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[09 SEP 00] COVENTRY CITY MATCH REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Coventry City (0) 0
Leeds United (0) 0

Coventry managed their first home point of the season with a scruffy draw against Leeds.

KEY EVENTS

12 min Hadji's overhead kick is just wide
22 min Hedman tips over Bridges fierce shot
36 min Dacourt's 25-yarder is inches wide
40 min Roussel's near post header is inches wide
42 min Bridges lobs into the side netting
63 min McPhail's shot is just over the bar
78 min Bridges narrowly wide from a corner
79 min Eustace blasts City's best chance over the bar from a few yards out

FAN'S REPORT by David Beidas

Games with Leeds invariably end up with either a hatful of goals or none at all - this was one of the latter.

The result was a fair one after a game played at a fairly frantic pace with neither side creating very much in the way of chances. Still, it was a good solid performance from City, who were looking to pick up their first points at home.

Just over 20,000 at Highfield Road on a warm September afternoon. One change from the side that started against Newcastle, with Hadji on from the start in place of Eustace: Hedman in goal; back four of Edworthy,
Shaw, Williams and Hall (rumours of an appearance by the Wraith of Norway - Runaar Normann proved unfounded); midfield of Telfer, Chippo, Palmer and Hadji; Roussel and Bellamy up front. The ref was Paul Durkin, immortalised earlier on Soccer AM as Mr Gherkin.

Leeds charged on the attack from kick off, but we were pretty soon charging down their end too.

And so it followed for pretty much 90 minutes, with the defenders on the whole enjoying the better of the play.

Williams and Shaw had the measure of Huckerby and Bridges, while Roussel and Bellamy came off second best against Radebe and Duberry. Roussel wasn't winning as many headers as he normally does.

It was good to have Hadji back, although he tired towards the end of the game and tried to be just a bit too clever on one or two occasions.

Marcus Hall hardly dared set foot over the halfway line, but had a much better game than on Wednesday night. Telfer was playing on the left midfield and both he and Hadji were using the flanks well and getting the ball across.

There were not many incidents to describe. Chippo was booked towards the end of the half for deliberate handball as he tried to catch a ball which was flying over his head.

City were playing well, keeping their shape, tackling hard and playing a passing game. We had one superb move about half an hour in with about fifteen passes, working the ball from the back down the left and then crossing over to the right and working the ball back towards the centre, where space opened up in front of Telfer for a shot from just outside the area. Unfortuantely he pulled it wide - the move deserved a better finish.

Hedman had little to do. Leeds won a couple of freekicks in dangerous positions just outside the area, but they were either off-target or straight at Hedman. Most of their shots were from outside the area and rarely on target.

Hadji had an overhead kick which dropped just wide of their goal and there was a shout for a handball by a Leeds defender after another attack.

Half time and all square.

The second half was pretty much in the same vein as the first, both sides pushing forward but failing to create any clear cut chances.

We were a bit prone to giving the ball away, especially in our own half, and players sometimes just weren't quick enough.

The game got a bit niggly as time went on, although there was only one more yellow card. That was for Alan Smith after a series of spats with City players, including Palmer who got very heated after one tackle.

City players were linking well, Edworthy and Hadji often making space down the right, aided by Roussel. City hardly ever played the long ball, relying instead on short passing movements to open up Leeds a bit.

Bellamy came off to be replaced by Zuniga. The Peruvian's first touch was a great tackle on Huckerby right by our byline in the area to put the ball out for a corner.

Shortly after Zuniga had a great run from the left wing into the centre past two or three Leeds defenders, but couldn't quite slip the ball past the last man to Roussel.

Lee Bowyer came in for a variety of songs from the City crowd, from 'Going Down' to 'Bowyer for Dartmoor' and even 'It's For Life, Son', signs that City's new theme song is making its mark.

Huckerby was replaced by Wilcox and Eustace came on for Telfer, Chippo moving out to wide left. Roussel went down injured, but Hadji continued playing and actually ran the ball into him while he was still lying on the ground.

City looked threatening when they broke, but couldn't get the telling pass or cross in to the centre.

Our best chance came with about ten minutes to go, when we won a corner. Hadji floated the ball over, it was cleared to the edge of the area where Williams headed it back into the danger area, Eustace connected with a volley on the turn about six yards out but the ball flew over the bar - Martyn would not have seen it if it had been on target.

Three minutes of injury time and it was all over. City couldn't be faulted for effort and commitment; both sides just lacked that little bit of magic to break the deadlock.

Still, a point's a point.

MATCH FACTS by Jim Brown

COVENTRY:
Magnus Hedman, Marc Edworthy, Marcus Hall, Carlton Palmer, Paul Williams, Richard Shaw, Moustapha Hadji, Youssef Chippo, Cedric Roussel, Craig Bellamy (Ysrael Zuniga, 65), Paul Telfer (John Eustace, 71)
Subs not used:
Chris Kirkland, Runar Normann , Gary Breen

LEEDS:
Nigel Martyn, Gary Kelly, Ian Harte, Olivier Dacourt, Lucas Radebe, Michael Duberry, Lee Bowyer, Stephen McPhail, Michael Bridges, Alan Smith, Darren Huckerby (Jason Wilcox, 72)
Subs not used:
Paul Robinson, Danny Mills, Danny Hay, Matthew Jones

REFEREE: Paul Durkin (Dorset)

BOOKINGS:  [CHECK CITY BOOKINGS FOR THE SEASON TO DATE]
Coventry - Shaw (19, foul on Huckerby), Chippo (45, deliberate handball)
Leeds -
Bowyer (54, late tackle on Chippo), Smith (90, off the ball incident)

ATTENDANCE: 20,377

LEAGUE POSITIONS AFTER THIS MATCH:
Coventry - 9th
Leeds - 6th

INTERESTING FACTS:
City avoid three straight home defeats at the start of the season - the last time they did lose the first three games at home was 1919. Hadji captains the Sky Blues for the first time.
    

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 9 Sep 00
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