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Southampton (0) 0
Coventry City (0) 0

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 the top.

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.

bar-blue-400x3.gif (874 bytes)

Jones; Tessem, Richards, Benali, Colleter; Ripley, Dodd, Oakley, Kachloul; Beattie, Pahars (Davies, 65 mins)
Subs not used: Boa Morte, Le Tissier, Moss, Bridge

COVENTRY (4-4-2):
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)


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