Coventry City 0 - 0 Everton

13 May 1995

Yellow cards
Everton: Ebbrell
Coventry: Filan, Borrows, Burrows, Rennie, Pickering, Richardson, Strachan, Darby, Jenkinson, Ndlovu, Dublin
Everton: Southall, Parkinson, Barrett, Jackson, Unsworth, Ablett, Ebbrell, Samways (45. Ferguson), Limpar, Stuart, Amokachi
Subs not used: Hall, Jones, Gould (Coventry), Barlow, Kearton (Everton)
Referee: P Jones (Loughborough)
Attendance: 21,814


Highfield Shootout fires blanks

Let's get a few things straight first..

If you expected Coventry was another ugly midlands hole like Villa or West Brom, you are in for a pleasant surprise at Highfield Road. The town has the aura of a sleepy suburb, and the 'very nice' family club setting and custom of the likes of QPR and Norwich.

All grounds look better in sunshine, but with a panoramic halfway line seat in a huge away stand, life was good enough to appreciate things like the still-standing sky blue terrace barriers amongst the seats in the west terrace stand.

Everton (contrary to reports) did NOT "rest half their team". The only regular faces missing were Horne (who's looked tired recently), Hinchy (hamstrings a bit dodgy) and Rideout (another recent injury to nurse). Watson was also rested (because he's getting on a bit? - or so he could practice cup-lifting exercises in front of a mirror?). There was not a single 'recognised reserve' on the field or the bench.. not even Tony Grant.

The formation was shuffled a bit, Joe put Barrett at centre half and had Jackson and Unsworth as full backs. First half midfield was Samways Parkinson & Ebbrell, with Amo & Stuart up front and Limpar on the right. The left side relied on the Rhino coming forward like Hinchy to cross. Neville Southall was honoured with the captaincy for the day.

Perhaps it was the end of term atmosphere or the sudden absence of pressure (except to keep healthy for the final), but the football flowed around pleasently and entertainingly like water in a bathtub without ever producing the thrills of a sea-storm.

For the first time this season I was very aware of the opposition. Coventry, who were 21st when they beat us 2-0 in October, have rebuilt their side into one which could be the all-star attraction that Southampton were in the 80s. Strachan is of course a Colossus in midfield. Behind him ex-Leeds team mate Rennie is in charge, flanks by player of the year Borrows and reject of the year Burrows. Up front is a duo which is as beautiful as it is deadly - Dublin and Ndlovu. If goals were awarded for style, these two would leave S&S in the dirt.

Although it was clear the players were all cantering around carefree of the recent worries, the football flowed around and both teams created openings which could have lead to goals. Limpar snap shot onto the bar, and at the other end Neville saved 3 times when the reorganised defence let Ndlovu & Dublin through. Amo missed a side foot clean through which shaved the far post.

Second half Samways gave way to Ferguson, Stuart went out right and Limpar left. As an added handicap, the sun shone low directly into Nev's eyes in the second half, and he had no cap. (He's got enough from Wales.. you'd think he'd bring at least one..)

Second half saw a stunning Southall save. A breakaway to the byeline was perfectly crossed and headed from 5 yards out, but Neville not only got to block it with lightning reactions, but held on to the ball. Evertonians were on their feet, but many Coventry fans were too, and Dublin applauded as he ran back towards midfield.

Five corners to add to the 4 first half produced no great chances, but just as the game was going to sleep Ebbrell found himself clear through near the spot. Unfortunately the bounce was knee high and above him, which would have foiled even a Shearer or Cole, but John's last chance of a goal this season made it a pity.

The other thing the press have been trying to sell you is that this was a dull game. Hey well it wasn't a rubber-pants championship (or relegation) decider, but it was a great football match! For the armchair jocks who just think all 0-0's are boring, perhaps the final shot count (Coventry 15, Everton 16) will make you think again.

The players waved (briefly), and wandered off. Fair result, though it could have been 3-3 easily. Everton more importantly had come through with no new injury problems.

Team Performance: 7 Steady and relaxed, but patient and useful buildups left both teams without deserved rewards.

Player by player


Three good and one stunning save. Six clean sheets in last seven games!


Needed to get forward a bit more, esp when DD was on, but commanding in defence.


Just as brilliant at LB as CB.


Just as dodgy at CB as at RB.


Just as average at CB as at LB.


Not as brilliant as last match, but more than adequate (Except in front of goal :-)


Didn't miss Horne and the midfield didn't suffer.


Disappointingly quiet in a situation tailor-made for him.


Bustled a lot but is not fitting in as anything but a stopgap when Limpar moves left.


Another bustler. Made the defence work to earn their pay and created a couple of his chance-from-nothing specials, but no luck or magic today.


More than played his part in second half buildups, had 2-3 ground shots including one bullet, but only saw the ball head height in the box once.


Typical Limpar. Hit the bar from nowhere in the only great moment.


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