The Leon's Send Coventry City Through

Last updated : 03 January 2009 By Kev Monks at the Ricoh Arena


Marshall, Wynter, Turner, Wright, Hall, Doyle, Gunnarsson, McKenzie (Fox 69), Simpson (Morrison 82), Best, Eastwood SNU Konstantopolous, Thornton, Walker, Fraser, Cain

Bartlett, Baker, Ferell (Smikle 56), Creighton, Barnes - Homer (Moore 86), Penn, Richards, Brittain, (Knights 77), Bennett, Lowe, Robertson SNU Coleman, Jones, McDermott, Foley

GOALS Leon McKenzie (51), Leon Best (81)
MAN OF THE MATCH Robbie Simpson took the votes from Aron Gunnarsson,Stephen Wright and Curtis Wynter.
Chris Coleman had to make changes from the team that had beaten Sheffield Wednesday. The biggest change was in goal where Andy Marshall was named. This sparked even more rumours of Keiren Westwood moving to Spurs for £4m/£5m which were denied after the game by the City boss who said that he has had no contact from Harry Redknapp. The official line on Westwood was a stomach bug.

Curtis Wynter was given a role at right back, Aron Gunnarsson went into midfield to replace the suspended Beuzelin, whilst Leon Best and Freddie Eastwood started up front. Marcus Hall was captain.

On the bench was Dimi Konstantopolous and Kevin Thornton both back from loan spells with youngsters Adam Walker, Ashley Cain and Shaun Fraser.

Coventry City put in a professional performance to ease past Kidderminster Harriers and book a place in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup with a 2-0 win this afternoon.

With no-one believing the official reason for Keiren Westwood not being involved on a freezing cold, grey afternoon at the Ricoh Arena, City got into the Conference side from the start.

After sixty three seconds, City nearly got another early goal when Freddie Eastwood, who lives in Kidderminster, got in a shot which Adam Bartlett pushed over the bar at the Jewson Stand end.

The 3,006 visting support, which was three Kidderminster's average home gate and probably helped by Wolves game at Brum being called off, had absolutely nothing to sing about as the Sky Blues controlled the game early on.

City boss Chris Coleman had been highly worried about throwing in a youngster but had he watched the U18's in action as many times as his predecessor did, he would have seen that the likes of Adam Walker, who debuted against Sheffield Wednesday and Curtis Wynter are capable players as are the others coming through.

Pressure from Coventry was bringing corners early on. Ben Turner headed one from Doyle in the 8th minute and two minutes later, an early touch fell to Wynter who distributed it well to Robbie Simpson and received a huge cheer from the Sky Blue Army. Simpson delivered a telling cross which was met by the head of McKenzie and unfortunately, the hands of Bartlett.

Leon Best worked hard up front whilst Eastwood huffed and puffed but never really worried the red/white half shirted defenders although he did win a corner in the 20th minute which Simpson headed at Bartlett.

Kidderminster, who played in the same kit as Woking did that time at Highfield Road, finally made it into the City half in the 37th minute and a cross by Matthew Barnes-Homer provided Andy Marshall with his first touch of the ball.

You could see that City were always capable of ripping the side some sixty odd places below them apart but today that was taking longer than usual to happen and frustration was setting in amongst the City support.

Some left for the half-time cup a bit earlier than normal and there was a few boos amongst the 13,652 crowd when the half-time whistle did finally go.

The second half proved to be a lot better. Mark Yates team forced Andy Marshall into a good save straight after the restart when Russell Penn, who was Kiddy's best player, drove a shot which was going in until Marshall dived to stop it.

Six minutes into the half and the Sky Blues were ahead. This was the second of two quick corners. Michael Doyle, who had not been getting the most from his flag kicks, scuffed this one which fell for Leon McKenzie to flick into the far corner of the net from fourteen yards.

With the noise level from the City support which had been pretty quiet briefly raising, City kept the foot on the gas. Aron Gunnarsson controlled everything in midfield with Wynter,Hall, Turner and Wright all solid and ensuring that the away team had no way through to Andy Marshall's goal other than with long rangers which Penn tried with no success in the 58th minute.

Freddie Eastwood should have done a lot better when he curled wide with time on his side six minutes later as more pressure forced a slice from a Harriers defender and then Bartlett fumbling a few seconds after saving a Best effort.

Leon McKenzie had gone a bit quiet as City moved most the of play down the right and in the 69th minute, Danny Fox was brought on to replace him. Fox,whom Coleman had said had not eaten for a few days, did not look in particularly fine fettle but was healthy enough to cause a few problems when he pushed forward.

Only once, did the City defence panic and that was in the 71st minute, but a corner was soon hacked away and then probably dealt with when the ball came back into play.

With nine minutes to go, it was 2-0 to the Sky Blues and Round Four here we come. Eastwood got the ball on the left and clipped a wonderful ball to Leon Best. The striker, held off his marker and got the ball on his right before driving it into the bottom corner of the net.

The City supporters all jumped to their feet which by now were frozen in celebration but Best turned his back on them and walked towards the centre of the pitch before being dived by his team-mates.

Robbie Simpson who ran well and worked hard all afternoon picked up a dead leg and was replaced by Clinton Morrison after Chris Coleman decided not to unleash the pace of Ashley Cain on a side going out of the Cup after getting to this stage with three victories, a miute after the goal.

Villa reject Stefan Moore was booed when he came on with time running out but at the final whistle, the City support stood to clap both teams off the pitch and the Sky Blues into Round Four.