|[19 SEP 99] COVENTRY CITY FC MATCH
REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Tottenham Hotspur (1) 3
Coventry City (0) 2
BY ADAM DENT
Coventry City came with in a whisker of achieving
another White Hart Lane great escape or, as Gordon Strachan pointed out, they flattered to
Citys 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
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
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 didnt 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 couldnt 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 everyones spirits.
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
REFEREE: Andy DUrso (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