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Coventry City (0) 0
West Ham United (2) 3

Coventry slump to 17th in the table after another poor home performance against lowly West Ham.


30 min Zuniga sneaks in on the blind side but shoots over
36 min Hedman saves well from Cole
38 min Di Canio takes advantage of a Shaw mistake to score
40 min Cole scores from a narrow angle
47 min Pearceís free kick is pushed round the post by Hedman
54 min Zunigaís low cross is scrambled away by Hislop
69 min Kanoute sets up Lampard for an easy third
86 min Hadji hits the post from a free kick

FAN'S REPORT by David Beidas

Oh God. This was the worst display I've seen from City for some time - perhaps that terrible night at Luton a couple of years ago. They were well beaten and loudly booed from the pitch at the end of the game.

An unseasonally warm and sunny September afternoon and another crowd of 20,000 at Highfield Road. As ever, the Hammers fans were loud and vocal before the game.

City lined up 4-4-2 (no surprise there then): Magnus Hedman in goal, back four of Edworthy, Shaw, Williams and Marcus Hall; midfield of Thomson, Chippo, Palmer and Hadji; Bellamy and Zuniga up front.

Despite the stories during the week, Paolo di Canio, City's nemesis, was partnering Kanoute up front for West Ham (who were wearing an all black strip). Ref was Neale Barry.

The first half hour was an appallingly scrappy affair, with neither side looking like scoring. The bulk of the game was played in midfield with neither side able to retain possession.

City were very disjointed, kept on giving the ball away and didn't really seem to be putting an awful lot of effort into the game. Too many players were anonymous.

Long balls to the strikers were a waste of time, the West Ham defenders all towering over our diminutive strike force. Players dwelt too long on the ball and weren't quick enough in moving forward.

Not that West Ham were much better, neither keeper had much to do apart from gather back passes.

Rio Ferdinand had to come off after about quarter of an hour, to be replaced by Michael Carrick. Di Canio went down in our area somewhat theatrically to loud boos from the City fans and continued his acting with his expressions of disbelief that he hadn't been given a penalty.

Matters changed when West Ham went ahead. They had made a move down the left and the ball came into our area. The defence seemed to have it covered, the ball came to Shaw in a central position about twelve yards out in a bit of space.

Very easy to clear it, instead he managed to gift it to Di Canio about four yards in front of him. Di Canio simply ran past Shaw and slotted the ball past Hedman.

Di Canio was instrumental in their second goal a few minutes later, when he ran into the area from the left, got to the by-line just by the goalpost and lifted a cross just beyond the far post.

Cole waited for the ball to drop and despite both Hall and Willo trying to block, evaded their attentions and thumped the ball home.

City were in complete disarray now and went to pieces. No-one looked confident on the ball, there was too much dithering, Thomson was all over the pitch except where he should have been, and we couldn't string more than two passes together. There was no fight and a now rampant West Ham were all over us.

Magnus had to pull off a great diving save from a Lampard shot to stop us going three down.

We had only one attempt on goal in the entire half, when we won a free kick outside their area, Hadji floated the ball over, but whoever got a head to it sent it well over the bar. No wonder there were boos at half time.

Thomson didn't come out for the second half and was replaced by Eustace.

City started brighter and began to push forward, showing at least some desire to get back in the game. Eustace was often at the heart of these moves, working down the right with Hadji and Edworthy.

Bellamy was getting more involved and his pace caused some problems for the West Ham defence on a couple of occasions.

We had a great chance to pull one back after ten minutes when Zuniga fought his way to the byline by the goalpost, pulled the ball back fiercely, Eustace shot, but the ball hit Hislop right in front of him, came out and was cleared. The keeper knew very little about it.

We continued to press, but the West Ham defence remained equal to everything we could put together and they remained in control of the game.

They were now putting together confident passing moves and looked likely to score every time they broke forward.

And indeed they did, when Kanoute beat Williams, passed into the centre and Lampard hit the ball past Hedman. Game over at that point.

Gordon Strachan sent on Aloisi for Zuniga and later Breen for Marcus Hall. Hall had not had the best of games, Sinclair had the better of him for much of the match and he never looks happy with the ball when he knows he's likely to come off second best. But City were still poor.

West Ham never gave anyone any time on the ball and we kept giving it away. I don't remember any more shots on target.

Winterburn was booked for dissent, the only occasion a card left Mr Barry's pocket.

People started leaving with about fifteen minutes to go and one fan came down the main stand to berate Strachan and was led away by two stewards. He was merely expressing the frustration felt by much of the Sky Blue Army.

There was no cohesion in the side, summed up early in the half in one move on the left where Zuniga was by the touchline pressed by a defender. The Peruvian backheeled to Marcus Hall, only to find the defender was in fact now in front of him.

The team were loudly booed from the pitch at the end and slunk off back to the changing rooms. If anyone from Preston was watching, they'll be fancying their chances on Wednesday. In the meantime, our slide down the table continues.

MATCH FACTS by Jim Brown

Magnus Hedman, Marc Edworthy, Marcus Hall (Gary Breen, 74), Carlton Palmer, Paul Williams, Richard Shaw, David Thompson (John Eustace, 46), Youssef Chippo, Ysrael Zuniga (John Aloisi, 65), Craig Bellamy ,  Moustapha Hadji
Subs not used:
Chris Kirkland, Paul Telfer

Shaka Hislop, Trevor Sinclair (Steve Pott, 78), Nigel Winterburn, Rio Ferdinand (Michael Carrick, 13), Igor Stimac, Stuart Pearce, Frank Lampard, Steve Lomas, Frederic Kanoute (Kaba Diawara, 82), Paolo Di Canio, Joe Cole
Subs not used:
Craig Forrest, Adam Newton

GOALS: Di Canio (38), Cole (40), Lampard (69)

REFEREE: N Barry (Lincolnshire)

Coventry - none
West Ham -
Winterburn (65, foul on Palmer)


Coventry - 17th
West Ham - 18th

This was only West Hamís second Premier league win at Highfield Road - it was also their biggest ever win in all competitions on the ground.


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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 23 Sep 00
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