|[11 DEC 99] COVENTRY CITY MATCH REPORT - FA CUP 3RD ROUND
Norwich City (0) 1
Coventry City (0) 3
BY ADAM DENT
Tactical genius or just plain lucky take your
choice but there is no doubting that Gordon Strachan got it just right at Carrow Road.
The Sky Blues manager made the controversial but not altogether unexpected
decision to axe Cedric Roussel and restore Noel Whelan. Whelan, while still short
of fitness, scored the first before making way for the young Belgian who promptly added
The tie was made safe by youngster John Eustace who scored his first senior goal after
coming on for the injured Paul Williams.
But while City can celebrate, Norwich keeper Andy Marshall will have not enjoyed his
Saturday night. The former England under-21 keeper was responsible for two of Citys
There was little to choose between the two sides in a disappointingly scrappy first
half. Both teams were battling against less than perfect conditions. Rain had fallen in
Norwich for more than 12 hours and, while the pitch played well, there was lying water on
Robbie Keane did manage to put the ball in the net just after the half hour but Youssef
Chippo had been flagged off side as he put the young Irishman through.
Neither side had really gone close to breaking the deadlock until first half injury
time when Norwich came within inches of taking the lead. Iwan Roberts swung a cross from
the left flank and Darel Russell, a rumoured City target, looped a header up over Magnus
Hedman and against the bar.
The ball bounced down but with Hedman out of position, Cedric Anselin struck the post
with his angled shot.
By that stage, City had been forced into a change after Paul Williams picked up a
painful knee injury. That forced a reshuffle with Carlton Palmer moving back into defence
and Eustace making his FA Cup debut.
The former Birmingham City trainee was nothing short of a revelation. He has had a good
first half to the season in the reserves, scoring eight goals in 10 games and that form
was continued on the higher stage.
But it needed a real shock to jolt City into action. Roberts set up partner Adrian
Forbes, in the 57th minute, only for the sub to fire embarrassingly wide of
Almost from the
re-start City put the pressure on. Steve Froggatt cut in from the left flank and crossed
in for Noel Whelan who glanced a header goalwards. There was little pace on the effort and
it was at the perfect height for Marshall but he let it slip through his grasp and it
bounced almost apologetically into the net.
Norwich, however, refused to crumble and within eight minutes they were level. The goal
was hard on City. Russells shot from the corner of the area was well blocked and
when Chris Llewellyn fired in the loose ball it struck the outstretched knee of Carlton
Palmer and flew in past Hedman.
Then came a Strachan masterstroke. He decided that Whelans lack of fitness was
starting to tell, so replaced him with Roussel. If the young Belgian had thought himself
unlucky to be dropped then he issued the perfect response.
He had been on the pitch for just seven minutes when he tried his luck from another
Froggatt cross. Once againt there was little power in the effort but Marshall let the ball
slip under his body and into the net.
That was the game over, but Eustace still had his moment of glory. Six minutes from the
final whistle, Keane slipped the ball to him on the edge of the area, he brought it under
control with his right foot and fired it in with his right. It was a richly deserved goal.
Marshall; Sutch, Fleming, Jackson, Fugelstad; Anselin, De Blasiis, Russell, Llewellyn;
Roberts, Daglish (Forbes, 32 mins)
Subs not used:
Hedman; Telfer, Breen, Williams (38 mins), Breen, Froggatt; Hadji, McAllister, Palmer,
Chippo; Whelan (Roussel, 70 mins), Keane
Subs: Normann, Strachan, Ogrizovic (gk)
GOALS: Whelan (58 mins, header), Llewellyn (66 mins,
deflected shot), Rousssel (77 mins, low shot), Eustace (84 mins, left foot shot)
REFEREE: Paul Alcock (Kent)
Norwich - Jackson (46 mins, foul), Roberts (52 mins, foul); De Blasiis (90 mins, foul)
Coventry Chippo (8 mins, foul), Breen (20 mins, foul), McAllister (90 mins, foul)
COVENTRY MAN OF THE MATCH: Gary Breen defensive rock