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Match Reports
Coventry v Spurs, 16.01.02


Poyet, 23
Ferdinand, 51

Attendance:- 20,758

Referee:- Neale Barry

Coventry (4-4-2):- Hedman; Shaw, Konjic, Breen (Capt), Antonelius (sub Martinez, 71); Edworthy, Carsley (sub Quinn, 69), Betts, Thompson; Joachim, Bothroyd (sub Delorge, 79)

Subs not used:- Hyldgaard; Fowler

Booked:- Shaw, Konjic, Breen (all fouls)

Spurs (3-5-2):- Sullivan; Perry, Richards, King; Davies, Anderton (sub Leonhardsen, 80), Sherwood, Poyet, Taricco; Rebrov, Ferdinand (Capt)(sub Iversen, 71)

Subs not used:- Keller; Gardner; Etherington

Booked:- Sherwood (foul)

Spurs cruised through to the fourth round of the FA Cup and there was to be no repeat of Coventry's dream win of 15 years ago, when these teams last memorably met at Wembley in this competition. The hosts had tried to whip up support by introducing the 1987 Final team, including the incredibly hairy Kilcline, who currently appears on Sky's Soccer AM programme, but it was to no avail, as the home crowd were silenced by the different class of football produced by the visitors, who were able to parade Les Ferdinand, making a rapid recovery from his injury sustained at Portman Road on Saturday.

As expected, Taricco switched to the left wing back position, and Simon Davies had an excellent game at right wing-back, taking the main attacking responsibility in the first half, and always giving Antonelius a hard time. Tim Sherwood and Darren Anderton fought hard and passed well in the middle, and top scorers Poyet and Ferdinand scored a goal in each half. Coventry rarely troubled Neil Sullivan, although Spurs did over-commit to attack and allow several pacy runs through the middle by Joachim. A classier side could have punished Spurs badly, and we will have to be on our guard next Wednesday against Chelsea.

A strong Spurs contingent ensured a near full house for this game, and provided a joyful atmosphere. This is one set of fans that do value the FA Cup, although attendances in some other games (e.g Middlesbrough/Blackburn) have been dismal.Spurs might have had a penalty as early as the first minute, when Sergei Rebrov sent Davies away down the right. Simon got into the box, hit a cross/shot, and the defender made a deliberate move of his arm, but Mr Barry was having none of the Spurs appeal. Soon after, Darren Anderton sent Sergei down the left side of the area, but Sergei could only shoot into the side netting.

Joachim was allowed a run through the midfield, and hit a weak shot from outside the box, straight to Sullivan. Joachim and Carsley repeated this type of attempt in the following minutes, but could not hit the target. Davies had another good run down the right and exchanged passes with Sergei, who chipped into the box, for Simon to head on target. Spurs took a deserved lead after 23 minutes when the Coventry defence hesitated when Anderton crossed deep across the area, Davies returned the ball, and Gus Poyet rose high to head past Hedman.

Les Ferdinand nearly increased the lead two minutes later, when Sherwood put him through. Les cleverly cut back inside Shaw, and hit his right foot shot across the goal and wide. Coventry countered though, when Simon Davies lost the ball in the middle to the energetic David Thompson, who put Joachim in the clear again, only to shoot straight to Sullivan.

Ledley King made a great run from deep for Tim Sherwood, who gave Ledley a perfect shooting chance, only for Ledley to fluff an attempted pass, when to score should have been easier. Shaw had already been booked for a desperate foul on Rebrov, but Tim Sherwood was entitled to be bemused by his booking just before the break, when he had cleanly deprived Joachim of the ball on the half way line.

After the interval, Joachim led an attack, and gave Edworthy a chance, before Spurs countered through a super long ball from Taricco to Davies, who controlled well, and sent Sergei away, only for Rebrov to hit his right foot shot across and wide of the mark. The second goal came about after Gus Poyet carried the ball to the edge of the box, had his shirt tugged by Breen, but still managed to feed the ball out to the right. Rebrov then Anderton crossed the ball back hard and low, and Les Ferdinand was in the 6 yard box to shoot and hit the post via Hedman, and then to easily tap in the rebound.

There was some exhibition football then from Spurs, and Coventry lost a little heart, although they did make a bit of a fight of it in the latter stages, with the insertion of new blood. Joachim squeezed through Richards and King inside the right side of the box, only to shoot into the side netting. On the hour, Spurs had a lovely move from a quickly taken Anderton free kick 40 yards out on the right. Darren sent the ball low to Rebrov, who sent Davies down the right channel. Davies' deep cross was headed back by Poyet. The clearance reached Sherwood 20 yards out, and he shot just over the bar.

Another fine passing move ended with a Sherwood close range shot scooped over the goal. By this time the Spurs fans were cheering the endless passes, and the home fans gamely tried to emulate this when their team managed a three pass move! Ferdinand was replaced by Iversen and got a great ovation. One hopes he will be fit for next Wednesday, as his power will be important. Iversen though had one or two impressive touches. One was great cross field ball from inside his won half which sent Rebrov away for another scoring chance, and the other was when he collected a long ball inside the box, and shot just over the corner of the goal.

Spurs reward is a home tie, but yet another meeting with Bolton, who tonight beat Stockport. One wonders what level of importance Sam Allardyce will give this brand of cup in ten days time?

Brian Judson's Preview for this game can still be read here
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