DEC 00] COVENTRY CITY MATCH
REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Coventry City (1) 1
Southampton (0) 1
A lacklustre display and a slightly lucky goal gave City a
point from a game they desparately needed to win.
fires into the side netting.
||Jones tips Hadji's deflected shot around the post.
||From a good position Tessem's weak header
||Thompson's 30 yard
free-kick sails past Jones after Hadji unsights the
tips Konjic's header over the bar.
||Kirkland saves well from Beattie.
||Tessem heads powerfully
past Kirkland after Kachloul's cross finds him at the
||Carsley shoots over from the edge of the box.
hits the post with Jones beaten.
by David Beidas
A dire game between two teams
both as bad as each other - a draw was a fair result. The sad
thing is that neither side looked premiership quality, but we
are the ones in the bottom three.
Despite the change of day and
time, there were a fair few Southampton fans - maybe 1,000. I've
certainly seen less. A chink of the M & B stand had been set
aside for the Two Tone Collective, who were likened to the dance
band playing as the Titanic went down. We didn't see them, but
others said it was a good gig. But it wasn't a big crowd, about
A couple of changes from the side
which started the last two games. Kirkland was in goal,
following Hedman's injury; back four of Breen, Williams, Konjic
and Quinn; midfield of Thompson, Telfer, Carsley and Bellamy;
and Hadji and Roussel up front. The ref was Mr Wiley.
City started brightly and in the
first ten minutes won a couple of corners and had two chances.
The corners weren't brilliantly delivered by Thompson and both
were picked off by the first defender.
The chances both fell to Hadji.
For the first, a lovely four pass first touch move saw Thompson
put a ball into the near post which Hadji put into the side
netting. The second saw Thompson pass to Hadji just outside the
area, he let fly, the ball hit a defender for a deflection, but
Jones was going the right way and put the ball out.
Thereafter the match settled into
a game of pinball, neither side able to hold on to the ball,
plenty of unforced errors and giving the ball away from both
sides. Lots of head tennis, very little football.
Apart from Dean Richards and
Katchloul, the opposition didn't have very much to offer. One of
their Moroccans, El Khalej, was staggeringly inept.
Southampton had a couple of
chances, from a corner one player had a free header which he put
over the bar and then later they worked the ball down the right,
centred and a header saw the ball go just wide. They also had a
volley which Kirkland did well to block.
It was something of a surprise
when City, who were being forced on to the back foot a bit, took
the lead after half an hour. We won a free kick just outside the
area on the left, Thompson floated the ball over, a City head
and a Saints head rose to meet it, but it continued to drift on
and round Jones into the net at the far post.
Seemed a soft goal at the time,
but it gave City confidence and for the rest of the half we
picked our game up and continued to push, without creating any
more real chances. Roussel had clearly picked up an injury,
couldn't run too well and was clutching his hamstring.
Halftime. Strachan made one
change for the second half, Chippo coming on for Roussel (who
clearly couldn't have continued) and Bellamy moving up front to
Southampton clawed their way back
into the game after five minutes, when a ball was played out and
found a player wide on the left in acres of space but being
played on by someone in the centre. He ran down the wing with
the City defence caught, put over a cross to the far post where
the unmarked Tessem planted a firm header past Kirkland.
As usual, City were rocked by
this and began to fall apart again. It was Southampton who
started to push forward, but they never created another real
City were struggling to put a
game together, every time Williams got the ball at the back you
could hear the cries of 'hoof' and that is duly what he did.
All too often in the match, City
were just punting long balls forward, but neither Roussel in the
first half nor anyone in the second was able to consistently win
headers, so we were always losing the ball.
The crowd began to get on
Strachan's back and there were calls for Eustace and Zuniga to
come on. Eventually Strachan took off Bellamy and replaced him
with Zuniga. The Peruvian had a shot off target with his first
touch of the ball, but thereafter was reduced to chasing it as
Southampton passed it between defence and midfield.
The game got a bit more
competitive and Thompson was booked for going in late on Marsden.
A minute later, he was subbed for Eustace, with the whole crowd
shouting at Strachan 'you don't know what you're doing'.
I imagine he was trying to
prevent Thompson getting another red card; not that Thompson had
been outstanding, having developed a habit of always trying to
take on one player too many and ending up losing the ball.
Thompson got a huge ovation as he walked off the pitch.
City pushed up and Southampton
were dangerous on the break, almost getting another chance when
again a player was left unmarked on the left and the ball was
played through. There was a goalmouth scramble, but we managed
to keep the ball out. Apart from that incident, Southampton
never looked like scoring again.
We had one further opportunity
late on, when Zuniga found himself in a bit of space in the box
with the ball, turned and shot, but the ball hit the post and
came out again. It was not to be our night.
And so it ended. Strachan was
booed off the pitch, although the players themselves got a clap.
Quite why, I don't know. There is no way on this form that we
will retain our premiership status; a better team than
Southampton would have beaten us soundly.
It was a lacklustre performance,
when little that we tried went right and we looked pretty
clueless. We certainly couldn't really afford to get less than
three points, but on this showing we don't deserve to stay up.
There are much better teams and
our football is too poor. It's not that they weren't trying,
simply that they weren't good enough. No creativity in midfield
at the moment, nothing to set us apart from the rest of the
teams at the bottom. I despair.
FACTS by Jim Brown
Chris Kirkland: Gary Breen, Barry Quinn, Lee Carsley, Paul
Williams, Mo Konjic, David Thompson (John Eustace 76), Paul
Telfer, Cedric Roussel (Youssef Chippo 46), Moustapha Hadji,
Craig Bellamy (Ysrael Zuniga 69)
Subs not used: Morten
Hyldgaard, Marc Edworthy
Paul Jones: Tahar El Khalej, Wayne Bridge, Chris Marsden, Dean
Richards, Claus Lundekvam, Jo Tessem, Kevin Gibbens (Kevin
Davies 69), James Beattie, Mark Draper, Hassan Kachloul
Subs not used: Neil Moss,
Jason Dodd, Uwe Rosler, Trond Soltvedt
Coventry - Thompson (33)
Southampton - Tessem (51)
CITY BOOKINGS FOR THE SEASON TO DATE]
Coventry - Thompson
(75, scuffle with Marsden)
Draper (37, foul on Telfer)
LEAGUE POSITIONS AFTER THIS
Coventry - 18th
This was the 100th league game between the clubs - City have
played the Saints more than any other team.