|[06 MAY 00] COVENTRY CITY MATCH REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Coventry City (1) 4
Sheffield Wednesday (0) 1
BY ADAM DENT
The Sky Blues gave veteran keeper Steve Ogrizovic
the perfect send off as they ended their home campaign in considerable style.
The 42-year-old keeper was making his final
appearance after 16 years at the club but was given little to occupy his time save taking
the supporters applause.
And how they gave it. Oggy, who was given a standing
ovation before, during and after the game, embarked on an emotional lap of honour before
being applauded from the field by his team mates.
For Coventry the day was all about the loyal keeper, but
the visitors had more serious things to occupy them. Their lack-lustre performance left
them hanging on to their Premiership status by the thinnest of threads one which
looks certain to be severed at Highbury on Tuesday.
For a side still with a chance of escaping the relegation
mire, they showed little appetite for the fight and got what they deserved.
From the first minute, Coventry put them under pressure
when Robbie Keane was put through but fired into the side netting when squaring the ball
would have been a better option.
Moustapha Hadji enjoyed a highly influential first half. He
managed five shots at goal and but for Kevin Pressman in the Wednesday goal would
undoubtedly have finished on the score sheet before the interval.
Ysrael Zuniga, given a rare start by Gordon Strachan, also
played a considerable part, setting up several good chances and almost forcing Pressman
into an embarrassing slip when he charged down the keepers clearance.
A goal simply had to come, and it was man of
the match McAllister who eventually broke the deadlock when he side-footed home after
Zuniga teed him up.
Wednesday had got off lightly considering the balance of
play and that should have given them inspiration for the second half. Instead they merely
Hadji went close almost straight from the re-start when he
curled a free kick just wide, and then McAllister hit the bar with a fiercely struck free
kick after 54 minutes. The ball bounced down on to the line and was cleared.
He struck woodwork again 14 minutes later but on that
occasion, Zuniga was there for follow in and ram home his second goal in English football.
That killed off any Wednesday resistance and City were able
to play at will. They commanded the midfield, used their wide players well and created
several clear-cut chances.
McAllister notched his 13th goal of the season
after 70 minutes when Hadji unselfishly squared the ball to him 18 yards from goal before
the pony-tailed Moroccan finally got on the scoresheet, ramming home a firm shot after
Pressman had again denied Zuniga.
Wednesday did manage to pull back a consolation goal a
minute later when Gilles de Bilde beat the offside trap to score but it was too little,
Citys home form has been outstanding through the
season but they still have to break that away bogie. If they manage to do that at Watford
it would complete a very satisfactory final week to a mixed season.
Ogrizovic, Breen, Shaw, Williams, Telfer, Hadji, Chippo (Eustace, 87 mins), McAllister,
Whelan, Zuniga, Keane
Subs not used: Hedman, Normann, McPhee, Pead
Pressman, Nolan, Atherton, Walker (Haslam, 53 mins), Hinchcliffe, Alexandersson (Sibon, 61
mins), Horne (Sonner, 67 mins), Jonk, Quinn, Booth, De Bilde
Subs not used: Cresswell, Srnicek
Coventry - McAllister (39, 70 mins), Zuniga (68 mins), Hadji (80 mins)
Sheffield - De Bilde (81 mins)
REFEREE: Steve Bennett (Orpington)
Coventry - Chippo (foul, 17 mins)
Sheffield - Jonk (foul, 65 mins), Atherton (foul, 71 mins)
COVENTRY MAN OF THE MATCH: Gary McAllister highly