Coventry City Logo

Coventry City 1 - 0 Everton

Half-time: 0 - 0

Everton Logo
FA Carling Premiership 1999-2000 – Game 29
745 pm Wednesday 15 December 1999
Highfield Road, Coventry
Att: 18,518
« Chelsea (a) Ref: M Halsey Newcastle United (h) »
[1999-2000 Fixtures & Results] League Position: 8th [Premiership Results &  Table]
Mark Hughes New arrival (or should that be "Old Arrival"?) Mark Hughes made his debut for Everton tonight at the ripe old age of 36, much to the amusement of Gordon Strachan, who dubbed tonight's display the new Jurrasic Park.  

At the back, Unsworth was still not fit, so Collins was again at left back, and Paul Gerrard retained his goalie's jersey he is now clearly the new Everton Number 1.  Cadamarteri made way for the old warrior as Walter pushed Sparky up front from the start to see what he could do for the Toffees...  and Everton started quite brightly, playing some good attacking football in the early exchanges.  But Coventry came back into it, with Gerrard making a few good saves while some good Everton chances went begging.  

Some worrying times for Everton in the second half as Coventry had the slight edge over the Toffees and Walter Smith was forced to make some changes, but it was the Peruvian Coventry sub, Zuniga, who made the telling difference.  A ding-dong battle ensued with more chances going begging, until finally, in the last 5 mins, who else but Gary McAllister was there to stab the ball into the net after a Roussel header rebounded off the post.



Coventry City: McAllister (86')
EVERTON: Mark Hughes
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used 
Coventry City: Hedman, Gustafsson, Burrows, Shaw, Hendry, Hadji, Eustace (81' Zuniga), McAllister, Chippo, Whelan, Roussel. Hyldgaard, Breen, Normann, Quinn.
EVERTON: Gerrard; Dunne, Weir, Gough, Collins; Barmby (81' Gemmill) , Pembridge, S Hughes (70' Unsworth), Xavier; Moore (66' Cadamarteri), M Hughes.
Unavailable: Ball (ill/unfit?); Cleland, Campbell, Jeffers, Williamson, (injured); Hutchison (transfer-listed).
Myhre, Ward.
   Playing Strips  Formations
Coventry City: Sky blue/ dark blue shirts, shorts & socks. 4-4-2
EVERTON: Yellow shirts; yellow shorts; yellow socks. 4-4-2
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
Coventry City:


Steve Allinson Hughsie... Hughsie
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Hughes fails to spark Everton
by John Ley
THE INDEPENDENT McAllister stops the rot
by Phil Shaw
THE TIMES Coventry provide welcome relief for Strachan
by David McVay

EVERTON WEBSITE Link to the Official Match Report

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CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

 Hughsie... Hughsie
Steve Allinson
Back to reality as mid-table obscurity reaches out her welcoming chiffon clad-arms.

I haven't even spent the customary half hour examining the table and pondering what might have been, but I do know this. We've been within a whisker of taking a few more points than two out of our last nine.

And it could even have been the full complement.

The Soccernet report which reasoned thus: 
>Everton had had the better of a poor first half, with the presence 
>of Hendry and Gough failing to mask both sides' lack of cutting 
>edge up front.

Very harsh I thought. Some of our football was a joy to watch, we garnered the vast majority of possession, and with a touch more luck or vision might have easily sewn the game up. Jo-Mo's hopeful shot after a particularly neat string of passes whilst the old Hughes waited in the box unmarked and with clear sight of goal springs readily to mind.

The old dog himself looked a class act in every sense, the harrying and winning ball after ball followed by neat passing was a joy to watch. Even the trademark overhead shot got an airing.

Honours from the first half went, however, to David Weir whose composure in defence is sometimes breathtaking. Such Coventry imagination as there was foundered on this rock.

Its no exaggeration to say we battered them, and the second half was eagerly anticipated. A shame.

Hughes flagged, a question mark over his general fitness level as dragging his body into the box became ever more of struggle.  Coventry took a greater level of possession as their midfield finally cottoned on to the fact that Xavier was merely making up the numbers, and oh, we cried out for a winger.

A lacklustre second half then, where either side might have stolen it.  McAllister finally did.  Walter's substitutions surprisingly started as early as the 60th minute or so.  Squid for Joe instead of Hughes?  Well, we need the old bastard match fit as soon as reasonably possible I s'pose.

A disappointment then for the trek back, but I'll take heart from a thoroughly entertaining first half. Don't let 'em tell you otherwise.

Oh, and the chant? HUGHSIE... HUGHSIE...

In the end it didn't matter for which one.

 McAllister's stops the rot
by By Phil Shaw, The Independent

After eight hours and 36 minutes without a goal, Coventry's scoring drought finally ended when their captain, Gary McAllister, pounced four minutes from the end of what looked certain to be a barren stalemate with Everton at Highfield Road last night.

McAllister, scrambling the ball in from close range, reached double figures for the season after Cedric Roussel had struck the post with a header.  His intervention not only ensured that Everton did not climb into the Premiership's top six but continued their miserable run at Coventry where they have not won since 1993 and left the Sky Blues nine points clear of the relegation zone.

A home victory on Saturday over Bradford City, the highest placed of the bottom three, would put Coventry within two points of the 40 mark which reputedly guarantees safety.  Yet while Noel Whelan hit the same upright shortly before the winner, Everton often appeared the likelier winners, with David Burrows heading off the line from Abel Xavier before McAllister struck.

It was fitting that the 35-year-old Scot should settle the contest, for the match resembled a convention of veteran Caledonian captains, with McAllister and Colin Hendry pitted against Richard Gough and John Collins.  Their ages total 138, prompting Coventry's manager, Gordon Strachan, to dub the fixture "Jurassic Park".

Mark Hughes, making his Everton debut at 36, proved he is no dinosaur with a sprightly back-heeled effort after Joe-Max Moore and Nick Barmby opened up Coventry in the sixth minute.  The Welsh warrior, one of six thirtysomethings on view, otherwise had a quiet match.

Everton, enjoying the luxury of not being embroiled in a scrap for survival, set up Mark Pembridge for a volley which he sent wastefully wide and Abel Xavier for a drive that was deflected for a corner.  Magnus Hedman also saved athletically from Moore on the stroke of half-time. By contrast, an anxious Coventry created only one opening in the first half.  Whelan connected forcefully with Mustapha Hadji's low cross to the near post only for Paul Gerrard to block with a foot at point-blank range.

The cleverness of the injured Robbie Keane was sorely missed by Coventry.  However, after Hedman had tipped Gough's downward header from Mark Pembridge's flag-kick over the bar, they belatedly began to exert pressure on Everton.

Hadji, unmarked 10 yards from goal, fired straight into Gerrard's midriff, and Whelan hit the woodwork after dispossessing Gerrard.  Fortunately for the health of an increasingly agitated Strachan, McAllister's aim proved truer.

Report © The Independent

 Coventry provide welcome relief for Strachan
by David McVay, The Times

THE barren spell is over for Coventry City, but they left it uncomfortably late at Highfield Road last night.  Gary McAllister swept home the decisive strike from close range with five minutes remaining after Cedric Roussel's header had rebounded off a post.  After waiting 490 minutes for the goal, Coventry supporters were entitled to celebrate, but of greater significance were the three FA Carling Premiership points that ended a run of four successive defeats.  Another lapse would have increased the downward spiral that has dragged Coventry into the relegation fight.

At least the result may have allowed Gordon Strachan to relax last night.  The Coventry manager has confessed to losing sleep over his side's alarming fall, caused by several inept performances, but the opening 45 minutes of this match would surely have cured any insomniac.

Strachan said that his players were anxious in those early encounters but shorn of the injured Robbie Keane's creative input, Coventry's attacking options suffered.  For their part, Everton, who gave Mark Hughes his debut, advanced with purpose.

Joe-Max Moore might have punished poor defending although Colin Hendry, on his first appearance at Highfield Road for his new club, gradually marshalled his defence into a cohesive unit. A corner shortly after the interval gave encouragement to Coventry, but its execution, marred by a lack of communication between McAllister and David Burrows, epitomised their team's stilted progress.

Coventry drew inspiration from the Moroccan pairing of Moustapha Hadji and Youssef Chippo but for all their artistry, a set-piece looked the most likely source of a breakthrough.  In the 77th minute, Paul Gerrard, the Everton goalkeeper, confirmed the feeling that a stalemate was inevitable when he fumbled a loose ball to the feet of Roussel but, with the goal beckoning, the Belgian centre-forward contrived to hit a post.

Everton should also have scored but Richard Gough was thwarted by the agility of Magnus Hedman, the Coventry goalkeeper, and when he was defeated, Burrows cleared a goal-bound lob by Abel Xavier off the line in a tense finale.  "It was a good game to have won," a relieved Strachan said.  "You can't go from playing badly to playing the sort of stuff we were performing a month or so ago.  That needs to be built up again.  Hopefully this is the first stage of a recovery."

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

 Hughes fails to spark Everton
John Ley, Electronic Telegraph
COVENTRY City finally broke their dismal sequence without a goal when one of the game's golden oldies, Gary McAllister, claimed his team's first strike for eight hours and 34 minutes to secure a valuable victory last night.

Manager Gordon Strachan described Highfield Road as resembling Jurassic Park because of the high number of 30-somethings on show.  The Coventry manager had three over that mark, including Colin Hendry on his home debut, while Everton employed similar geriatric tactics, with Mark Hughes, 36, making his first start alongside 37-year-old Richard Gough and John Collins, 32.

It would not have been too surprising had Strachan turned out himself, such is Coventry's plight.  They went into last night's game on the back of four successive defeats without a goal and with the manager claiming his team had been showing signs of anxiety.

Certainly it was Everton, despite missing injured strikers Kevin Campbell and John Jeffers, who started the stronger and with Wales manager Hughes, partnering Joe-Max Moore in attack, starting brightly.

Only two minutes had passed when another newcomer called Hughes, former Arsenal midfielder Stephen, shot over from 20 yards.  Then, when Moore fed Nick Barmby, his cross from the right was back-heeled by Mark Hughes and cleared by Coventry's John Eustace.

Coventry, obviously weakened by the continued absence of Robbie Keane, rarely appeared capable of troubling Paul Gerrard, the Everton goalkeeper, with their approach play poor.

That was until the 37th minute when Moustapha Hadji's pass from the right found Noel Whelan but the transfer-listed striker's attempt was thwarted by Gerrard's impressive deflection at the near post.

Coventry survived again when Collins, playing as a makeshift left back, robbed Eustace, fed Moore and the American was denied only by the athleticism of goalkeeper Magnus Hedman. Everton might have opened the scoring when, from Barmby's corner, Gough's looping header fell onto the top netting.

Coventry responded when Eustace, unmarked, shot over and then Hadji's shot was deflected narrowly over.  From the resultant corner, Whelan's attempt was cleared by Richard Dunne. With an hour played, Everton created another opportunity but, from Mark Pembridge's corner, Gough's downward header was pushed over by Hedman. 

Whelan disposessed Gerrard and was faced with an open target but he struck the foot of the left-hand post when it would have been easier to score.  However, in the 86th minute, after Cedric Roussel struck a post again, McAllister followed up to claim a vital three points.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph



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