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Watford (0) 0
Coventry City (2) 4

Robbie Keane turned in a scintillating performance as the Sky Blues pushed Watford closer to the Premiership plug hole.

The young Irishman’s 6 million transfer fee from Wolves looked small beer as he played champagne football, scoring a brilliant goal and having a big hand in two more.

He and his team mates fashioned so many chances that he could have ended the match with a double hat-trick. It was only slap dash finishing and the occasional piece of selfishness that prevented Coventry rattling up a very big score.

There were fine performances all over the pitch from Coventry but Keane, Paul Williams, Gary McAllister, Steve Froggatt and Cedric Roussel deserve special mention.

Williams began with some sloppy deliveries out of defence but he settled to give an assured performance and often forced Watford back with his raking crossfield passes.

Froggatt, anxious to please while Youssef Chippo is suspended, was magnificent. He ran Watford’s right flank ragged producing a stream of crosses, combining superbly with his former Wolves’ team mate Keane and taking his goal brilliantly.

McAllister covered every blade of grass in midfield and still had time to produce some great through passes for Keane.

Roussel can look back with satisfaction on his first Premiership start. He had played twice as substitute but never a full match since his arrival on loan from Ghent three weeks ago.

He still has some way to go, but he held the ball up well and laid it off very competently. No goal chances came his way, but he took a big burden off the shoulders of Keane, who prospered as a result.

Watford, minus eleven players through injuries and suspensions, started brightly and almost took the lead in the early minutes.

The game was five minutes old when Watford won a corner kick and as the ball was delivered to the near post it glanced off Paul Telfer’s head and slid off the cross bar.

Then in the ninth minute the Coventry defenders waited for an offside flag which never came and Watford’s Tommy Smith ran through only for Magnus Hedman to narrow the angle and swoop to save at full stretch with his left hand.

But the Sky Blues slowly got the measure of the buzzing ‘Hornets’ and they went in front in the 17th minute when Froggatt won two headers as the ball bounced high. Roussel helped the ball on into the box and Keane flashed it into the net in the blink of an eye.

After 33 minutes Keane repaid Froggatt with a neat pass to his feet and the wingman took it past a defender before neatly chipping the ball over the diving goalkeeper with his weaker right foot.

The match was signed, sealed and delivered two minutes into the second period when Keane laid the ball back to Froggatt, his cross was headed down by Roussel and Moustapha Hadji hooked it into the roof of the net.

After that Coventry were queuing up to score but their only other goal came in the 70th minute from the penalty spot.

Paul Telfer hammered a long ball upfield and Watford’s centreback Steve Palmer was under so much pressure by Keane that he handled.

Dorset referee Paul Durkin immediately signalled a penalty and McAllister coolly shot home into the right hand corner.

There were chances galore falling to Coventry for the remainder of the match but they could not convert any of them.

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Chamberlain, Lyttle, Palmer, Hyde, Johnson, Wooter, Gibbs, Smith (Gudmundsson, 72 mins), Easton, Panayi (Ward, 45 mins), Miller (Ngonge, 45 mins)
Subs not used: Perpetuini, Day (gk)

Hedman, Telfer, Shaw, Williams, Hall, Hadji, McAllister, Palmer, Froggatt, Keane, Roussel
Subs: Breen, Strachan, Eustace, McSheffrey, Ogrizovic (gk)

Coventry - Keane 27 mins, Froggatt 33 mins, Hadji 47 mins, McAllister (pen) 61 mins

REFEREE: Paul Durkin (Dorset)

Coventry – Froggatt (foul, 20 mins)


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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 31 Oct 99

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