The Sky Blues will be happy with an away point, but
Steve Froggatt knows he should have earned his side their first away victory of the
The left back who lives down the road from Pride Park at Lichfield had the chance of
the match in the 73rd minute, but his effort cannoned off the post.
A goal at that stage would have finished Derby County whose fans were catcalling and
ridiculing their efforts to break down a solid looking Sky Blues defence.
In all it was a fine effort by Gordon Strachans much-weakened team. The purists
had much to complain about, but this was never going to be a match for them.
Coventry had eight first team players missing, including three of their much vaunted
four man midfield, but one thing Strachans current teams do display is resilience.
He made one change from the side that beat Wimbledon the previous week, bringing in his
son Gavin for the suspended Carlton Palmer.
The youngster could never bring Palmers combative edge to the midfield area, but
he showed he could pass the ball and played a full part before being substituted by the
young Irishman Barry Quinn after 76 minutes.
John Eustace, the highly promising reserve midfielder, played his second successive
game out of position wide on the right and he did nothing to tarnish his growing
reputation. In fact two of the three half chances of a scrappy first half were created by
In the 17th minute Frogatt crossed from the left touchline and Cedric
Roussel athletically struck a first time volley, but Derbys goalkeeper Mart Poom
flew across his goal to pull out a save.
Then near half time Eustace tricked his way past Seth Johnson and crossed perfectly
into the goalmouth only for the strikers to be queueing at the far post, too far from the
A couple of minutes later Roussel was slow to read the situation so that he was a yard
off the pace when the youngster knocked in a clever ball to the near post.
Derbys only worthwhile chance of the first half fell to their striker Deon Burton
after 25 minutes. Branko Strupar played the ball upfield, Craig Burley chested it down and
television replays showed that Burton was clearly offside.
But he was allowed to run on and justice was done when he crashed his shot against the
The second half was much more of a match with most of the chances falling to Coventry.
The best was when Froggatt joined the attack in the 73rd minute. Eustace made a
tigerish challenge in the penalty area and the ball broke for Froggatt.
The defence hesitated, believing that he was offside, but again the flag stayed down.
Froggatt swivelled on the spot and flashed in a left foot volley, but to his dismay the
ball came back off the upright with the goalkeeper rooted on his line.
Before then however the left back, who is trying his hardest to force himself into
Kevin Keegans next England squad, frequently joined in the attacks but often was let
down by his final ball into the goalmouth.
Most of the chances were falling at the Derby end, but the Sky Blues could not make the
final pass tell. They had one last chance in stoppage time when Robbie Keane was bowled
over on the edge of the area, but free-kick expert Gary McAllister fired his shot over the
Strachan was in joking mood in the after match media exchanges. When he was asked if
goalkeeper Magnus Hedman had touched Burtons first half shot against the crossbar he
"He is claiming that he did, but we are talking about his contract just now and he
is claiming everything."
And when a journalist asked when the two Peruvian signings would be joining the club,
he grinned and said:
"I have no idea. The chairman deals with high altitude signings."
On a more serious note the City manager said:
"Our young players are doing well. I keep hearing about teams with three or four
players out. We had eight missing today but we dont make too much of it. We just get
on with it."
Another questioner referred to the fact that Coventry have still not won away from home
but Strachan replied:
"Look at our record. We have only been beaten three times away from home.
"We try to win. We did not come here with four centre backs and only one striker.
We had players running into attacking positions from all over the pitch."