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Coventry City (1) 1
Leicester City (0) 0

A goal from Craig Bellamy gave Coventry their first Premiership win for eight weeks and lifts the pressure a little on Gordon Strachan.


8 min Hadji's header narrowly wide.
11 min Aloisi close to connecting with Carsley's cross.
15 min Royce saves well from Aloisi's header.
22 min Williams' last ditch tackle robs Akinbiyi.
23 min Eadie shoots into the side netting after Hedman fumbles Akinbiyi's header.
33 min Bellamy shoots over from a good position.
38 min Savage fires over from Izzet's through ball.
39 min Bellamy heads home Telfer's right wing cross.
60 min Elliott heads over from Savage's cross.
85 min Royce tips Hadji's effort around the post.

FAN'S REPORT by David Beidas

Gordon Strachan talked a couple of weeks ago about needing to grind out some results. City duly did so today to chalk up their first victory for a couple of months against a Leicester side who never looked like they deserved to be in the top five of the Premiership.

The team was Hedman returning in goal; back four of Breen, Konjic, Williams and Quinn; midfield of Thompson (though it's always impossible to tell where Thompson is supposed to be playing as he ends up all over the place), Telfer, Carsley and Bellamy; and Hadji and Aloisi up front.

The crowd was the smallest for a league game so far this season, just over 17,000 and another good omen was a return to playing 'While The Sky Is Blue' when the team ran out.

City started well and won a couple of corners in the opening few minutes. They were well delivered by Thompson and Hadji sent a header over the bar from one.

Gradually the game settled into a pattern, with City looking the more enterprising and purposeful. Leicester's defence looked uncertain and we made good use of both flanks, with Breen working forward well with Thompson down the right and Bellamy and Quinn linking up on the left.

In the centre of midfield, Telfer was having a bit of an off day early on, with some passes going astray and failing to close people down, while Carsley made an assured debut, tough in the tackle, calm on the ball and some good passes to keep City moving forward.

The defence looked solid, Williams and Konjic keeping Eadie and Akinbiyi under control. Konjic was winning most of the high balls, despite Akinbiyi often thinking he was a wrestler rather than a footballer.

Hadji and Aloisi were working well up front, the Moroccan showing skill and vision while Aloisi was holding the ball up well when cleared from defence and playing in the midfield as they came out.

The Sky Blue Army were rather louder than the Leicester fans (the away section was half empty).

City won a number of corners in the first half, keeping the pressure on. From one Mo Konjic got a header in at the far post which came back off the post with the keeper beaten.

Despite the pressure, it seemed a goal would never come. Not that Leicester ever looked like scoring; apart from one incident where Hedman tried to keep the ball from going out for a corner but couldn't hang on to it and a Leicester forward was steaming in, the keeper didn't have a save to make.

The breakthrough finally came five minutes before half time, when Telfer took a long throw from the right which was cleared back to him; he sent over a cross and Bellamy stole in front of Sinclair to send a header wide of Royce and into the net.

We were still capable of doing silly things, and gave away a freekick outside our area, but fortunately this came to nothing. The ref (Steve Dunn) seemed content to let a lot of things go and Akinbiyi had been lucky not to get booked when going in two footed on Quinn and demolishing the corner flag when the City player jumped out of the way.

Half time and we all wondered whether City would hang on.

Benjamin replaced Izzet at the start of the second half.

For the first period though, it was business as before, City playing best when working the ball out from the back, using the width and keeping possession. Gary Breen, who always used to look uncertain at right back, now seems to be settling into the role. Bellamy too took confidence from his goal and ran at the Leicester defence on several occasions, causing them problems.

We had more chances: Bellamy, after a run, had a fierce shot from outside the area which the keeper could only parry; from a freekick Breen headed across the area to Hadji, who turned and shot and again the keeper kept it out, giving City a corner.

Leicester sent on two more subs, Impey replacing Sinclair and Guppy replaced Eadie and they started to push City back a bit without really creating anything dangerous. There were a couple of goalmouth scrambles, but City were able to clear the ball.

Roussel came on to replace Aloisi and later Carlton Palmer replaced Telfer (who hadn't had the best of games, he doesn't look really comfortable in the centre of midfield and is better out wide).

There was a flashpoint when Bellamy went on a run and then slipped the ball through to Aloisi making a run in the area. Everyone followed the ball and the next thing we knew was that Bellamy was lying flat out with his hands covering his face. Savage had been chasing him and everyone immediately pointed the finger at him (he came in for a lot of stick from the City crowd); seen on TV later it was clear that it was Elliott who had raised his forearm and caught Bellamy in the face after he had passed the ball, a red card offence I would say.

In the event it was only Benjamin who ended up in the book after one too many attempts to wrestle Konjic had ended with the City defender miskicking completely and ending up flat on his back.

Leicester pushed forward and won a number of corners, but City were always comfortable in defence. The Sky Blues kept their cool and kept possession well, taking the game to Leciester when they could. There were three minutes of injury time to endure before Steve Dunn finally blew the whistle that took us out of the bottom three.

A good team performance; it wasn't without mistakes, but we looked a lot more assured than we have done on some occasions this season. No-one had a bad game and most looked somewhere near their best.

Leicester weren't very impressive as a side, they certainly didn't live up to their billing as a top three team. Perhaps Strachan is finally beginning to find a combination and formation which can work. If we can keep playing like this and chalk up some more wins over the next few weeks, maybe our worst fears won't be realised.

MATCH FACTS by Jim Brown

Magnus Hedman: Gary Breen, Barry Quinn, Lee Carsley, Paul Williams, Mo Konjic, Paul Telfer (Carlton Palmer 80), Moustapha Hadji, John Aloisi (Cedric Roussel 77), Craig Bellamy, David Thompson
Subs not used:
Chris Kirkland, John Eustace, Ivan Guerrero

Simon Royce: Gary Rowett, Callum Davidson, Matt Elliott, Frank Sinclair (Andrew Impey 63), Paul Gilchrist, Robbie Savage, Muzzy Izzet (Trevor Benjamin 46), Adi Akinbiyi, Darren Eadie (Steve Guppy 72), Stefan Oakes
Subs not used:
Michael Price, Richard Cresswell

Coventry - Bellamy (39)

REFEREE: S Dunn (Bristol)

Coventry - none
Leicester - Benjamin


Coventry - 17th
Leicester - 4th

This was Coventry's first league win in eight games since 14 October, and only their second clean sheet in the league this season. It was Paul Williams'  150th Premiership game for City.


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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 10 Dec 00
1995-2000 Coventry Internet Developments Ltd This page updated 27 May 2010