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Bradford (1) 1
Coventry City (1) 1

It could not be more perfectly set up. Aston Villa, losers to Southampton this weekend, come to Coventry in a fortnight’s time knowing that Gordon Strachan’s side will leapfrog them with a victory.

City should have managed that feat two weeks ahead of the televised clash but their finishing let them down in an otherwise impressive performance at Valley Parade.

The result does, however, stretch their unbeaten run to seven games and maintain a pattern of winning their home fixtures and picking up points on their travels.

Strachan, as expected, made just one change to the side which hammered Watford, restoring Youssef Chippo, who missed that game through suspension, and dropping Cedric Roussel.

The manager had promised to address his side’s sluggish starts to game, and whatever he said, it certainly worked well.

Gary McAllister, Coventry City FCForty seconds had not passed when Carlton Palmer, again outstanding, won the ball on the edge of the City area and fed the ball to Gary McAllister. The balding City skipper carried it forward fully 40 yards, exchanged an elongated one-two with Robbie Keane and volleyed into the unguarded net.

Not surprisingly the early set back rocked the home side and for most of the half City were in control.

Had they allied their good build up work with a fitting finish, the game would have been over at half time.

Keane, Hall and Moustapha Hadji all had chances to add to the score but Bradford keeper Matt Clarke stood firm.

Steve Froggatt, watched by England manager Kevin Keegan, had a quiet half and was fortunate to stay on the field after a nasty challenge on Robbie Blake.

The longer City went without adding to the lead, the more confident the home side became. Dean Saunders buzzed around effectively before a hamstring injury ended his afternoon prematurely while Robbie Blake caused problems.

Lee Mills was, however, their most dangerous front man. He hit the bar in the 41st minute when he rounded Paul Telfer too easily and chipped Magnus Hedman with great skill.

It was a warning which City failed to heed and a few minutes later the former Wolves and Port Vale man went one better when he volleyed in a Peter Beagrie cross.

Paul Jewell’s side started the second half the stronger but City slowly began to regain their dominance.

With McAllister prompting from midfield, Carlton Palmer policing effectively while Keane caused chaos, City forced Bradford back and all but extinguished their threat.

The front two were undoubtedly wasteful but luck was not with City either. With just 16 minutes left, Keane made some space in the area and cracked in a low shot. It looked to be heading for the bottom corner but struck a post and rolled right along the goal line and out for a corner.

Two minutes later Marcus Hall whipped in a low cross and Youssef Chippo turned the ball home from just two yards. The midfielder was mobbed by team mates but the celebrations were cut short by a linesman’s flag.

Coventry could, and should, have won this game but they now enter the international break in good heart, with injuries on the mend – and Villa on the horizon.

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Clarke; Halle (Lawrence, 57 mins), O’Brien, Wetherall, Sharpe; Redfearn, McCall, Windass; Saunders (Beagrie, 41 mins), Mills (Rankin, 83 mins), Blake
Subs not used: Dreyer, Walsh

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

McAllister (1 mins, close-range finish), Mills (43 mins, volley)

REFEREE: Barry Knight (Orpington)

Bradford – Redfearn (6 mins, foul), Lawrence (82 mins, foul)
Coventry – Froggatt (45 mins, foul)


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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 6 Nov 99

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