Date: Saturday, 11th September 1999.

Venue: Highfield Road, Coventry.

Competition: English Premier League.

Score: Coventry City 3 Leeds United 4

Scorers: Coventry City: McAllister (pen), Aloisi, Chippo. Leeds United: Bowyer, Huckerby, Harte (pen), Bridges.

Attendance: 21,531.

Teams:

Coventry City: Hedman; Quinn (McSheffrey), Williams, Shaw, Edworthy; Chippo, McAllister, Hadji, Froggatt (Strachan); Aloisi (Hall), Keane. Unused Subs: Nuzzo, Konjic.

Leeds United: Martyn, Mills, Radebe, Duberry (Woodgate), Harte (Kelly); Hopkin, Bowyer, Batty, Kewell; Bridges, Huckerby. Unused Subs: Haaland, Jones, Robinson.

Referee: Mr S. Dunn (Bristol).


The crowd at
Highfield Road for Coventry's meeting with Leeds United in September 1999 knew they were in for a treat when referee Steve Dunn pointed to the penalty spot after fifty-seven seconds. A barnstorming start to their early-season clash pointed to drama ahead during the remaining eighty-nine minutes, and the teams had traded seven goals by the time Leeds escaped from the West Midlands with three points. United, under David O'Leary, were beginning to gather the pace that would take them to the Champions League semi-final at the end of the following season, but their manager was forced to concede that his side's defending had been "abysmal" after the finest of spectacles.

Coventry, who flirted with relegation before the season was out, were allowed to draw first blood with less than sixty seconds on the clock. Leeds were penalised after the ball flew between Lucas Radebe and David Hopkin inside the box and caught a flailing arm, and Whites old boy Gary McAllister stepped up to convert the penalty with his usual confidence. The start was perfect for Coventry but, as their fans had discovered previously, defending a lead was never City's forte.

Six minutes later, Leeds produced their first equaliser when Lee Bowyer conjured a goal at the third attempt after seeing two shots blocked by the Sky Blues' defence. The effort, however, was merely the start of a see-sawing fixture which saw the momentum swing relentlessly until the visitors settled proceedings with an hour gone. Australian striker John Aloisi reclaimed the lead for Coventry in the seventeenth minute, rising above Leeds' defence to head McAllister's dangerous free-kick past Nigel Martyn.

 

United had included 4m signing Darren Huckerby in their line-up, a fortnight after capturing the forward from Highfield Road, and he made the most of his return to City by scoring Leeds' second goal. David Batty, a reliable presence in the centre of midfield, fed a cutting pass through to Huckerby, who was onto the ball in an instant and curled a brilliant first-time shot beyond Magnus Hedman in City's goal. The effort gave Leeds the initiative, and they took the lead for the first time with a penalty of their own twelve minutes before half-time. Batty was brought down by Hedman, prompting Dunn to point to the spot for a second time, and Ian Harte ended a frustrating run of missed penalties from United with a cool finish.

Coventry still had time to produce the goal of the game through Youssef Chippo, an unstoppable volley, but United refused to be denied. Harry Kewell's neat build-up laid on a golden opportunity for Michael Bridges, who crashed a shot home before Bowyer could steal the ball from his feet. "I was aware of Lee Bowyer steaming in for the kill, I just thought 'there's no way you're having that one, mate'. It was like a game of basketball out there, end-to-end stuff with the ball constantly in the net." said Bridges.

 

 

 

Match Action:

 

 

 

 

Darren Huckerby rounds Youssef Chippo Harry Kewell out-heads Richard Shaw

 

Players:

 

Lee Bowyer, Darren Huckerby, Ian Harte (penalty) and Michael Bridges were the United scorers

 

Gary McAllister (penalty), John Aloisi and Youssef Chippo replied for Coventry City Harry Kewell set up the final goal

 

Lucas Radebe or David Hopkin was adjudged to have handled David Batty was fouled for the Leeds penalty

 

Magnus Hedman was in the Coventry City goal Barry Quinn and Marc Edworthy were the full-backs

 

Richard Shaw and Paul Williams were in central defence Future United star Robbie Keane and

John Aloisi led the line.

 

Mustapha Hadji and Steve Froggatt were in midfield with Goalkeeper, Raffaele Nuzzo, and Mo Konjic were unused substitutes

Gary McAllister and Youssef Chippo

 

Gavin Strachan, son of Leeds legend Gordon, Marcus Hall and Gary McSheffrey were the substitutes