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Everton (1) 1
Coventry City (1) 1

Gary McAllister’s fifth goal of a so far impressive season for the Scottish veteran earned Coventry their third away draw of the campaign and rounded off an improved week.

Spirits were understandably low after the Tranmere debacle, a defeat at White Hart Lane and that high scoring reverse against Leeds.

But Gordon Strachan had demanded a response after losing at Tottenham, and on the evidence of the last 10 days he has got just that.

A 5-1 deficit proved too much for too much for them to pull around against Tranmere but the win over West Ham staved off a crisis and this, some may say, unlikely point will continue to foster confidence.

A win would have given Everton their finest start to a season for over 25 years and taken then up among the big players.

But they met a City side in stubborn form and a keeper who was inspired. Magnus Hedman, so poor against Leeds, against showed fine form with a series of stunning stops.

And the victory had to be achieved the hard way. Unchanged City were rocked back on their heels inside two minutes.

Everton seemed to sense the thick air of expectation inside Goodison. After beating Liverpool at Anfield on Monday, the Everton fans, battle-scarred after seasons of struggle, had come only to see a win.

They must have thought it was on its way when Francis Jeffers, sent off in that Merseyside derby game, put them in front after less than two minutes.

The teenager looked offside when he raced on to a chip from Nick Barmby but as the City defence looked for a flag, he fired past Magnus Hedman and into the net.

That could have been the cue for City to fold but they managed to survive thanks to Hedman’s acrobatic save from a free kick by John Collins.

The Sky Blues got the break with their very first attack. Robbie Keane ran onto a through pass from Youssef Chippo and challenged Paul Gerrard inside the area. He actually failed to make contact but did enough to force the keeper to punch clear.

The ball fell to McAllister who had the presence of mind to lob straight back into the empty net from 25 yards.

City were buoyed by the goal and started to play with far more conviction. Moustapha Hadji displayed his array of tricks and went close with one header.

But the Moroccan is not an out and out striker and was often leaving Keane to play alone up front against Richard Gough – a man old enough to be his father.

Everton had other first half chances and Kevin Campbell could easily have restored the lead had he not fallen over in the area having done the hard part.

The second half never reached the same level of excitement. Neither side managed to keep the ball and it spent too long in the air rather than on the floor.

Mo Konjic was forced off after a nasty challenge from Kevin Campbell, and Marcus Hall was booked after a foul on Richard Dunne which forced the Everton player off.

The Merseysiders’ confidence at their fine start to the season may not be all it seems however - Gough and Don Hutchison had to be separated after a long-running argument.

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Gerrard; Dunne (Gemmill, 85 mins), Weir, Gough, Ball; Xavier, Hutchison, Collins, Barmby (Cadermateri, 45 mins), Campbell, Jeffers
Subs: Simonsen, Ward, Johnson

Hedman; Edworthy, Shaw, Konjic (Williams, 58 mins), Hall; Telfer, Palmer, Chippo, McAllister; Hadji, Keane
Subs: Nuzzo, Quinn, Strachan, Eustace

GOALS: Jeffers (2 mins), McAllister (12 mins)

REFEREE: N Barry (Scunthorpe)

Everton – Dunne (foul)
Coventry – Hall (foul), Edworthy (foul)


COVENTRY MAN OF THE MATCH: Hedman – good saves again

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 2 Oct 99

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