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Adam Dent[05 MAR 00] COVENTRY CITY MATCH REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Leeds United (2) 3
Coventry City (0) 0
BY ADAM DENT

Leeds exploded another bomb under Coventry’s season to leave their manager Gordon Strachan fuming: "It was a waste of time coming."

It was Coventry’s 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 way.

"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.

Coventry’s 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 Bowyer’s 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 Eustace’s 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 beat Hedman.

Coventry will have Moustapha Hadji back from his one match suspension for Saturday’s 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 side.

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LEEDS UNITED:
Martyn; Kelly, Woodgate (Haaland, 45 mins), Radebe, Harte; Bowley (Jones, 88 mins), Bakke, McPhail, Wilcox; Bridges (Huckerby, 80 mins), Kewell
Subs: Robinson, Smith

COVENTRY:
Hedman; Quinn (Shaw, 45 mins), Breen, Hendry, Burrows; Whelan, Eustace, McAllister, Chippo, Roussel, Zuniga (Normann, 60 mins)
Subs: Hyldgaard, Konjic, Pead

GOALS:
Leeds United – Kewell (4 mins), Bridges (41 mins), Wilcox (85 mins)

REFEREE: Jeff Winter (Cleveland)

BOOKINGS: none

ATTENDANCE: 38,710

COVENTRY MAN OF THE MATCH:
Eustace – he improves with every match
    

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 5 Mar 00

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