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[14 OCT 00] COVENTRY CITY MATCH REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Coventry City (2) 2
Tottenham Hotspur (0) 1

City clinched their first home league victory of the season with first half goals from Aloisi and Eustace. After Spurs pulled one back early in the second half and Carlton Palmer had been sent off for violent conduct Coventry hung on for a tense final 20 minutes.

KEY EVENTS

12 min Aloisi scores for City with a great 20 yard left foot shot
26 min Eustace makes it 2-0 with a knock-in from a Bellamy pass
53 min Rebrov pulls one back for Spurs
71 min Carlton Palmer sent off for violent conduct

FAN'S REPORT by David Beidas

City chalked up their first home win with a much improved performance.

It was a game of two halves, though, City having much the better of the first 45 minutes and then coming under the cosh in the second half, especially when reduced to ten men.

City lined up 4-4-2 as usual. Chris Kirkland made his first Premiership appearance in goal. Back four of Edworthy, Breen, Shaw and Telfer; midfield of Hadji on the left, Chippo and Palmer in the middle, Eustace on the right; and Bellamy and Aloisi up front. Ref was Peter Jones.

Spurs won a corner in the first couple of minutes, but City cleared their lines and the game began to settle. City were clearly up for it, contesting every ball and trying to push Spurs back.

We took an early lead after ten minutes or so when Hadji hit a perfectly flighted long crossfield ball to Aloisi who had taken up a position twenty yards out wide right. He gathered the ball and started to cut inside.

Eustace made a run down the right which took one defender out of the way, Aloisi cut further in and let fly with a beautiful left foot shot from twenty yards out which flew past Walker and into the net.

This settled City and we began to dominate the game, Spurs unable to settle and making a number of mistakes. We were mixing our game a bit, sometimes playing through the centre, sometimes down the wings and sometimes playing long balls over for Bellamy to chase.

Spurs were playing a very physical game, Vega in defence and Ferdinand up front particularly putting themselves about a bit.

The City defence was very assured, Breen having a superb game, as did Telfer - he put in two or three last ditch tackles which prevented the Spurs forwards (Rebrov in particular) from finding scoring positions.

Kirkland looked assured and his kicking was good. He made one good save from an Anderton freekick from just outside the area, the ball kept low and Kirkland went down and although he spilled it, he got to the ball second time.

City looked dangerous every time they pushed forward and we went two up just before the half hour when Bellamy got the ball in the corner of the area and with a neat bit of skill span round the defender.

He started to cut in towards goal and although many forwards would have had a shot, he looked up and slipped a ball to the unmarked Eustace seven yards out from goal and he turned it in easily.

We had more chances to go further ahead. Palmer was played in behind the defence, but his shot turned more into a cross. Hadji fired one from the corner of the area, which Aloisi and Bellamy were millimetres away from getting a toe to, to turn it into the net. A Hadji freekick went over the bar.

Half time and we were comfortably in control.

The second half was a different matter. Spurs came out and attacked and pulled one back within ten minutes. In a tussle with Ferdinand, Shaw slipped, which allowed Ferdinand to take the ball on and feed Rebrov down the left channel.

One-on-one with Kirkland, he fired the ball past him.

Spurs now began to dominate the game, passing and moving well and City were on the back foot. The defence held firm, although we lost control a bit in midfield.

It wasn't all one way though, as Chippo was put through and let fly with a thunderous left foot shot which flew over the bar.

More drama with twenty minutes to go, when City broke out of defence, Hadji picked the ball up, slipped it to Palmer who then returned the ball to Hadji under pressure from Perry.

The latter had clearly done something to Palmer, because as he started to run back, Carlton grabbed him by the shirt and took a kick at him. The ref hadn't seen it and allowed play to continue.

We worked the ball into their area and after a bit of pinball, Aloisi curled a shot just wide of the left post.

The ref ran back to consult his linesman and it was a red card for Palmer, who continued to argue the toss until he was shepherded away by his teammates. Fully deserved really, he was never going to get away with kicking another player. Perry got a yellow.

Down to ten men, Roussel came on to replace Aloisi, who had looked to be suffering a bit of a knock. Bellamy moved to right midfield, Eustace moving more central.

Spurs sent on Iversen to play three up front and City were driven back. From a corner a back header was hurtling towards the net until Kirkland tipped it over the bar at the last second - a great save. He came off his line on several occasions to snatch the ball from the feet of Spurs players.

As Spurs pushed forward though they left gaps at the back and on several occasions City cleared the ball to their own players, who were able to charge towards the Spurs goal.

Roussel was winning a lot in the air and chased down everything.

The game got more heated, Vega was booked. Spurs pulled off Leonhardsen, sending on Dominguez.

Strachan switched Edworthy from left to right to counter his threat and later sent Hendry on for Bellamy.

Spurs sent a cross over, three players jumped up with Kirkland and the ball ended up in the net, but the ref blew for a foul.

Spurs threw everyone forward. In the last minute a cross from Anderton caught the defence out of position and a Spurs player headed the ball against the bar and over.

Whistles were coming from every quarter of Highfield Road and finally Peter Jones blew to give City the three points.

Well, a tense thriller of a match (especially the last twenty minutes) but it was a good home performance and while our disciplinary record may give cause for concern, the football is certainly improving.

MATCH FACTS by Jim Brown

COVENTRY:
Chris Kirkland, Marc Edworthy, Paul Telfer, Carlton Palmer, Gary Breen, Richard Shaw, John Eustace, Youssef Chippo, John Aloisi (Cedric Roussel 73), Craig Bellamy (Colin Hendry 82), Moustapha Hadji
Subs not used:
Gary Montgomery, Ysrael Zuniga, Barry Quinn

TOTTENHAM:
Ian Walker, Stephen Carr, Ben Thatcher, Steffen Freund (Steffen Iversen 76), Chris Perry, Ramon Vega, Darren Anderton, Tim Sherwood, Les Ferdinand, Sergei Rebrov, Oyvind Leonhardsen (Jose Dominguez 83)
Subs not used:
Hans Segers, Stephen Clemence, Alton Thelwell

GOALS:
Coventry - Aloisi (12) Eustace (26)
Tottenham - Rebrov (53)

REFEREE: P Jones (Loughborough)

BOOKINGS:  [CHECK CITY BOOKINGS FOR THE SEASON TO DATE]
Coventry - none
Tottenham -
Carr (49), Vega (56), Perry (71)

SENDING OFF:  [CHECK CITY BOOKINGS FOR THE SEASON TO DATE]
Coventry -
Palmer (71, for kicking Perry)

ATTENDANCE: 21,435

LEAGUE POSITIONS AFTER THIS MATCH:
Coventry - 13th
Tottenham - 11th

INTERESTING FACTS:
Kirkland's debut and first home win of the season.

    

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 14 Oct 00
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