside onto his right foot and delivered a wonderful cross for Steffen Iversen who volleyed past Magnus Hedman with considerable aplomb.

Spurs should have had the game won by the interval. Iversen came within in an inch of a second, Chris Armstrong was put through on goal only to be denied by Magnus Hedman while Tim Sherwood fired just over.

City were in disarray. Paul Williams, moved into midfield, struggled to cope with the role. He was fine in the physical sense but his passing was woeful and he conceded possession as often as he maintained it.

It was a minor miracle that City didn’t concede again before the break but Strachan must have been worried at the lack of response.

Things got worse before they got better. Four minutes after the restart Iversen powered a header towards goal but the ball hit Chris Armstrong. In an instant the former Palace striker turned and lashed a shot past Hedman.

City had barely re-started before they conceded once more. Iversen was involved once again – his through pass picked out Oyvind Leonhardsen and he chested the ball down before volleying in.

That should have been the game over but, with the pressure off, City suddenly discovered their confidence and attacked Spurs with impressive venom.

When they made the breakthrough it was thanks to some striking brilliance from Robbie Keane. The youngster turned Chris Perry – quite an achievement in itself – before chipping in over Walker.

Suddenly it was Spurs’ turn to look shaky and doubt themselves. They defended deeper and almost invited Coventry forward. City took advantage. With 16 minutes remaining Chippo ran at the heart of the defence, exchanged passes with Moustapha Hadji, and pushed the ball home after Walker had saved his first effort.

But, having got themselves back into the game, they couldn’t quite make the final step and Spurs regained their composure to see out time without too much worry.

City produced far, far more than they did at Tranmere, but still they have to do more when the First Division Merseysiders come to Highfield Road on Wednesday.

Strachan always reckons you can judge a team after 10 games. City have two Premiership games left to lift everyone’s spirits.

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Walker; Carr, Perry, Young, Taricco; Leonhardsen, Freund, Sherwood, Ginola (Dominguez, 60 mins), Armstrong (Nielsen, 85 mins), Iversen
Subs: Baardsen, Edinburgh, King

Hedman; Edworthy, Konjic, Shaw, Burrows (Paul Hall, 83 mins); Chippo, McAllister, Williams, Froggatt (Marcus Hall, 59 mins); Keane, Hadji
Subs: Nuzzo, Breen, Strachan

Iversen (7 mins), Armstrong (49 mins), Leonhardsen (51 mins), Keane (53 mins), Chippo (74 mins)

REFEREE: Andy D’Urso (Essex)

Tottenham – Armstrong (44 mins, foul)
Coventry – Hadji (23 mins, dissent), Shaw (37 mins, foul), Konjic (77 mins, foul)


COVENTRY MAN OF THE MATCH: Marc Edworthy – good going forward

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 19 Sep 99

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