SEP 01] COVENTRY CITY MATCH
REPORT - DIVISION ONE
Gillingham (0) 1
Coventry City (2) 2
Roland Nilsson might have found
his Saturday night dinner date a tad more uncomfortable than his
time in the Highfield Road hot seat.
Nilsson and his predecessor
Gordon Strachan, the man who brought him to the club four years
ago, dined out and it is a fair bet that the subject of his job
came up at sometime during the evening.
Strachan has already wished
Nilsson well and will surely encourage him to take the full time
post which is undoubtedly his for the taking.
There is no question that the
standard and style of football has improved under the implacable
Swede but this game allowed his side to show a different aspect
of their character.
Nilsson was robbed of four
players who had figured at Barnsley – David Thompson, Magnus
Hedman, Jay Bothroyd and Lee Hughes – and gave three players
their first start.
He also picked up an injury
himself and saw Gary Breen and Mo Konjic limp off. Perversely
that meant Paul Williams, transfer listed on Friday because the
club has “adequate centre half cover” ended the game on the
field and wearing the captain’s arm band.
But despite those odds Coventry
deserved their win and could have had the game won well before
Youssef Safri was dismissed with almost 30 minutes remaining.
Laurent Delorge came close to
opening the scoring in the third minute when he outwitted and
outpaced Barry Ashby only for Vince Bartram to save his cheeky
The frustration was merely
temporary. Nine minutes later Jairo Martinez pounced on a lose
ball inside the area and swept it home before again embarking on
an extravagant celebration.
Gillingham eventually managed to
find their feet and had their best spell just after the half
hour. Iffy Onoura hit the bar with a header in the 32nd minute
after being set up by Ty Gooden.
Then just seconds later the
towering striker set up Marcus Browning but he was denied by
veteran Andy Goram who made an outstanding close range save.
It was not his only fine stop. He
made two good interventions in the second half and generally
controlled his area with impressive assurance.
Vitally Coventry stretched their
lead in first half injury time when Keith O’Neill, on for the
injured Nilsson, drilled a volley across the area and Chippo
eventually put the ball in from close range.
Lee Carsley then hit a post with
a fiercely struck volley after more good work from O’Neill.
Had he scored the game would effectively been over.
The second half only came to life
when Youssef Safi was dismissed for his second bookable offence,
leaving City a man down for almost half an hour.
Until the final minutes, it made
precious little difference. But then, as their desperation
increased, Gillingham began to play a more direct brand of
football and on several occasions it nearly paid off.
In the end they made the
breakthrough too late to make a difference. City failed to deal
with a high ball from Bartram and Paul Shaw was able to force a
Bartram; Nosworthy (Shaw 70), Ashby, Hope, Edge; Hessenthaler,
Smith, Browning (Ipoua, 81), Gooden (Perpetuini, 43); King,
Subs not used: Butters, Saunders
COVENTRY CITY (4-4-2):
Goram; Nilsson (O’Neill 34), Konjic (Quinn 77), Breen
(Williams, 45), Shaw; Edworthy, Carsley, Safri, Chippo;
Subs not used: Hedman, McSheffrey
Gillingham - Shaw (90)
Coventry - Martinez (14), Chippo (45)
REFEREE: Eddie Wolstenholme
Gillingham – Nosworthy
(foul, 60), Browning (foul, 61)
Coventry – Safri (foul, 52)
SENDING OFF: Safri
(foul - second bookable offence, 63)
COVENTRY MAN OF THE MATCH:
Youssef Chippo – always involved
COVENTRY LEAGUE POSITION: 9th
with 17 points