SEP 00] COVENTRY CITY MATCH
REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Charlton Athletic (0) 2
Coventry City (1) 2
City failed to take the three points after
a lapse in concentration let Charlton equalise in the final
||Eustace shoots wide
||Bellamy beats Kiely to the ball but is forced
||Chippo’s shot is tipped round the post by Kiely
||Aloisi stabs in from close rang
||Bellamy misses a great chance by shooting
straight at Kiely
||Hunt heads home after Johannson hits the bar
||Hedman saves Rufus’ header
||Rufus handles for the penalty
||Eustace shoots straight at Kiely after Roussel’s
||Hedman tips over in goalmouth melee
||Johansson scores after City fail to clear
REPORT by Chris Sampson
Two points lost rather than a
point gained as a late equaliser robbed City of the win they
It was a fine autumn day and a
sell-out crowd at the Valley.
Magnus Hedman had recovered from
the knock he picked up on Wednesday, but Hadji was a surprising
absentee, presumably injured as he wasn't on the bench.
Eustace continued in midfield,
Telfer came in for Hadji, Aloisi and Bellamy were up front.
Roussel was back from injury and on the bench.
City settled the better of the
two teams, with the likes of Chippo and Eustace quickly gaining
superiority in midfield. We had the best of the possession early
on, winning a few corners, but without creating any chances.
Tenacious midfield tackling (we
are apparently the #1 in the OPTA tackling ratings), with Chippo
at his absolute best, blunted Charlton's attacks before they
even got going and after 20 minutes the Charlton fans were
silent while the Sky Blues fans were noisily belting out the Sky
In possession, as we settled and
gained confidence, we were trying to play through the midfield
and full backs rather than relying on hopeful punts forward, and
looked better for it.
Our first significant attack came
after about 20 minutes when a beautiful ball got Bellamy in
behind the Charlton defence. He went past the keeper, who did
just enough to push Bellamy wide and the cross was cleared for a
Chippo then nearly gave us the
lead, bursting in from the left flank and hitting a screamer
from 30 yards that was heading for the top corner until the
Charlton keeper, at full stretch, tipped it over for a corner.
The referee, who had an appalling
first half, then started upsetting our rhythm by giving Charlton
a series of dubious free kicks and letting the Charlton defence
get away with pushes and mis-timed tackles.
Still it was City on top and we
took the lead 5 minutes before half time.
It was a scrappy goal, City built
on the left, worked the ball in towards Aloisi who, with
defenders sprawling on the ground, got a toe to the ball and
just about nudged it into the net. A strikers' goal - five yards
out, not pretty, but this is what City have been lacking.
Bellamy almost added a second
straight after but hit a weak shot straight at the keeper.
Half time, 1 up and City well on
Charlton, who were in the top 5
at the start of play, hadn't threatened and City looked capable
of getting in behind their defence and extending the lead.
Early in the second half, Hedman
made a fine save with his feet to prevent an equaliser - his
first real save of the game.
It was difficult to see where an
equaliser would come from, but on the hour City were hit by a
Bellamy had a fierce shot saved.
The keeper quickly threw out to the right full back, a through
ball was met by Johansson who was in on goal.
Hedman and Williams were charging
towards the danger but got there too late.
Johansson chipped the ball over
Hedman, hit the bar and the rebound came out to Hunt who had the
easy task of nodding the ball into the empty net, with Hedman's
despairing lunge coming just too late.
To our credit, City gathered
themselves and continued to run the game.
Excellent work on the right by
Telfer won a corner, which he floated towards the box. There was
a clear handball from Richard Rufus, who was booked for his
trouble, and the ref - thankfully having a better second half -
pointed to the spot.
Craig Bellamy took the kick and
smashed it past the keeper and into the net to huge roars of
approval from the City fans. 2-1.
The game opened up in the last 20
minutes. Aloisi was tiring, and was replaced by Roussel.
Charlton brought on former City player John Salako, of all
people, who caused no problems whatsoever.
City had a number of chances to
add a third - an excellent Chippo cross from the left was met by
a thunderous volley by Eustace from 3 yards which looked a
certain goal until the keeper made a stunning block.
Carlton Palmer had a strong drive
from a tight angle fly past the far post. Willaims, charging in
at top speed, did well to get on the end of a dipping, curling
cross, but the shot flew over the bar when it could have gone
Eustace was dominant in the
middle of the park - in one super move a neat turn left two
Charlton payers for dead.
At the other end Hedman did well
to tip over a header, but with the clock ticking down, the three
points looked in the bag.
The equaliser came on 87 minutes.
The defence only half-cleared the
ball. A cross came in from the right, but it looked harmless
until a shot came in from Johansson and beat Hedman's dive to
A real sickener - it had looked
like we had the game under control with Charlton unable to put
us under continuous pressure. But twice we conceded goals when
there shouldn't have been any real danger.
Four minutes of injury time
passed without further incident, and the teams went off at the
end to applause from both sets of fans, for it had been an
This was the best I've seen us
play this season, we looked confident and capable of scoring
goals. We bossed the midfield, with Chippo - particularly in the
first half - outstanding.
Up front Aloisi's eye for goal
looks a useful addition, and Bellamy's pace was put to good use,
though he needs to improve his finishing.
The defence is the worry, and I'm
at a loss to say who or what is wrong there - perhaps Breen in
Calls for Strachan's head are way
off the mark. It's not his fault we lost Keane and MacAllister
in the summer. It's not his fault that our two first choice
full-backs copped long term injuries and our best remaining
player - Hadji - has been struggling with a groin strain.
I also think the man is poorly
served by his advisors. Today the side had a good feel to it.
Eustace is the key to replacing McAllister, we look much better
with him in there.
Despite the disappointment, an
improved and promising performance.
FACTS by Jim Brown
Dean Kiely; Paul Konchesky (Greg Shields 78),
Chris Powell, Mark Kinsella, Richard Rufus, Steve Brown, Graham
Stuart, Claus Jensen, Andy Hunt (Kevin Lisbey 61), Jonatan
Johansson, John Robinson (John Salako 48)
Subs not used: Sasa Ilic, Andy Todd
Magnus Hedman; Marc Edworthy, Marcus Hall,
Carlton Palmer, Paul Williams, Richard Shaw, Paul Telfer, John
Eustace, John Aloisi (Cedric Roussel 76), Craig Bellamy, Youssef
Subs not used: Morten Hyldgaard, Gary Breen, Barry Quinn,
Charlton - Hunt (60), Johansson (88)
Coventry - Aloisi (41), Bellamy (71 pen)
REFEREE: R Styles (Hampshire)
CITY BOOKINGS FOR THE SEASON TO DATE]
Charlton - Rufus (70, handball)
Coventry - Chippo (39, foul on Stuart), Bellamy (74, late
LEAGUE POSITIONS AFTER THIS
Charlton - 7th
Coventry - 16th
City have not lost at Charlton in six visits