SEP 99] COVENTRY CITY FC MATCH REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Coventry City (1) 1
West Ham United (0) 0
BY MIKE DALE
He didnt score, but Robbie Keane was showered with fulsome
praise by his manager and fellow professionals after Coventry City ground out their second
victory in four days.
Gordon Strachan told the gathered media, and anyone else who cared to listen:
"Robbie Keane is definitely one of the greatest talents in British football.
"He is better than I realised when I bought him and he can go right to the top.
"Every manager we play against says he would love to have him in his side. He is
doing things not many British players are capable of doing.
"It might sound crazy to outsiders, but I say people should watch Coventry just to
see Robbie play."
Strachan also had time to talk about Moustapha Hadji, the man the fans have dubbed the
"Moustapha feels he has not produced goals for us, but he got one today which will
help him along, but importantly he has kept working extremely hard."
Hadjis goal in the 37th minute came as the result of piece of
stupidity by West Hams centreback Igor Stimac. There was no danger when Robbie Keane
ran the ball out for a West Ham throw in near the right hand corner flag.
But Stimac could not resist giving the Coventry man a nudge in the back. He then argued
so long and so forcibly with referee David Ellerays decision to give Coventry a free
kick that he was shown a yellow card.
Then to complete Stimacs discomfiture, Coventrys captain Gary McAllister
swung over the free-kick and Hadji escaped his marker to loop a header into the net.
The air must have been a deep shade of blue in the West Ham changing room at half-time
but worse was to come for the London side. In the 71st minute McAllister won
the ball fairly from John Moncur, but the niggled West Ham player appeared to make contact
with his boot as McAllister lay on the floor and Mr Elleray had no hesitation in showing
him his second yellow card of the match.
Moncur trudged to the changing rooms with the jeers of the Coventry fans ringing in his
ears and knowing that he just might have ruined his sides chances of salvaging
anything from the match.
As it turned out Coventry, as usual, tried to defend their slender lead and once or
twice paid for defending too close to their own goal.
Magnus Hedman produced a cat-like reflex save to flip Frank Lampards first time
shot over the crossbar and then bravely blocked Paulo Wanchopes effort from point
But the Sky Blues had their moments and Youssef Chippo almost scored in the 41st
minute when Shaka Hislop raced off his goal line and found himself yards outside his area.
He blocked Hadjis attempt to fire at the open goal, but Chippo got his effort away
only to see Steve Potts block it on the goalline.
All in all it was a scrappy match but Coventry and their fans will not mind that. They
have had their fill for the moment of flowing football with lots of goals that have ended
This was only their second clean sheet in the league and it brought their second
victory. They now travel to play Everton at Goodison next weekend in good heart.
Carlton Palmer must wander what the fuss was about. The England midfielder, on loan
from Nottingham Forest, has now played two games and has been on the winning side each
time. His debut was in the midweek Worthington Cup victory over Tranmere Rovers.
Hedman, Edworthy, Shaw, Konjic, M Hall, Telfer, McAllister (McSheffrey, 84 mins), Palmer,
Chippo (Williams, 61 mins), Hadji, Keane
Subs: Nuzzo, Gavin Strachan, Eustace
Hislop, Potts, Stimac, Lomas, Sinclair, Foe, Lampard, Moncur, Keller (Newton, 77 mins), Di
Subs: Forrest (gk), Kitson, Carrick, Forbes
Coventry - Hadji (37 mins)
REFEREE: David Elleray (Harrow on the Hill)
Coventry Edworthy (16 mins, foul), Chippo (41 mins, foul), Palmer (75 mins, foul)
West Ham Wanchope (4 mins, dissent), Stimac (36 mins, dissent), Moncur (48 mins, 71
mins both fouls)
SENDING OFF: Moncur