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[28 APR 01] COVENTRY CITY MATCH REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Coventry City (0) 0
Liverpool (0) 2

City old boy McAllister helps Liverpool dump Coventry well and truly into the relegation quicksand.

KEY EVENTS

5 min Williams is clean through but Westerveld saves with his feet.
6 min Eustace heads over after Hartson heads on a corner.
21 min Fowler's volley goes just over the bar.
42 min Fowler heads over from McAllister's corner.
65 min Zuniga's shot is blocked by Westerveld.
68 min Breen's header from Telfer's right wing corner is wide.
76 min Kirkland pulls off an excellent save to foil Owen.
82 min Williams seems to handle as he clears Owen's shot off the line.
83 min Hyppia's near post header from McAllister's left wing corner beats Kirkland..
85 min Kirkland again saves well from Owen.
86 min McAllister's delicious but embarrassing twenty five yard free-kick makes it 2-0.

FAN'S REPORT by David Beidas

The Nationwide beckons.

For eighty minutes City matched Liverpool but let it all slip in the last ten minutes and inevitably it was Gary McAllister who delivered the coup de grace with a stunning free kick (why couldn't he do that when he wore a sky blue shirt?).

Highfield Road was full, over 23,000. Some changes from the team that lost to Ipswich: Kirkland in goal, back four of Quinn, Breen, Williams and Hall; midfield of Chippo, Telfer, Eustace and Bellamy; and Hadji and Hartson up front.

First blood to Liverpool, who won a corner with a minute gone, but City cleared. And then we came back at them and started to press and in the first fifteen minutes had two good chances.

First Williams picked the ball up just inside their half, fed it out to the right and kept running and, somewhat to his surprise I think, found himself twelve yards out with only the keeper to beat. Westerveld managed to put it out for a corner.

City were playing good football, passing the ball well and with good movement.

From a corner some minutes later came our second chance, when Hartson rose to power a header towards the far post, from where Eustace headed over the bar from four yards out.

City continued to press and had the better of the half. Telfer and Eustace were magnificent in midfield, tackling hard and feeding the front players. Bellamy was struggling against a physically powerful Liverpool defence, but Hadji and Chippo were also linking up well and we were able to push forward.

Hartson was leading the line in his usual combative way, challenging for everything and also showing some superb touches. Another chance came when Eustace had a powerful shot from twenty yards out, but it was blocked.

Liverpool looked slightly nervy and made one or two unforced errors. Their best chances came from corners, with two headers put over the bar.

City's defence looked pretty solid, although there were some uncomfortable moments. The ref seemed to be favouring Liverpool, with Breen and Chippo finding their way into the book and Hartson penalised for supposedly backing in.

We had one free kick from twenty yards out from which Telfer was lining up a shot but the ball bobbled as it was nudged to him and he had to play it out wide.

City made one or two mistakes, but it looked a pretty solid performance on the whole.

Still 0-0 at half time.

City didn't seem to start the second half with quite as much urgency as they had played with in the first and were allowing Liverpool to play a bit more. Still, neither side was coming close to creating a real chance. We weren't pressing quite as much, but neither were the Reds.

After an hour or so, Houllier swapped Fowler for Owen and shortly afterwards Strachan sent on Zuniga and took off Bellamy, Hadji moving to right midfield.

Heskey was booked for dissent and Williams also got a yellow card for a challenge.

With Owen on, Liverpool looked more dangerous, trying to thread the ball through the defence for him to run on to. He got past Breen on one occasion, but Kirkland then blocked his effort from six yards out.

But City rallied again and pushed forward down the other end. We had a couple of opportunities: Eustace had a shot from outside the area which he hit low and accurate, but a Liverpool defender blocked it.

Some good work down the right ended with Telfer feeding the ball in towards the near post, where Eustace tried an overhead kick which went wide where he would have been better leaving it for Hartson who was thundering in behind him.

Zuniga had one effort which went straight at the keeper.

Berger was subbed, Ziege coming on.

It all went pear-shaped in the last ten minutes, when Owen broke again down the left and ran into the area and his cross was put out by Williams.

The Liverpool players were screaming for handball [Williams admitted on Match of the Day that it was handball], but the ref just gave a corner.

McAllister took it (he received cheers and clapping from the Coventry fans on his return to Highfield Road with only sporadic booing) and after a couple of Liverpool heads had got to the ball it was in the back of the net.

City were obviously shattered by the goal and it got worse two minutes later when Liverpool were awarded a free kick twenty yards out which McAllister hit perfectly to curl round the wall and although Kirkland got a hand to it, he couldn't stop it from going just inside the post.

Game over.

City tried to rally, but it was too late and obvious that we weren't going to get back in the game.

Heskey was subbed. Kirkland had a couple more saves to make to deny Owen, who remained a potent threat to the end.

There was little injury time to be played and by then the Liverpool fans were singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.

Although the Derby and Middlesbrough results went our way, the mountain just got rather steeper.

MATCH FACTS by Jim Brown

COVENTRY:
Chris Kirkland: Barry Quinn, Marcus Hall, Paul Telfer, Gary Breen, Paul Williams, Youssef Chippo, John Eustace, John Hartson, Moustapha Hadji, Craig Bellamy (Ysrael Zuniga 64)
Subs not used:
Magnus Hedman, Gavin Strachan, Marc Edworthy, Ivan Guerrero

LIVERPOOL:
Sander Westerveld: Markus Babbel, Jamie Carragher, Dietmar Hamann, Smi Hyppia, Stephane Henchoz, Danny Murphy, Gary McAllister, Emile Heskey (Igor Biscan 87), Robbie Fowler (Michael Owen 62), Patrik Berger (Christian Ziege 74)
Subs not used:
Pegguy Arphexad, Stephen Wright

GOALS: Hyppia (83), McAllister (86)

REFEREE: S Bennett (Orpington)

BOOKINGS:  [CHECK CITY BOOKINGS FOR THE SEASON TO DATE]
Coventry - Breen (10, dangerous kicking), Quinn (20, handball), Williams (67, handball)
Liverpool - Heskey (55, dissent)

ATTENDANCE: 23,063

LEAGUE POSITIONS AFTER THIS MATCH:
Coventry - 19th
Liverpool - 5th

INTERESTING FACTS:
City now on the brink of relegation and need to win their last two games and rely on others to lose to stay up.
Biggest home crowd of the season.

    

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 28 Apr 01
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