|[04 DEC 99] COVENTRY CITY FC MATCH REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Southampton (0) 0
Coventry City (0) 0
BY ADAM DENT
Gordon Strachan declared himself satisfied with
another away draw but the Sky Blues still have to break that away duck.
It was understandable that the City boss would settle for the point after having to
field a make-shift back four and seeing Southampton pepper their goal at times.
Strachan was forced into a change by the absence of David Burrows and, as expected,
Steve Froggatt earned a recall at left back.
This may have been the only goal-less game in the Premiership but that was not for the
want of trying. Only good goalkeeping and woeful finishing prevented one of the sides
braking the precarious stalemate.
Moroccan import Moustapha Hadji created enough openings to have had the game sewn up by
the interval and certainly should have ended the game with a goal.
He fired wide in only the third minute and a few minutes later he pounced on an error
from Dean Richards to blast in a right foot shot. Paul Jones managed to get a hand on the
effort but only pushed it up onto his bar and will have been relieved to see it fly over
Slowly the Saints began to find their confidence and with Marian Pahars and Hassan
Kachloul they possessed plenty of attacking venom.
The Latvian created an excellent opening for Matthew Oakley but Magnus Hedman was out
off his line in a flash and made a good save. Pahars then set up Kachloul only for the
Moroccan to slip at the vital moment just yards from goal.
Robbie Keane had little to feed off despite the efforts of his partner Cedric Rousell
and when he did get on the end of a cross from Steve Froggatt, his former Wolves team mate
Dean Richards was back to head off the line.
Southampton never managed to re-establish the same grip after the break but fortunately
for them, Jones maintained his level of consistency.
He blocked a thunderbolt shot from Rousell three minutes after the re-start and that
set the pattern for the half. The Saints keeper managed to deny Keane and was always quick
off his line and strong in the air.
Roussel was unlucky to be substituted for Noel Whelan with 25 minutes left and the
replacement did little to catch the eye other than pick up the inevitable booking.
Just as in the first half, Southampton began to grow in stature. With sub Kevin Davies
on the field and James Beattie up front, they often resorted to a direct approach.
Hedman denied the latter twice in the final 15 minutes but with just seconds left
Davies was played through the City defence only to make a hash of his second touch and
send the ball wide of the unguarded goal.
It about summed the afternoon up.
The Sky Blues are clearly hard to beat on their travels but with trips to Liverpool and
Middlesbrough on the horizon, they would have done with a win to remove the stigma.
Jones; Tessem, Richards, Benali, Colleter; Ripley, Dodd, Oakley, Kachloul; Beattie, Pahars
(Davies, 65 mins)
Subs not used: Boa Morte, Le Tissier, Moss, Bridge
Hedman; Telfer, Breen, Williams, Froggatt; Hadji, McAllister, Palmer; Chippo, Roussel
(Whelan, 65 mins), Keane
Subs: Normann, Quinn, Strachan, Ogrizovic (gk)
REFEREE: Jeff Winter (Stockton)
Coventry Chippo (dissent), Whelan (dissent)