DEC 00] COVENTRY CITY MATCH
REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
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.
header narrowly wide.
||Aloisi close to connecting with Carsley's cross.
||Royce saves well from Aloisi's header.
||Williams' last ditch tackle robs Akinbiyi.
shoots into the side netting after Hedman fumbles
||Bellamy shoots over from a good position.
||Savage fires over from Izzet's through ball.
home Telfer's right wing cross.
||Elliott heads over from Savage's cross.
||Royce tips Hadji's effort around the post.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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,
Coventry - Bellamy (39)
CITY BOOKINGS FOR THE SEASON TO DATE]
Coventry - none
Leicester - Benjamin
LEAGUE POSITIONS AFTER THIS
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