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Game played on 27 Aug 1997

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Coventry City 1-1 West Ham

Premier League    1997-98
Highfield Road   18,291
1Ludek Miklosko    
2Tim Breacker    
17Stan Lazaridis    
6David Unsworth    
15Rio Ferdinand    
8Marc Rieper    
16John Moncur    
29Eyal Berkovic   
9Paul Kitson 1  
10John Hartson    
11Steve Lomas    
14Iain DowieSubed #9   
 PosTable as at 27 Aug 1997PlWHDHLHFHAHWADALAFAAAPts
1Blackburn Rovers4210931004010
2Manchester United4100102104010
4Leicester City412043100218
5West Ham United410021111447
7Newcastle United220031000006
8Crystal Palace400101201426
9Tottenham Hotspur420144001126
12Coventry City412065001025
13Bolton Wanderers300000111444
14Leeds United401215100314
18Sheffield Wednesday4001130124101
19Derby County200000002020
20Aston Villa400104003250
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 post.

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.

Booked: Berkovic.

Goals: Kitson 64.

Att: 18,289

Ref: N S Barry (Scunthorpe).

hits 9791316

much respect to John Northcutt, Roy Shoesmith, Jack Helliar, John Helliar, Tony Hogg, Tony Brown, Fred Loveday, Andrew Loveday, Steve Bacon, Steve Marsh and all past/current West Ham players and supporters