|[05 MAR 00] COVENTRY CITY MATCH REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Leeds United (2) 3
Coventry City (0) 0
BY ADAM DENT
Leeds exploded another bomb under Coventrys
season to leave their manager Gordon Strachan fuming: "It was a waste of time
It was Coventrys fifth defeat in the last six matches during which they have
conceded fourteen goals. From looking upwards to a place in Europe next season, Coventry
are now anxiously peering over their shoulders at the relegation zone.
Strachan said gloomily:
"It is well documented that we are short of a lot of players through injuries but
I expect more from any team I put out.
"I am very disappointed at our performance and I hope the players feel the same
"Teams with lesser ability than ourselves have come here to Elland Road and done
better than this.
"It was a total waste of time. It was as if there was a script and we just came
along to play along with it and then go home.
"A lot of my players were left wanting and I have to go into the same category.
When they play great I am a great manager, when they play bad I am a bad manager."
Because of his ever-growing injury list Strachan gave debuts to new signings Colin
Hendry and Ysrael Zuniga. They must have wondered what they had walked into.
Hendry won a championship medal with Blackburn Rovers, but now he could find himself in
a relegation dogfight. Zuniga, in the side because of injury to Robbie Keane, had a
thankless task against a totally dominant Leeds defence which picked off the predictable
high balls aimed for Cedric Roussel.
Coventrys defence was up against it right from the first whistle. The last thing
they needed was to concede an early goal, but sure enough it came after just 120 seconds.
Leeds won a free kick on the edge of the Coventry area. Ian Harte rolled the ball
sideways to Harry Kewell and the Australian cracked a low shot past Magnus Hedman into the
corner of the net.
Coventry contributed to their downfall by some sloppy passing, but Zuniga had the
occasional moment. He fired a right foot shot wide and then appealed in vain for a penalty
when he tumbled over Ian Bowyers legs.
But all the huff and puff led to nothing and four minutes before half time the match
was effectively sewn up when Leeds increased their lead.
Kewell this time set up the chance with a slide rule pass to Michael Bridges who coolly
took the ball around Hedman before knocking it into the empty net.
Leeds appeared to ease off in the second half and John Eustaces effort was
blocked by the home goalkeeper Nigel Martyn, but when the young midfielder headed the ball
on to Noel Whelan, his overhead kick was wide of the target.
Then fifteen minutes from time Whelan bundled the ball past Martyn, only to stare in
disbelief as the goalkeeper reacted to smother the ball on the line.
Five minutes from time former Coventry player Darren Huckerby played his part in
Leeds third goal. He combined with Kewell to send in winger Jason Wilcox whose shot
Coventry will have Moustapha Hadji back from his one match suspension for
Saturdays match at Aston Villa, but they must hope that Keane, Steve Froggatt,
Carlton Palmer and Tomas Gustafsson will all be back from injuries to bolster the fading
Martyn; Kelly, Woodgate (Haaland, 45 mins), Radebe, Harte; Bowley (Jones, 88 mins), Bakke,
McPhail, Wilcox; Bridges (Huckerby, 80 mins), Kewell
Subs: Robinson, Smith
Hedman; Quinn (Shaw, 45 mins), Breen, Hendry, Burrows; Whelan, Eustace, McAllister,
Chippo, Roussel, Zuniga (Normann, 60 mins)
Subs: Hyldgaard, Konjic, Pead
Leeds United Kewell (4 mins), Bridges (41 mins), Wilcox (85 mins)
REFEREE: Jeff Winter (Cleveland)
COVENTRY MAN OF THE MATCH:
Eustace he improves with every match