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Coventry City (0) 0
Leicester City (0) 1

Coventry’s eight match unbeaten run was ended by a sub standard performance and a piece of striking brilliance from England forward Emile Heskey.

Gordon Strachan’s side never managed to scale the heights they reached in the derby with Aston Villa on Monday, but, in Martin O’Neill’s 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 England’s 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.

Leicester’s 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 eight yards.

At the other end it was Keane’s 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 minute.

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.

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Hedman; Telfer, Breen, Williams, Burrows (Froggatt, 45 mins); Hadji, McAllister, Palmer, Chippo; Keane, Roussel (Whelan, 34 mins)
Subs: Konjic, Eustace, Ogrizovic (gk)

Flowers; Sinclair, Elliott, Taggart; Impey, Savage, Lennon, Izzett, Guppy; Cottee, Heskey
Subs: Walsh, Marshall, Oakes, Zagorakis, Arphexad

GOAL: Heskey (59 mins)

REFEREE: S Lodge (Barnsley)

Coventry – Williams (foul, 31 mins), Keane (dissent, 68 mins)
Leicester – Taggart (foul, 3 mins)


COVENTRY MAN OF THE MATCH: McAllister – constantly working

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 27 Nov 99

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