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[24 FEB 01] COVENTRY CITY MATCH REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Coventry City (1) 2
Charlton Athletic (1) 2

A home-debut equaliser from John Hartson rescued a point for the Sky Blues - but will it be enough?

KEY EVENTS

3 min Hedman tips over Kinsella's shot.
9 min Ilic fails to hold Quinn's shot and Bellamy is first there to squeeze the ball home.
22 min Hedman is flapping at Jensen's corner and after Fish hits the bar Rufus scores from close range.
39 min Jensen's dipping and bending free kick is inches over the bar.
46 min 28 seconds into the second half and Kishishev sets up Johansson who volleys in off the far post.
50 min Stuart's lob is inches wide.
54 min Stuart's 20-yard shot is tipped round the post by Hedman.
68 min Aloisi miskicks Hall's cross and Hartson just manages to score from six yards.
70 min Hartson has two shots blocked in a melee in the Charlton area.
85 min Johansson shoots over from a good position.

FAN'S REPORT by David Beidas

One point rescued from the jaws of defeat rather than two thrown away. City continue to look fragile but escaped with a draw from a scrappy game with scrappy goals.

A reasonable crowd of 19,500 on a cold but sunny afternoon at Highfield Road. City lined up in their usual 4-4-2: Hedman in goal; back four of Edworthy, Breen, Shaw and Hall; midfield of Chippo, Carsley, Quinn and Thompson; Hartson (making his home debut) and Bellamy up front. Ref was Mark Halsey.

It was Charlton who started the stronger and won three corners in the opening two minutes. City defended them well, although one was cleared to the edge of the area from where a Charlton player struck a fierce shot which Hedman saw late and did well to tip over.

We settled and worked the ball down the right with several throw-ins. The ball eventually found its way over to the left and went to Quinn on the corner of the area. From twenty yards out he struck a good low drive, which the keeper dived for but could not hold. Bellamy was following in with a defender and got the first touch, although it wasn't a clean one, and the ball took an age to trickle past the keeper and over the line for a goal. A good start and the City fans were singing.

Charlton looked shaky for a spell - especially the keeper, who had a whole series of fumbles and mis-kicks; once he came too far out of his area and was robbed by Hartson, leaving him stranded near the halfway line. It was Hall who had the lob, unfortunately a yard wide, though there were defenders covering by then.

It was a scrappy game, both teams making mistakes and gradually Charlton came back into it. After twenty minutes they equalised from another corner, an extraordinary affair where the ball seemed to hit Hedman, come out, another shot, off the bar, cleared off the line and eventually after a bit more pinball was put in by Rufus. Now the Charlton fans were singing.

For the rest of the first half they looked the stronger side (which wasn't saying much), more composed on the ball and we found it hard to create opportunities. Hartson won some nice flick-ons in the air, with Bellamy running off him.

Chippo got a talking to from the ref after a couple of tough challenges (although I don't remember the ref actually booking anyone today).

Our crossing in particular was woeful today, and everyone was guilty of this - Thompson, Hall and Edworthy. Often our passes either went astray or played teammates into trouble.

The crowd started to get frustrated. Neither side seemed capable of creating a real goal-scoring opportunity and the half petered out.

Whatever Strachan said to the team during the break was a complete waste of time. Within seconds of kicking off we were behind; in fact the ball never left our half.

We played it back to Edworthy, he lost the ball, it was played across the edge of the area without any of our players seeming to move for it, a Charlton player flicked it over the top and Johansson nipped behind our back line to volley a shot which hit the foot of the right post and into the net. City players looked bewildered, vaguely looking for an offside flag which never came.

Charlton were now on top, and there was some tough defending to do. We held out and although for a spell it looked like we wouldn't get back into the game, we did eventually recover.

We had our own version of pinball in another goalmouth scramble, but the ball ended up going over the bar. Marcus Hall was set up well but put his shot well wide.

Strachan pulled off Chippo, who hadn't had the best of games and sent on Aloisi, Bellamy moving to wide left.

We equalised with 25 minutes to go. A good move down the left saw the ball flicked on across the area and Hartson was sliding in at the far post to knock it in.

This set up a good last spell, with City pushing forward for the winner, cheered on by the Sky Blue Army who were the more vocal set of fans again.

Charlton used three of their subs. The game could have gone either way: Hemdan got down well to push a shot round for a corner, which had taken a wicked deflection off Edworthy and at the other end Thompson sent a good chance just over the bar (he also sent one well wide and quite a few of his passes and crosses were very wayward today).

In the end we had to settle for a point: better than nothing, but not really enough. We still don't have a settled, confident side and safety is a long, long way off.

MATCH FACTS by Jim Brown

COVENTRY:
Magnus Hedman: Marc Edworthy, Marcus Hall, Lee Carsley, Gary Breen, Richard Shaw, David Thompson, Barry Quinn, John Hartson, Craig Bellamy, Youssef Chippo (John Aloisi 57)
Subs not used:
Chris Kirkland, Paul Telfer, Paul Williams, Jay Bothroyd

CHARLTON:
Sasa Ilic: Mark Fish, Chris Powell, Mark Kinsella (Shaun Newton 79), Richard Rufus, Andy Todd, Radostin Kishishev, Claus Jensen (Paul Konchesky 88), Jonatan Johansson (Kevin Lisbie 89), Mathias Svensson, Graham Stuart
Subs not used:
Tony Caig, Steve Brown

GOALS:
Coventry - Bellamy (9), Hartson (68)
Charlton -
Rufus (22), Johansson (46)

REFEREE: M Halsey (Welwyn Garden City)

BOOKINGS:  [CHECK CITY BOOKINGS FOR THE SEASON TO DATE]
Coventry - none
Charlton - none

ATTENDANCE: 19,480

LEAGUE POSITIONS AFTER THIS MATCH:
Coventry - 19th
Charlton - 8th

INTERESTING FACT:
Hartson scores on his home debut.
Hedman's 100th Premier League game.

    

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 24 Feb 01
1995-2001 Coventry Internet Developments Ltd This page updated 27 May 2010