SEP 99] MATCH REPORT - WORTHINGTON CUP 2ND ROUND 2ND
Coventry City (3) 3
Tranmere Rovers (1) 1
BY MIKE DALE
Aggregate score: Coventry City 4
Tranmere Rovers 6
Gordon Strachan got the committed display he had demanded from his players, but they
could not score enough goals to retrieve last weeks 5-1 debacle at Prenton Park and
went out of this competition for another year.
But the Coventry manager expressed satisfaction at his sides display and said:
"The world is a happier place for three days."
At the end of that period West Ham United visit Highfield Road in the league but
Coventry will go into that in much better heart after this committed performance.
Youssef Chippo scored twice and an admiring Strachan said:
"He was phenomenal. I really think he is a top, top player."
"Come to Highfield Road and you will see some great goals and good football. We
have just got to stop leaking goals. We did it again tonight and we have somehow got to
But the outspoken Scot refused to be drawn on referee Trevor Jones showing. Asked
about a disallowed penalty kick in the second half he said:
"I saw it like everyone else. The Tranmere player appeared to panic and flapped
his hand at it."
Refereee Jones clearly saw the hand ball. He indicated as such by tapping his own arm,
but he gave the decision to Tranmere by awarding them a free kick.
The Coventry players were incensed and chased him up the pitch in disbelief. Strachan
would only say:
"It seems a shame that I can be criticised for a bad performance but referees
"This referee will have better games and so will I."
Strachan slapped a gag on his players after the 5-1 debacle at Prenton Park saying:
"Anything we say will sound like excuses or self pity. We must do our talking on
His side did that alright. They blitzed the First Division team with some terrific
free-flowing football and three wonder goals, but they missed the experience of the
injured strikers Noel Whelan and John Aloisi and the goal grabbing skills of £6 million
signing Robbie Keane who was cup tied.
Gary McAllister netted with a blistering 30 yard strike after 25 minutes, but the
jubilant had hardly retaken their seats when Scott Taylor rose to glance in John
Mahons free kick for an equaliser. It made Coventrys task even more monumental
and was probably the decisive goal of the two legs.
The Sky Blues remustered and subjected their opponents to such relentless pressure that
the Liverpool side buckled twice in the last thirty seconds of the half.
Chippo repeated McAllisters feat with a stunning long range strike and then
inside a minute popped up in the goalmouth to deflect Marcus Halls powerfully struck
shot into the net.
The stage seemed set for a grandstand finish for the Sky Blues but they could not find
a way through in the second half hard though they tried. If the penalty had been awarded
with thirty minutes left they might well have gone on to get the necessary margin to see
But Tranmere hung on and Strachan was left to reflect on what might have been. But he
announced his satisfaction at the performance of his players and apart from Keanes
return against West Ham, he might not have to make too many changes.
There were fine debuts from teenaged goalkeeper Chris Kirkland and Carlton Palmer on
loan from Nottingham Forest who did the job that Strachan wanted.
Kirkland; Edworthy, Shaw, Konjic, Hall; Telfer, McAllister, Palmer, Chippo; Hadji,
McSheffrey (Eustace, 82 mins)
Subs: Nuzzo, Williams, Strachan, Ferguson
Aachterberg; Hill, Challinor, Yates, Roberts; Thompson, Allen, Morgan, Mahon; Taylor
(Parkinson, 75 mins), Kelly
Subs: Jones, Murphy, Parkinson, Frail, Black
Coventry - McAllister (25 mins), Chippo (44 mins, 45 mins)
Tranmere - Taylor (26 mins)
REFEREE: Trevor Jones (Barrow-in-Furness)
Coventry Hadji (foul, 16 mins), Palmer (foul, 28 mins)
Tranmere Challinor (foul, 35 mins), Roberts (foul, 37 mins), Taylor (dissent, 45
mins), Allen (foul, 67 mins)
COVENTRY MAN OF THE MATCH:
Youssef Chippo a magnificent match in every way