AUG 01] COVENTRY CITY MATCH
REPORT - DIVISION ONE
Stockport County (0) 0
Coventry City (1) 2
One down – forty five to go.
If Coventry City had wondered
what life would be like outside the Premiership, they could not
have wished for a more fitting first game.
Stockport, a side filled with
free transfers and bargain buys, pushed the Sky Blues for the
whole 90 minutes but Coventry’s class and, above all else,
determination saw them make the perfect Nationwide League start.
Strachan was confident he had
prepared his side well but will have gone into the game not
knowing if they had buried the ghosts of last season. It was
clear they had.
The manager opted to play Jay
Bothroyd alongside new man Lee Hughes and made Roland Nilsson
captain for the day but that apart, the side was as expected.
The home side threw everything at
Coventry during the early exchanges without ever really testing
Chris Kirkland. Karim Fadin sent a 25 yard free kick just over
the bar after Mo Konjic had been penalised.
Slowly the Stockport storm began
to blow itself out as Coventry began to find Hughes with
increasingly regularity. He tested Lee Jones with a dipping shot
after 18 minutes and embarked on one twisting run which was only
stopped as he teed up a shot.
The breakthrough came just short
of the half hour and was vintage Hughes. Youssef Chippo put in a
cross from the right which fell to Konjic, he returned it with
pace and Hughes was on hand to direct his shot past Jones.
Coventry were firmly in control
and while Stockport occasionally threatened, they rarely looked
capable of breaking City’s defence.
Bothroyd should have sealed the
game before the interval when the impressively busy David
Thompson picked him out at the far post, but the youngster
Konjic, making a rare start, was
again struck down when he pulled a hamstring just before half
time and had to be replaced by Richard Shaw.
The second half rarely flowed as
referee Paul Danson made several characteristically bizarre
decisions. He was forced to wield his card to keep control after
letting several tetchy challenges go.
City needed a second goal to make
sure of a comfortable victory and it came from Lee Carsley with
15 minutes remaining. Thompson’s second corner in a minute
landed in the heart of the home area, and Carsley was there to
head home from close range.
It could have been even better.
In the final moments, Bothroyd teed up Hughes only for his
measured shot to strike the woodwork and bounce out.
Strachan will be relieved as well
as delighted to have successfully jumped the first hurdle and
stepped successfully into the unknown.
STOCKPORT COUNTY: Jones;
Woodthorpe, Roget, Clare; Gibb, Fradin, Helin, Clark; Taylor
(Hurst, 53); Wilbraham, Kuqi
Subs not used: Dibble, Bryngelsson, Smith, Hardy
COVENTRY CITY: Kirkland; Nilsson,
Williams, Konjic (Shaw, 45), Hall; Thompson, Carsley, Chippo,
O’Neill; Hughes, Bothroyd
Subs not used: Hedman, Quinn, Martinez, Strachan
Coventry - Hughes (29), Carsley (75)
REFEREE: PS Danson (Leicester)
Stockport – Gibb (foul, 37), Clark (foul, 55), Wilbraham
Coventry – Carsley (foul, 10), Hall (foul, 67), O’Neill