Moore's men halt Coventry advance

Rotherham United 0 Coventry City 0
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The Independent Football

The Rotherham manager Ronnie Moore could be seen at the Town Hall this week, accepting an award as Citizen of the Year. Many more performances like this and the Mayor might find himself handing over his chains of office as well.

Coventry City, a team in which just about every individual cost more than Moore's entire playing staff, were hanging on for a draw at the end of a game in which collective effort and application was more than a match for talent fitfully applied.

The Moroccan international Yousef Safri, back from suspension, and Lee Carsley quickly established control of midfield for the visitors but, in relation to the possession they enjoyed, found they were able to create relatively few chances.

Part of the problem lay with the strikers – Lee Hughes continues to look like a £5m misfit, while Jay Bothroyd is far from the finished article – but mostly it was down to the tactics of Moore's battling team, who defended deeply throughout the first half.

Coventry's best moments came from midfielders running from deep and the occasional set piece. A neat touch from the centre-half Muhamed Konjic gave Hughes an early chance in the penalty area but he scooped his left-foot shot badly high, and Rotherham's goalkeeper Mike Pollitt almost allowed Safri's 30-yarder to squeeze under his body, but otherwise was relatively untroubled.

But if they defend deep Rotherham break fast and in numbers, and twice came close to taking the lead. Paul Hurst's curling free-kick from 25 yards brought a good diving save from Magnus Hedman, and the goalkeeper was again required to save well when Chris Sedgwick's cross reached Alan Lee.

Lee had an even better chance shortly after the break, but headed wide from six yards. Sensing Coventry's uncertainty, Rotherham began to win their tackles further up the pitch, and Sedgwick twice went close. Hedman saved his first effort before anxiously watching a cross-shot drift inches over the bar.

Rotherham United (4-4-2): Pollitt; Scott, Swailes, McIntosh, Hurst; Sedgwick, Daws, Talbot (Mullin, 81), Monkhouse; Lee, Robins. Substitutes not used: Leech, Barker, Gray (gk), Watson.

Coventry City (4-4-2): Hedman; Hall, Konjic, Breen, Shaw; Safri, Chippo (Delorge, 67), Carsley, Thompson; Hughes, Bothroyd. Substitutes not used: Goram (gk), Edworthy, Martinez, Quinn.

Referee: M Dean (Wirral).

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