Football: The misery piles up on Merseyside

Coventry City 3 Everton 0

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 pounds 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 pounds 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 pounds 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 Mhyre 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.

Goals: Froggatt (16) 1-0; Huckerby (48) 2-0; Whelan (90) 3-0.

Coventry City (4-4-2): Hedman; Nilsson, Williams, Shaw, Edworthy; Telfer, Clement, McAllister, Froggatt; Huckerby, Whelan. Substitutes not used: Breen, Boateng, Soltvedt, Shilton, Ogrizovic (gk).

Everton (3-5-2): Myhre; Short, Materazzi, Unsworth; Cleland (Milligan, 78), Grant, Hutchison, Collins, Ball; Bakayoko (Cadamarteri, 56), Ferguson. Substitutes not used: Watson, Dunne, Simonsen (gk).

Referee: G Poll (Tring).

Bookings: Coventry: Huckerby; Everton: Unsworth, Babayoko, Materazzi.

Man of the match: Froggatt.

Attendance: 19,290.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore