NOV 00] COVENTRY CITY MATCH
REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Coventry City (0) 1
Manchester United (2) 2
In front of a surprisingly under-capacity
crowd Coventry duly handed over the three points to United but
did make a fight of it in the second half.
scores from close range after a flowing move from
||Kirkland canít stop
Beckhamís free-kick from creeping in.
||Coleís goalbound shot deflected wide by Breen.
||Beckhamís free kick inches wide.
steers in Breen's header from a Telfer corner to pull
one back for City.
||Kirkland tips Keaneís shot round the post.
||Yorke hits the inside of the post with a fierce
by David Beidas
Predictably the Reds left
Highfield Road with the three points.
From the first half it seemed
that City were quite happy to present them on a plate, but then
made them fight for it after a much more competitive second
Highfield Road not full for a Man
Utd game for once: just over 21,000, with empty seats in the
Once again WGS ventured with
3-5-2: Kirkland was in goal, Breen, Shaw and Williams as the
defence, Edworthy and Guerrero as wing backs, Quinn, Chippo and
Thomson in central midfield and Hadji and (surprise) Bothroyd up
Bothroyd was perhaps only there
to raise the average height of the team to above five foot six.
Both sides won corners in the
opening few minutes: City were nearly caught napping by a short
corner and then their own was badly delivered by Thomson.
Then the game settled, dominated
by Man Utd with swift and accurate passing, City rarely seeming
to challenge for the ball. We were defending deep and giving
them far too much respect and room.
City wasn't helped by a ref
(Graham Poll) who seemed to favour United at every turn, giving
them free kick after free kick just outside our area while
ignoring any challenge where a Sky Blue player went down.
Beckham sent the ball just wide
from one of those free kicks.
ANOTHER UNITED SHOT
GOES JUST WIDE
For all their domination (and we
really were outclassed for 20 minutes), Kirkland didn't have a
save to make and chances were rare.
And then City began to play a bit
and we saw a couple of excellent moves, one working the ball
downfield with four or five first touch passes involving Hadji,
Thomson and Edworthy.
For all that though we were
struggling to get the ball in their area, although Hadji had one
shot from the edge of the area which Barthez comfortably saved.
The French keeper thought nothing
of wandering down to the halfway line for a chat with a defender
when Man Utd were preparing to take a corner.
The United defence didn't look
entirely comfortable and there were a couple of occasions when
crosses went right through their area, defenders leaving the
ball for each other, but we had no-one running in to fire a
Just as we were beginning to pick
up some confidence, we went behind, when the ball was quickly
cleared from their defence and Beckham went chasing it into
acres of space down the right.
The United midfielder managed to
get to the ball and cross it just before it went out and
although Shaw was covering the near post and was shaping to
clear it, Andy Cole nipped in in front of him and fired the ball
between Kirkland and the post.
We were two down shortly
afterwards when the Reds won yet another free kick twenty yards
out. It wasn't brilliantly taken by Beckham, but went through
the wall and underneath Kirkland into the net.
United resumed their domination
for the remainder of the half. We had hardly had more than two
attempts on goal. Bothroyd wasn't overly impressive - he won a
couple of headers, laid off a couple of balls, but didn't work
hard enough (something which was true of much of the team).
The defence had played well
(apart from the goals), denying Cole and Sheringham space and
limiting their opportunities, but with new players and an
unfamiliar formation, City were not overly convincing.
Half time. Zuniga replaced
Bothroyd at the start of the second half, to give us a bit more
energy up front.
In the second half City began to
show a bit of bite and started to make United work a bit harder,
but they were still on top.
Cole had a couple of chances,
fired one at Kirkland and Breen just nicked the other past the
Fifteen minutes in, Strachan took
off Thomson and Quinn and sent on Eustace and Telfer. Now we
were back in the game and beginning to push forward.
United weren't given so much time
on the ball and were being forced into errors.
We got our reward on the hour,
when Telfer took a corner towards the far post and Breen headed
back towards the near post, where Zuniga diverted the ball into
City were really fired up and
from the kick-off Eustace went charging into Keane who reacted
and there was a lot of pushing and shoving in the centre circle.
EUSTACE AND KEANE
HAVE A DISAGREEMENT
Both Eustace and Keane got a
yellow card, the only ones of the game - although Eustace was
lucky not to get a second and a red later when he went in late
on Keane again.
City continued to press. Hadji
went down just outside the area, although his fall was rather
theatrical and Graham Poll ignored it.
replaced Scholes for United, then Yorke for Sheringham and
United came back strongly, Giggs working down the left
They were also wasting time at
every opportunity, Sheringham walking slowly off the pitch when
subbed, Beckham walking over to take any corners.
Sloppy passing by City allowed
Cole to nick the ball from Shaw on the edge of the area and feed
Yorke, whose shot hit the post and came out.
Telfer got in one superb tackle
to deny Yorke when he was through on goal.
wasn't picked up as City were clearing their lines from a
corner, he fired a pass across the six yard box and Guerrero
somehow managed to scoop it over the bar when an own goal would
have been more likely.
And so it ended. We were never
really in this game, United looking much sharper for the whole
match. I don't suppose many expected us to win and short of some
of our first choice players, the result was no surprise.
And now it's Liverpool away.
FACTS by Jim Brown
Chris Kirkland, Marc Edworthy, Ivan Guerrero, Richard Shaw, Paul
Williams, Gary Breen, David Thompson (Paul Telfer 57), Barry
Quinn (John Eustace 57), Jay Bothroyd (Ysrael Zuniga 46),
Moustapha Hadji, Youssef Chippo
Subs not used: Alan Miller, Colin Hendry
Fabien Barthez, Philip Neville, Dennis Irwin, Roy Keane, Wes
Brown, Gary Neville, David Beckham, Paul Scholes (Ole Gunnar
Solskjaer 51), Andrew Cole, Teddy Sheringham (Dwight Yorke 72),
Subs not used: Raymond Van
der Gouw, Luke Chadwick, Mikael Silvestre
Coventry - Zuniga (65)
Man Utd - Cole (26) Beckham (37)
REFEREE: G Poll (Tring)
CITY BOOKINGS FOR THE SEASON TO DATE]
Eustace (62, foul on Keane)
Man Utd: Keane (62, retaliation)
LEAGUE POSITIONS AFTER THIS
Coventry - 17th
Man Utd - 1st
This was United's 7th win in the last eight visits to Highfield