Coventry City Logo Coventry City 3 - 0 Everton
Half-time: 1 - 0
Everton Logo
FA Carling Premiership 1998-99 – Game 13
Sunday 15 November 1998
Highfield Road, Coventry
Att: 19,290
« Sunderland (h) Ref: Graham Poll Newcastle United (h) »
1998-99 Fixtures & Results League Position: 17th Premiership Results & Table
Coventry City: Froggart (16), Huckerby (49), Whelan (90)
  LINEUPS Subs Not Used
Coventry City: Hedman, Nilsson, Edworthy, Williams, Shaw, McAllister, Telfer, Clement, Froggatt, Huckerby, Whelan. Ogrizovic, Breen, Boateng, Soltvedt, Shilton.
EVERTON: Myhre, Cleland (78 Milligan), Ball, Unsworth, Short, Materazzi, Collins, Hutchison, Grant, Ferguson, Bakayoko (56 Cadamarteri).
Unavailable: Dacourt., Barmby, Ward, Williamson, Phelan, Parkinson (injured); Bilic (recovering); Branch, O'Kane, Spencer (on loan).
Simonsen, Watson, Dunne.
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
Coventry City: Huckerby.
EVERTON: Unsworth, Bakayoko, Materazzi.

Tommy Davies How sad it is
THE INDEPENDENT The misery piles up on Merseyside
by Jon Culley

THE GUARDIAN 'I'm a very happy manager' - Strachan
by Paul Weaver
THE TIMES Everton offer no case for their defence
by Alyson Rudd
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Strachan strike force flourishes
by John Ley
THE EVERTONIAN Link to the latest Match Report

SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

How sad it is
Tommy Davies
I watched, like many Evertonians, in anticipation of a good display and hopefully three points – perhaps we could continue in the same vein, as we finished the second half and extra time in the Worthington League Cup game against Sunderland. One of my major concerns from the Mackems game was our inability to finish off our chances; unfortunately the malaise lingered on at Coventry.

We seemed to lack creativity, devoid of any real purpose, yet still had the majority of possession, but looked extremely vulnerable on the break and that was made very evident, the moment Bakayoko lost the ball to Nilsson, near the Coventry box. Cleland and Hutchison were both caught out of position, due to Baka's inability to hold or pass the ball, although it still appeared somewhat harmless, when Froggatt received the ball in his own half. Pace has always been a problem for our defence and Froggatt exposed this to the hilt, as Short backed off, presumably for support, no assistance arrived, thereby allowing the wide midfielder, to drill a tremendous left shot from the edge of the box, giving Tommy, no chance, after 14 minutes, 1-0 down.

We actually looked like we might even score early on, when Short dispossessed a dawdling McAllister, only for Shaw to block the shot. From the resulting corner kick, Froggatt exposed our slow moving defence on the counter attack, but fortunately Huckerby shot wide from a very good position, this after 4 minutes.

On the 19 minute mark, Dunc headed over from a corner kick, 45 seconds later Hutch, scuffed a half chance from the edge of the box, after a cross from Cleland. A minute later, from an Unsworth free kick, Dunc headed down to Grant, who couldn't control the ball and a great chance went begging, as the ball ran to Hedman in the Coventry goal. Another corner, after plenty of possession from Hutch and Dunc heads narrowly wide, on the 22 minute mark.

Still plenty of Everton domination, without actually looking dangerous, saw Cleland dispossess McAllister in the 33rd minute, he pulled the ball back to Grant and with probably our best chance of the game, he hammered the ball left footed, but unfortunately straight at Hedman, this should have been the equaliser. One minute later, Dunc shoots right footed from the edge of the box, but again straight at Hedman, but with not enough power to trouble the keeper. 35th minute, A Ball free kick from the right and Hutch heads the ball, straight into the arms of Hedman once again, yet another good chance to go begging. Three minutes later, another half chance and Grant blazes over with a right foot volley, after another knock down from Dunc.

After 40 minutes, Tommy gives everyone heart palpitations, with an errant kick, that goes straight to Froggatt, but before he can do anything, Cleland makes a great tackle to save the day. After yet another Everton corner on the 46 minute mark, Coventry break away with Huckerby dangerously crossing the ball,Unsworth heads clear to the edge of the box, the ball gets teed up for McAllister to right foot a good swerving shot, which Tommy does a great job in saving it, especially being somewhat unsighted too, this ending the first half, with Everton having plenty of domination and possession, but looking very fragile at the back and gun shy upfront.

It didn't take long for Coventry to add to the scoreline, from yet another fast break, Froggatt volleys a pass, into the path of Huckerby, who controls it first time, giving Myrhe no chance in the Everton goal, the replays show that Huckerby was offside, but still a good goal nonetheless. Baka shoots wide after 54 minutes, gets wrongly flagged for offside, wags his finger at the ref and gets a yellow card for his trouble, that was to be his last, er.... contribution, alas Ibrahima has a long way to go, before he can adjust to the Premier League, Cada replaced him on 56 minutes.

On 58 mins, Hutch takes a free kick, Dunc knocks the ball down to Cada, who can't get a shot off, but does get a corner out of it. From the resulting corner kick, Ball knocks it out to Collins on the edge of the box and he tries a half hearted right foot volley. Three minutes later, an Unsworth long ball, finds the head of Dunc (again) he flicks it on, but the keeper just gets to the ball, ahead of the marauding Tony Grant. After 64 mins, a Coventry corner and somehow Froggatt finds himself unmarked and volleys a good shot, which produces a great save from Tommy, who screams and glares at the defence, for the lack of marking. 68 mins, another Ferguson header goes wide, after a cross from Cleland, but the ball lacked pace and Dunc was almost flat footed in heading it. In the 70th minute, almost a goal from Dunc, after a nice through ball from Grant, but Edworthy saves the day, by kicking the ball off Dunc's toe, as he was about to bury the ball in the back of the net. Five minutes later, Cada does a great turn in the box , goes past Williams and squares to Bally, who is blocked by a great tackle from Shaw.

With Everton pushing too many players forward, it was no surprise after 76 minutes, that Whelan had time to chest the ball on the edge of the box, but fortunately shot wide, with an alarming amount of space around him. Walter decides to bring on Jamie Milligan after 77 minutes, replacing Cleland, but within a minute, Whelan again finds acres of room, after Short and Materazzi somehow missed the ball, but he misses a glorious chance, Tommy coming to the rescue again, with a great save, fortunately Whelan screws the rebound over.

A lot has been said about Dunc's lack of desire etc, but after 82 mins, the ball goes out for an Everton throw, even though Collins and Ball, were both near the ball, Dunc hurriedly picks it and throws it into play, surely not the sign of someone disinterested. 87th minute, Belgian meets Scot, Clement drops to the deck, after apparently getting an elbow in the ribs from Dunc, inconclusive from the tape, anyone at the ground see it? A minute later, the uncommitted Dunc ;o) has a left foot shot blocked by Williams, after good work from Milligan, but with all the pressure, Coventry break away yet one more time and catch the Everton defence napping, inevitably it was the influential Froggatt supplying a great cross for Huckerby to pass the inconspicuous Collins and to drill the ball across the box, only for Unsworth to prod the ball into Whelan's path, this time he made no mistake and rifled the ball home.

Two minutes into injury time and Whelan almost snatches a fourth on another counter attack, thankfully the ref finally blows the whistle and ends the agony for Everton, but Coventry are gleeful, as it is their biggest win over us in 14 seasons, how sad it is!

  • Myhre 7  Made some good saves, but tends to stand well back and allow the game to come to him. Seems very scared about coming out to close down the angle.
  • Cleland 6 - Sound performance as wing-back, getting forward and actually making crosses.We simply need better players. Cleland looks so impressive making breaks down the right... then he STOPS!!!! Time and time again he lost the initiative.
  • Short 5 - Limited. Backed up too much for their first goal. Looked simply too pedestrian.
  • Materazzi 6 - Calm, too calm at times... No, this lad is one of our best hopes for the future.
  • Unsworth 5 This man is NOT a left-back! Having said that, he did defend effectively, and his distribution was a little better – one crossfield pass was excellent. He did at least seem to try to cut down on the hoof-balls.
  • Hutchison 7 A good effort put in.  Always involved.  One of the few Everton players who actually looked for the ball.
  • Collins 6 He actually played quite well, albeit getting caught in possession a couple of times, mainly due to the lack of movement. If RS and ManU's motto is 'pass & move' then ours clearly is 'pass & stand still coz your job is done'. Collins has enormous amounts of skill, but flits in and out of matches due to the ball being hoofed above his head. Collins can't sense when players will dispossess him of the ball.
  • Grant 6 Tried hard, but was perhaps still unfit. Wanted too much time, and tried to make all the wrong tackles.
  • Ball 5 Played out of his natural position yet again, and he has lost a lot of his positional sense as a result.
  • Cadamarteri 6 was again brought on in a wide midfield position and instantly looked more threatening. adding much needed width and variety to our play, and making things happen... sometimes.
  • Ferguson 3  For a team captain, his leadership is non-existent.  His flick-ons have become a Premiership joke. And the accuracy of his famed heading prowess is simply not good enough. On his term, he may have appeared to be trying hard. But Everton need much, much more than this from Ferguson. No where near good enough.
  • Bakayoko. 4 The lost figure. Given it's only his sixth match in a different country, different weather, different tactics and an erratic target-man to play with. Yes, he was bloody awful, but its too early to claim he is this huge waste of money.  We just need to teach him to either shoot when he has a sight of goal, or pass. Why does he seem to want to walk the ball in?
  • Milligan 8 Boss. Skill and enthusiasm.  Just what was lacking from the others. Look like a great footballer and potential megastar.

The misery piles up on Merseyside
by Jon Culley, The Independent
The depression hanging over football on Merseyside continues to be shared. After Liverpool's defeat at the hands of Leeds on Saturday, Everton's troubles deepened with a result that leaves them fourth from bottom of the Premiership with only two points from their last five matches.

Goals by Stephen Froggatt, Darren Huckerby and Noel Whelan elevated Coventry to 15th place and with the £2.5m Norwegian striker Rune Lange reportedly on his way there is reason for optimism at Highfield Road, or at least to believe Gordon Strachan has arrested the recent decline.

After the loss of Dion Dublin to Aston Villa, it seemed things might rapidly turn sour for a side that began the season with European ambitions but two wins in two matches since their top scorer's departure suggests they can manage quite nicely without him.

Gerard Houllier may consider he has a job on his hands at Anfield but at least, unlike Everton's Walter Smith, he has not yet blown his cash. The former Rangers manager has spent more than £21m since his arrival at Goodison Park in the summer, yet so far Everton look no less likely to struggle than last season, when only a point against Coventry on the final day clinched their survival.

Enjoying no shortage of possession, Smith felt they might have squeezed something from yesterday's match. But if Coventry had a weapon unavailable to Everton it was the electrifying pace possessed in large measure not only by the front-line partnership of Huckerby and Whelan but also by Stephen Froggatt on the left flank.

Football has not been altogether kind to the 25-year-old winger unveiled by Graham Taylor at Aston Villa seven years ago. After moving to Wolves in 1994 he appeared to be jinxed, suffering serious illness and then one injury problem after another. But his switch to Highfield Road six weeks ago offers a chance to relaunch his career.

Yesterday's goal, his first for his new club, will be a candidate for goal of the month. Chasing a clever pass out of defence by Roger Nilsson, Froggatt carried the ball a good 40 yards, leaving a pack of Everton pursuers well behind. Approaching the 18-yard line, he had the option to pass inside to Huckerby but chose instead to unleash a left-foot shot that ripped into the far corner of the Everton net.

In a half of open football, Everton should have replied with a goal of their own but their failure to do so perhaps reflected the same frailty of confidence as is afflicting Liverpool. Chances fell to Tony Grant, Duncan Ferguson, who sent a good heading chance wide from Don Hutchison's corner, and to the frustrating Ibrahima Bakayoko, at £4.5m Smith's costliest signing, whose tendency to try to beat one defender too many is a habit he must curb.

A fine save from Magnus Hedman denied Grant what looked sure to be an equaliser after Alex Cleland's pull-back invited his team-mate to score from close range but Myhre brought off a stop of equal merit to save from Gary McAllister close to half-time.

The killer blow for Everton came three minutes into the second period when pace again was the yellow-shirted visitors' enemy. Froggatt turned provider this time, his precise, driven pass finding Huckerby darting into the Everton penalty area. The Coventry striker's touch and finish were of the highest order.

Everton, with an injured Bakayoko giving way to Danny Cadamarteri, tried manfully to find a way back into the contest but, with McAllister more effective in midfield than his Scotland colleague John Collins, Coventry always looked the more likely source of more goals.

Myhre produced another excellent save to keep out a Froggatt volley and Whelan missed a golden chance 10 minutes from the end, hitting one effort straight into Myhre's body and scooping the rebound over the crossbar.

But Whelan enjoyed the last laugh, sliding the ball home in stoppage time after David Unsworth – one of three Everton players cautioned – had intercepted Huckerby's effort on the line after another lightning break from defence.

"It was not our worst performance but the second goal allowed Coventry to sit back and attack on the break," Smith said.

Report © The Independent

'I'm a very happy manager' - Strachan
by Paul Weaver, The Guardian
There were some Coventry supporters who feared that they might have to employ a medium to discover life after Dion Dublin at Highfield Road.

Dublin's outrageous start to his new career with Aston Villa, for whom he has scored five goals in two games, increased the pressure on City's remaining strike force of Darren Huckerby and Noel Whelan. Coventry, however, have eased up to 15th position with successive wins at Blackburn and at home to Everton, and Huckerby and Whelan have scored in both matches.

Today's match was not as one-sided as the scoreline would suggest but this was still a performance of some spirit from the Sky Blues whose move to fill the hole left by Dublin by agreeing a fee of £2.5 million for the Norway Under-21 international Rune Lange almost appears superfluous this morning.

For Everton this was another dark day. They matched Coventry for most of the first half and their pursuit of a number of attacking options suggested that they might be becoming less enslaved to the simplistic search for Duncan Ferguson's head.

But this became an increasingly attractive route as they were roundly outplayed in the second half and they ended well beaten once more. This was their third successive defeat and they have just two points and one goal from their last five games. In 13 Premiership matches they have failed to score on nine occasions. They are down to 17th place and the manager Walter Smith's £21.3 million spending spree since his arrival in the summer has failed to transform the team.

Smith's weary shrug afterwards is becoming familiar south of the border. "I'm not too unhappy with the way we played. We've certainly played worse than that. But we were chasing the game once they had gone ahead with that excellent strike from Stephen Froggatt and when they scored their second they were able to sit back and hit us on the break a number of times in the second half."

Coventry's Gordon Strachan said: "I'm a very happy manager. We did more than win. This was our best performance of the season. We did well at Blackburn last week but in terms of chances created and entertainment too this was our best game. We have made a lot of chances since the big man left," he added, in reference to Dublin's departure.

This was also the first time that Gary McAllister and John Collins, for so long the backbone of Craig Brown's Scotland midfield, had played against each other. On the day this was not the key to the game. The star of the afternoon was clearly Froggatt, on the left of Coventry's midfield. He put his side ahead in the 16th minute with a spectacular goal. The impressive Roland Nilsson won his challenge on Ibrahima Bakayoko and immediately fed the ball to Froggatt who sprinted 30 yards before, from the edge of the area, striking a rising left-foot drive into the top right corner.

The match was over when Coventry scored their second four minutes into the second half. Froggatt, their £1.9 million signing from Wolves, crossed from the left and Huckerby took a single touch before shooting past Thomas Myhre.

In the 90th minute Whelan made it 3-0 after David Unsworth could only block Huckerby's shot following more good work on the left from Froggatt and Philippe Clement.

Report © The Guardian

Everton offer no case for their defence
by Alyson Rudd, The Times
THERE could be a moral in this comprehensive defeat for Everton. Coventry have now won both of their FA Carling Premiership games since the sale of Dion Dublin to Aston Villa. The whole club looked to Dublin for inspiration and the ability to turn games around, yet the results were disappointing. Without Dublin, it seems that the rest of the squad can express themselves – free at last from the cult of the totem.

Everton have their own idol in Duncan Ferguson, but a fat lot of good he's doing them. Maybe his colleagues would benefit from concentrating less on the big Scot and more on themselves.

Coventry did not play a canny nor a tactical match. Right from the whistle, they revealed their hand. They would look to play early balls and rely on pace. Everton ignored the ploy at the start, the middle and the end. The visitors were stretched beyond belief, but made no effort to tighten up. Towards the end, Marco Materazzi stood alone in his own half, torn as to which man in sky blue he should attempt to mark. By the very end, he did not seem to care any more.

Most among Gordon Strachan's side had a match they could be proud of. Early on, Roland Nilsson and Stephen Froggatt stood out. So often defenders are berated for putting safety first, but Nilsson continually looked to set a team-mate free. It was Nilsson who set up the opening Coventry goal after 17 minutes. The full back dispossessed Ibrahim Bakayoko, looked up and fed an exquisite ball through to Froggatt. Looking remarkably like the Road Runner cartoon character, he left the Everton defence bewildered as he unleashed a powerful left-footed drive from 20 yards.

Ten minutes earlier, Froggatt had been in a similar position, but had opted to pass to the unmarked Darren Huckerby, but the striker wasted the chance.

Walter Smith, the Everton manager, maintained that he was far from unhappy with his team's performance. His main gripe, at least publicly, was with when the goals were conceded. "The timing of the goals has been difficult for us."

This is a difficult argument to sustain. Huckerby's miss gave Everton clear warning of what damage Froggatt could inflict and yet the Everton defence chose to ignore it. The first goal provided a clearer warning still, but it took Smith until the 78th minute to put Alex Cleland out of his misery. Froggatt had ran rings around him.

Still, Everton's best spell came after they went behind. Ferguson set up Tony Grant, but Magnus Hedman was equal to the effort and from Don Hutchison's corner, Ferguson headed just wide. An appallingly sloppy cross-field ball by Philippe Clement put Bakayoko clean through but the Ivory Coast striker did not appear overly keen to exploit the error and ran into a clutch of hastily assembled defenders. How long before Bakayoko stops being promising and actually delivers?

It was the first occasion that John Collins and Gary McAllister, fellow Scotland, internationals had played on opposite sides. Neither shone and both are some way off their best form. McAllister found himself in trouble inside his own penalty area and was hustled off the ball by Cleland, which presented Everton with perhaps their best chance of the game, but Hedman smothered Grant's close-range strike.

Everton did dominate midfield intermittently and they put Coventry's defence under pressure, but although there was a lot of last-ditch defending from the Coventry back four, it was top-notch last-ditch defending. When Bakayoko laid the ball off to Ferguson in their one display of unity, Paul Williams made a brave tackle to deny a shot.

Coventry were unfortunate not to double their goal tally before the interval. They ended the first half on a high with some breathtaking counterattacks, the most promising of which saw Huckerby's cross headed goalwards by Paul Telfer, cleared by David Unsworth and then volleyed by McAllister. Thomas Myhre parried the long-range strike.

So, far from feeling aggrieved by the timing, Everton should have been experiencing some relief that they could regroup only one goal to the bad. Coventry did not allow them that luxury, however. Three minutes into the second half, the home side neatly passed the ball out of defence to Froggatt on the left wing. He spotted the centrally- placed Huckerby, who turned and fired past Myhre. This was confident stuff, not lucky. Coventry combined pace with intelligence.

Everton, though, are not the whipping boys of the Premiership and went ten games undefeated when Smith took charge. Yet yesterday they looked as if they had never played real-time football before. And, to be honest, by the end they looked as if they never wanted to play again.

It could so easily have been five or even six-nil. Noel Whelan had experienced a relatively quiet game so the Everton defence chose to ignore him completely. In that context Whelan was guilty of a very bad miss indeed after Telfer's cross found him in acres of space and if only Huckerby had spotted him – so isolated it was laughable – Everton would have been further punished.

However, in the 89th minute Whelan did score. Froggatt exchanged passes with Clement and then crossed to Huckerby, whose shot was blocked by Unsworth. Whelan buried the rebound.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

Strachan strike force flourishes
John Ley, Electronic Telegraph
LIFE after Dion Dublin is proving to be profitable for Coventry City, who dispatched Everton in comprehensive fashion at Highfield Road yesterday. Since the departure of Dublin to Aston Villa, Coventry have won successive games and the nature of this impressive display suggested that they are barely noticing the absence of the England international.

If anything Dublin's parting has opened the way for a strike pairing which could, given the chance, prove to be a potent Premiership force. As manager Gordon Strachan prepares to spend £2.5 million of the £5.75 million he received for Dublin on a new striker, Norwegian starlet Rune Lange, Darren Huckerby and Noel Whelan both scored for the second successive game.

Last weekend they won the points at Blackburn and now, with the addition of an outstanding strike from Stephen Froggatt, who teased and tormented Everton's ragged defence to distraction, they left the visitors wondering which way to turn.

Everton had their chances to add to the Premiership's poorest goal tally of seven goals but found Coventry's defence in outstanding form. A game played at pace and with purpose came to life almost from the start and, when Froggatt claimed his first goal since arriving from Wolves for £1.9 million, it was clear Coventry were in the mood.

After 15 minutes the outstanding Roland Nilsson won possession from Ibrahima Bakayoko and sent Froggatt through. From 30 yards he hit the ball delightfully and it was still rising when it struck the net.

Tony Grant, recalled to Everton's midfield, appeared capable of responding while Duncan Ferguson, as ever, was a problem and should have scored soon after. Marcus Hedman denied Grant again as Everton pushed for an equaliser.

But when Coventry extended their lead, three minutes after the break, Everton's challenge receded. A marvellous five-man move ended with Froggatt's 35-yard pass setting up Huckerby who controlled and half-volleyed in one deft movement.

Chances came in abundance, Thomas Myhre saved well from Froggatt while Whelan missed twice before claiming the third from another wonderful move.

Froggatt and Philippe Clement exchanged passes before Huckerby's shot was pushed clear by David Unsworth, but only as far as the incoming Whelan.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

RESULTS  (Game 13)
Saturday 14 November 1998
Arsenal  0               Tottenham Hotspur  0        38,278

Charlton Athletic  1     Middlesbrough  1            20,043
Mendonca 37 pen          Stamp 73
Chelsea  3               Wimbledon  0                34,757
Zola 31, Poyet 54, Petrescu 65
Liverpool  1             Leeds United  3             44,305  
Fowler 68:pen            Smith 78, Hasselbaink 82,86
Manchester United  3     Blackburn Rovers  2         55,198  
Scholes 31,58, Yorke 44  Marcolin 65, Blake 74
Newcastle United  1      Sheffield Wednesday  1      36,698
Dalglish 3               Rudi 80
Southampton  1           Aston Villa  4              15,242 
Le Tissier 53            Dublin 3,56,85, Merson 77
West Ham United  3       Leicester City  2           25,642
Kitson 36, Lomas 54,     Izzet 26, Lampard 87 og
Lampard 75            
Sunday 15 November 1998
Coventry City  3         Everton  0                  19,120
Froggart 16, Huckerby 49, Whelan 90
Monday 16 November 1998
Nottingham Forest  2     Derby County  2             24,014
Freedman 58,             Dorigo 56:pen, Carbonari 73
Van Hooijdonk 63       

LEAGUE TABLE (after 16 November 1998 )
Club                          P    W    D    L   GF   GA   GD   Pts
Aston Villa                  12    8    4    0   18    6   12   28
Manchester United            12    7    4    1   26   11   15   25
Arsenal                      13    6    6    1   14    5    9   24
Chelsea                      11    5    5    1   17   10    7   20
Leeds United                 13    4    8    1   16   10    6   20
West Ham United              13    5    5    3   16   15    1   20
Middlesbrough                13    4    7    2   21   16    5   19
Derby County                 13    4    6    3   14   12    2   18
Leicester City               13    4    5    4   13   13    0   17
Wimbledon                    13    4    5    4   17   22   -5   17
Liverpool                    13    4    4    5   20   17    3   16
Charlton Athletic            13    3    7    3   20   17    3   16
Newcastle United             13    4    4    5   16   17   -1   16
Tottenham Hotspur            13    4    4    5   16   21   -5   16
Coventry City                13    4    2    7   12   18   -6   14
Sheffield Wednesday          13    3    3    7   10   13   -3   12
Everton                      13    2    6    5    7   14   -7   12
Nottingham Forest            13    2    4    7   10   20  -10   10
Blackburn Rovers             13    2    3    8   14   20   -6    9
Southampton                  13    1    4    8   10   30  -20    7
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Last updated: 16 November 1998