|[31 OCT 99] COVENTRY CITY FC MATCH
REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Watford (0) 0
Coventry City (2) 4
BY ADAM DENT
Robbie Keane turned in a scintillating performance
as the Sky Blues pushed Watford closer to the Premiership plug hole.
The young Irishmans £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
Watfords 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
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 Telfers head and slid off the cross
Then in the ninth minute the Coventry defenders waited for an offside flag which never
came and Watfords 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 Watfords 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.
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)