Coventrys eight match unbeaten run was ended
by a sub standard performance and a piece of striking brilliance from England forward
Gordon Strachans side never managed to scale the heights they reached in the
derby with Aston Villa on Monday, but, in Martin ONeills no-frills battlers,
they were up against a far tougher side.
City could have few complaints they never created enough chances from open play
and too often lacked quality on the ball.
Leicester were little better but they controlled midfield, especially in the first
half, and managed to starve Robbie Keane of possession.
Keane had precious little to feed off throughout a largely disappointing day and had to
watch Englands Emile Heskey take the striking plaudits.
Heskey has something of a reputation as a speedy battering ram but he showed superb
control and mobility to hit his sixth goal of the season in the 59th minute.
There looked very little on as Paul Williams shadowed him on the edge of the area, but he
turned sharply and drilled a low shot across Magnus Hedman and into the far corner of the
net. It was a goal worthy of winning a far better game than this.
With both teams enjoying good form, the encounter had been highly anticipated and
perhaps an anti-climax was inevitable.
The opening moments were, however, lively enough when Leicester midfielder Muzzy Izzett
appeared to be bundled over inside the Coventry area. Referee Steve Lodge waved away the
claims but any suspicions that the incident had come too early was later dismissed when
the Barnsley official ignored three more realistic penalty shouts two for Coventry
and one for the visitors.
Leicesters supremacy, while never overwhelming, was established by Izzett, Neil
Lennon and Robbie Savage. They outnumbered and out-played their Coventry counterparts and
their efforts deserved better.
Izzett pulled a save out of Hedman just after his penalty claim, Gerry Taggart headed
just wide from a free kick and Lennon went close before Tony Cottee blasted over from just
At the other end it was Keanes partner Cedric Roussel who posed the greater
threat. He worried Tim Flowers with a shot-come-cross which the former England keeper had
to flick over the bar and then hit the side netting after carving out a gap in the 22nd
The 21-year old on-loan Belgian was finally stretchered off in the 33rd
minute when he collided with Moroccan midfielder Youssef Chippo as they tried to reach a
cross from Gary McAllister.
Both sides, no doubt with the words of their managers ringing fresh, displayed a higher
level of urgency in the opening moments of the second half.
Coventry had been forced to replace the injured David Burrows, playing his first game
for more than two months, with Steve Froggatt. It is a sign that the Highfield Road club
are improving that Froggatt, in the England squad for the recent double header with
Scotland, had been forced to wait for his chance.
The two Moroccans Chippo and Moustapha Hadji have given Coventry added pace and both
featured in a couple of impressive breakaways.
Leicester were again beginning to exercise a stranglehold on the Sky Blues midfield and
forcing them back with Lennon conducting affairs when Chippo won possession on the right
flank and played the ball in field to substitute Whelan.
He continued his run but just as he tried to bring the ball under control, Andrew Impey
recovered to make a vital and well-timed challenge.
It was almost an exact repeat just two minutes later when Chippo set up Froggatt on the
edge of the area. Froggatt stepped inside a covering player and let fly with his left
foot. Flowers got down well enough but had to collect the ball at the second attempt as
Whelan closed in at pace.
But then Heskey produced his moment to separate the sides and his relief at ending a
three month drought was obvious.
Coventry threw everything forward in a bid to rescue a point and certainly could have
had a penalty when Hadji was tripped by Impey.