NOV 00] COVENTRY CITY MATCH
REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Coventry City (0) 1
Aston Villa (1) 1
City at last broke their pointless five
match run with a scraped draw after hero turned villain Dion
Dublin put Villa ahead in the 8th minute.
shoots narrowly wide.
||Dublin scores from close
range after Williams' mistake lets Taylor get his cross
||Konjic's powerful header from Thompson's teasing
cross scrapes the post.
||Thompson shoots narrowly wide.
blasts home a left foot shot after Aloisi's flick on.
||City clear Villa's 8 yard free-kick after
Kirkland picks up a backpass.
by David Beidas
A tremendous downpour around
1.30pm meant a pitch inspection, but the game went ahead.
Highfield Road was nearly full
again and as usual for a game against Villa, had a charged
Gordon Strachan sent out the same
side that lost to Ipswich, with the exception of Bellamy who was
relegated to the bench and replaced by Zuniga.
The line-up was Kirkland in goal,
back four of Breen, Konjic, Williams and Edworthy, midfield of
Hadji, Telfer, Chippo and Thompson, and Roussel
and Zuniga up front. Jeff Winter was the ref.
No more 'It's for Life, Son';
instead we got a rousing classical piece of music (which I
didn't recognise) followed by 'While the Sky is Blue'.
The game started frantically and
City had the first effort on goal with Hadji shooting from the
edge of the area, just wide. It was Villa who went ahead after
only eight minutes or so, when a ball was played from the back
over the top, Taylor sold Williams a dummy and was left clear to
run down towards the byline and then cross for (inevitably) Dion
Dublin to score his first goal in ages by sidefooting the ball
City went to pieces for a spell,
Merson particularly causing all sorts of problems as Villa
pressed for a second.
City were poor, unable to keep
the ball, giving it away frequently and no-one able to hold it
up. Distribution was terrible, especially from Williams, who has
lost all confidence on the ball.
Mo Konjic was having a good game
and soon began to master Dublin, not giving him much space and
challenging for everything in the air.
Despite their possession, Villa
were unable to make it count and there were few efforts on goal.
Gradually City began to settle
and find their way back into the game.
Thompson was booked for diving,
after a challenge from Wright. Hadji had another shot, but far
too soft this time and David James had no problem picking the
ball up. Roussel was winning a few balls in the air, but we were
unable to capitalise on them. Telfer was taking long throw-ins
when level with the 18 yard box, which we haven't seen for a
We had another real chance on the
half hour mark when Thompson won a free kick just inside their
half. Lee Hendrie was less than ten yards when the ball was
kicked, so another was awarded nearer the area (I thought this
was an automatic booking these days, but the ref kept his cards
in his pocket). Thompson took it again and sent a lovely ball
across the six yard box which Mo got his head to, but the ball
went inches wide with James beaten.
Gradually we were putting some
good moves together. James, under no pressure, sliced a backpass
from his defence out for a throw-in. Zuniga twisted and turned
and had a shot at goal.
Villa had a couple of
opportunities, mainly driven by Merson, who had one shot
straight at Kirkland, but they were no longer dominating the
Barry was booked after flooring
Thompson when he had beaten the Villa
player and was heading for the area.
We continued to press and won a
couple of corners late in the half, but were unable to take
advantage of them.
Strachan replaced Chippo and
Roussel with Eustace and Aloisi at the start of the second half.
The former had looked tired and made a number of mistakes, while
the latter is still a bit off the pace.
City started to put some good
moves together as the game became a bit more open. Gary Breen
was playing well as right back, although sometimes as Thompson
went wandering he had no-one in front of him. Williams still
looked shaky - and delivered a couple of free kicks into empty
space for no apparent reason - while Mo was looking steadier and
Down the left, City lacked a
player who could take men on; Edworthy always looks for the pass
and there wasn't always any support for him.
Williams was caught ball-watching
after we won a corner which James collected and threw out to
Merson, who was already yards away from his supposed marker. He
ran to the byline and pulled it back, fortunately a bit behind
Hendry, who blazed over the bar.
Then it was our turn when
Thompson ran down the right and shot into the side netting.
City were getting into their
stride and Villa looked shaky at times, though they still had
their moments. Dion shot right over the roof of the East Stand
to huge cheers. Edworthy made a last ditch tackle when Merson
was through on the keeper.
Taylor went off injured. Strachan
sent on Palmer for Zuniga, Hadji moving up front.
Within minutes, Palmer was
involved in a fracas in their box, though the ref didn't show
City were now pushing forward
with the crowd behind them - the Villa fans who had been vocal
and taunting through the first half were now silent.
Boateng was booked after going
down in the area and then arguing the toss with Gary Breen.
After we won a corner, the ball
came out to Williams who fired high into the Family Stand.
Mo went down injured in the box;
play continued and he staggered to his feet and limped to the
edge of the area to avoid playing anyone onside - what a bloke.
He seemed to recover though.
Finally with eight minutes to go
we got the equaliser when the ball was flicked on in the box
through to Hadji on the left and he fired a shot past James for
a much deserved equaliser.
City didn't give up and continued
to press, although there were no more real chances.
In injury time, Boateng burst
through into the area and Thompson went diving in to push the
ball towards Kirkland, who picked the ball up. Indirect free
kick for a back pass, although the ref couldn't decide where the
kick should be taken and eventually settled on eight yards out.
City's wall did the job and
Wright's shot bounced off someone and out for a throw. That was
virtually the last kick of the game.
The performance was about the
same as Monday night against Ipswich, but City didn't give up
and in the end finally deserved at least a point.
Fortunately other results went
our way, so we've got to keep going from here and start climbing
out of trouble. Perhaps the team will have a bit more belief in
themselves now. They worked hard all game and did well to
salvage a point. Our problem continues to be scoring.
Apparently there were sightings
of Bryan Richardson and Venables at Ryton this week. What that
betokens, heaven only knows, although I gather he was also seen
at Middlesbrough today.
FACTS by Jim Brown
Chris Kirkland: Gary Breen, Marc Edworthy, Paul Telfer, Paul
Williams, Mo Konjic, David Thompson, Youssef Chippo (John
Eustace 46), Cedric Roussel (John Aloisi 46), Ysrael Zuniga
(Carlton Palmer 72), Moustapha Hadji
Subs not used: Alan Miller,
David James: Steve Stone, Alan Wright, Alpay, Gareth Southgate,
Gareth Barry, Ian Taylor (Mark Delaney 60), George Boateng, Dion
Dublin, Paul Merson, Lee Hendrie
Subs not used: Peter
Enckelman, David Ginola, Gilles De Bilde, Hitzlsperger
Coventry - Hadji (83)
Aston Villla - Dublin (8)
CITY BOOKINGS FOR THE SEASON TO DATE]
Thompson (22, diving)
Aston Villla - Barry
(43, foul on Thompson), Boateng (89, diving)
LEAGUE POSITIONS AFTER THIS
Coventry - 17th
Aston Villa - 6th
first point for six games. First time this season that City have
come from behind to get a point.