APR 01] COVENTRY CITY MATCH
REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Coventry City (1) 1
Sunderland (0) 0
Three wins in four games and Hartson's sixth goal in eight:
if City are going down, at least they are finally making a fight
scores with a header after good work from Bothroyd and
||Hall clears the danger after Kirkland pushes out
||Hartson header clips the bar from left wing
||Sorensen tips Bothroyd's stinging shot over.
||Sorensen saves from Bothroyd again.
||Sorensen blocks Bellamy's shot.
||Eustace clears the bar from a good position.
||Sorensen saves well from Eustace.
||Quinn chips into Kirkland's hands from a good
by David Beidas
Three wins in four games and
Hartson's sixth goal in eight: if we're going down, at least we
are finally making a fight of it.
City dominated this match for the
most part, but couldn't get the second goal which would have
made them comfortable and instead had a nerve-wracking last 15
minutes. Still, the win was what counts.
Highfield Road was pretty nearly
full on a sunny Easter Monday afternoon.
One change from the side that played Man Utd on Saturday, with
Bothroyd coming in for Thompson. A bit surprising perhaps, but
when you looked at the Sunderland defence, with the towering
Varga and Thome, Strachan was probably right to go for height.
Kirkland was in goal, back four
of Quinn, Breen, Shaw and Hall; midfield of Eustace, Carsley,
Telfer and Bellamy; and Hartson and Bothroyd up front.
City started well and were
pressing dangerously from the start. Sunderland took much longer
to settle and offered little threat in the opening minutes.
City's play followed the pattern
of the last few games: Telfer and Carsley working their socks
off in central midfield, Eustace and Bellamy looking to break
down the flanks, the defence sweeping up everything and Hartson
a dominant force up front, winning much in the air, although
there wasn't always someone running on to his flick ons.
The goal came about 20 minutes
in; we broke down the left, but then had to feed the ball back
and across field. It came to Bothroyd twelve yards out with his
back to goal, he saw Carsley on the right and fed him, Carsley
could have shot himself but opted for a little chip over to
Hartson to head in. It was a lovely move and no more than we
deserved at that point, we'd been the only side in the game -
Sunderland continuing to offer very little.
Varga was booked for a challenge
on Bothroyd and one other of their players was also shown a
The rest of the half continued in
this pattern, City threatening but not quite able to find the
opening for the second.
Hutchison did his usual trick of
playing for every foul he could get, sometimes getting them and
Shaw was keeping Kevin Phillips
under control and while Sunderland gradually started to get
better, Kirkland was rarely troubled. He had one save to make,
when they broke down the right and he pushed a shot round for a
Three minutes in to the second
half Varga went right through Bothroyd from the back and Dermot
Gallagher got out his red card.
City pushed forward to try to
take advantage and created several chances, but were denied by
some good goalkeeping. The best fell to Eustace, one volley when
free in the area went into the ground and bounced over the bar,
another was tipped wide by Sorensen. The keeper had one dodgy
moment when he came just outside his area to clear and Bellamy
managed to make him miss it, but Sunderland were able to clear.
Reid replaced Arca with Williams
and more Sunderland players were booked for some very physical
Bellamy was having a superb game
down the right and broke into the area several times, pulling
back for Eustace to again fire one at the keeper on one
Bothroyd wasn't having a bad
game, holding the ball up well and feeding the players on the
flanks, although he has a very languid playing style and hasn't
Super John Hartson was in the
thick of it all, still winning the headers and getting stuck in.
He had one header from a corner bounce off the top of the bar
and into the West Terrace.
Reid now took off Hutchison and
put on Niall Quinn. City gradually began to drop back and played
themselves into trouble on more than one occasion - Telfer often
being the culprit, although on the whole he had an excellent
There were several nervy
goalmouth scrambles and Sunderland began to sense they could get
a point. In doing so they left themselves open at the back and
when City did break they were able to threaten.
Eustace was booked for kicking
the ball away after the ref had blown for a foul and when, a few
minutes later, he committed a needless foul well into their half
which meant we gave the ball away, Strachan took him off and
sent Thompson on.
Hartson and Bothroyd were both
looking tired by this point, but the defence and the midfield
were still on top form, Breen and Shaw clearing everything.
At one point Shaw was lying
injured on the edge of the area as Sunderland broke forward,
Kevin Phillips was screaming for the ball with no-one near him
and Shaw playing him onside but fortunately he was ignored by
his teammate. There was a close call as a shot went into the
Three minutes of injury time.
Breen went down in the area and Kirkland threw the ball out so
that he could receive treatment. When Sunderland threw the ball
back in it wasn't with much power and as Hall left it to run
towards Kirkland a Sunderland player nipped in and somehow
Kirkland managed to block it. City players were rightly furious.
We managed to play keepball for a
bit in their half and finally the whistle went. It had been a
nerve-wracking last quarter of an hour, but City had held on for
a deserved win.
Now we just need to win three out
of the next four.
FACTS by Jim Brown
Chris Kirkland: Barry Quinn, Marcus Hall, Lee Carsley, Gary
Breen, Richard Shaw, John Eustace (David Thompson 89), Paul
Telfer, John Hartson, Jay Bothroyd, Craig Bellamy
Subs not used: Magnus Hedman,
Ysrael Zuniga, Youssef Chippo, Paul Williams
Thomas Sorensen: Darren Williams, George McCartney, Stefan
Schwarz (Paul Thirlwell 68), Stanislav Varga, Emerson Thome,
Julio Arca (Jody Craddock 51), Gavin McCann, Don Hutchison
(Niall Quinn 68), Kevin Phillips, Kevin Kilbane
Subs not used: Jurgen Macho,
CITY BOOKINGS FOR THE SEASON TO DATE]
Coventry - Breen
(34, foul on Hutchison), Eustace (83, foul on Kilbane)
Sunderland - Varga
(23, foul on Bothroyd), Arca (32, foul on Hall), Schwarz (63,
foul on Eustace), Thome (64, foul on Bellamy), Williams (73,
foul on Carsley)
Coventry - none
Sunderland - Varga
(two yellow cards)
LEAGUE POSITIONS AFTER THIS
Coventry - 19th
Sunderland - 7th
Three wins out of four. Third successive clean sheet at home.
Hartson six goals in eight and joint leading league scorer.