|match review copied from |
Coventry 1 West Ham 1 By Ian Parkes, PA Sport
The Premiership's great escape artists are both planning an early release from
the potential shackles of relegation rather than remaining strait-jacketed until
the season's closing stretch.
Coventry, so long the Houdinis of the top flight due to their last-minute
miracles in avoiding the trap door to the Nationwide League, claimed their fifth
point of this new campaign with the season only four matches old.
Last term it took the Highfield Road side double the number of games to reach
the same target by the end of September, so this is a minor triumph in the eyes
of the often beleaguered Sky Blue faithful.
By the same token, two wins and a draw for Harry Redknapp's boys from their
opening four encounters also represent a landmark achievement at this stage -
they had only eight points from nine games by mid-October last year.
However, while this may be cause for a small celebration in the respective
parts of the Midlands and London, supporters shouldn't get too carried away. The
quality of football tonight left a great deal to be desired.
Application and determination were in plentiful supply, but the skill level
was sadly lacking, which was evident in the fact that it took a set-piece for
Coventry's opener and a slice of luck for United's equaliser.
West Ham's Czech international goalkeeper Ludek Miklosko had been given little
to do, bar superbly fingertipping over a Dion Dublin 25-yard piledriver in the
sixth minute, before being beaten by a close-range stab from Darren Huckerby
seven minutes from half-time.
John Salako swung over a corner which was nodded down by Dublin for Huckerby
to prod home from inside the six-yard box for his second goal of the season.
Miklosko did come to the rescue of his side three minutes after the break when
he superbly smothered a 12-yard drive from Norwegian Trond Soltvedt, who had
been put clear by Huckerby.
In contrast, Miklosko's opposite number Steve Ogrizovic had remained a
spectator for the first hour, but that changed in the 64th minute when he
conceded a strike from Paul Kitson.
Australian international Stan Lazaridis delivered a deep cross from the right
wing which found the head of John Hartson and, although the woodwork initially
came to City's rescue, Kitson was on hand to head home from six yards to break
his duck for this term.
West Ham continued to pile forward in ever-increasing numbers and should have
wrapped up the points with two glorious chances inside the last 22 minutes.
Paul Telfer botched a defensive clearance and allowed Lazaridis to race
forward, but a powerfully executed drive flashed inches past the left-hand
Then four minutes from time England hopeful Rio Ferdinand, believed to be
under the watchful gaze of national coach Glen Hoddle, spurned the opportunity
to thrust himself into the spotlight for squad recognition before the World Cup
qualifier against Moldova early next month.
Ferdinand took a one-two with Israeli international Eyal Berkovic, often the
instigator of the rare Hammers chances in the first half, but with a clear sight
of goal his angled 12-yard drive was blazed over the bar.
Both sides, though, can still take heart from the point gleaned and their
respective places in the table at this early stage, despite the fact they were
booed off the field by the 18,200 strong crowd at Highfield Road.
Coventry: Ogrizovic, Shaw, Burrows, Williams, Breen, Salako,
Telfer, Soltvedt (Boland 66), Richardson,
Huckerby (Lightbourne 75), Dublin.
Subs Not Used: Hedman, Nilsson, O'Neill.
Booked: Williams, Burrows, Boland.
Goals: Huckerby 38.
West Ham: Miklosko, Breacker, Unsworth, Rieper, Ferdinand,
Lazaridis, Moncur, Lomas, Berkovic, Hartson, Kitson (Dowie 84).
Subs Not Used: Forrest, Potts, Lampard, Hughes.
Goals: Kitson 64.
Ref: N S Barry (Scunthorpe).