Monday, 30 September 2013

Jim's column 28.9.13

Last week’s piece about the fastest Coventry City goals prompted an email from Russ Malin. His father, Fred who lives in Macdonald Road in Wyken, remembers a game at West Brom just after the war when City’s George Lowrie scored straight from the kick-off. Russ takes up the story: ‘My Dad, who is 87 now, was at the game (still in his Army uniform) and remembers Lowrie receiving the ball from Ted Roberts straight from the kick off, running past Vernon their centre half and then blasting it in the net, all in 11 seconds apparently.’

If accurate this would make it the fastest post-war City goal.  I was able to track down a match report of the game at the Hawthorns on 3 May 1947 and the details are vague: ‘Lowrie scored in the first minute’. Unfortunately I cannot find a copy of the Pink match report to see if the goal time recorded there is more precise. If any reader can throw more light on this goal please let me know.

James Canavan contacted me via Twitter and was interested in knowing more details of a friendly game he attended at Highfield Road in 1998 against Bayern Munich. This game occurred during one of City’s best league & cup runs of the modern era. Between Christmas 1997 and the end of the season the team lost only three of 23 competitive games (and one of those, the FA Cup game at Bramall Lane, on penalties. At the end of January Bayern were emerging from the Bundesliga winter close-down & came to England for some match practice. A crowd of 8,409 watched the German champions beat a makeshift Coventry team 4-2. Viorel Moldovan, still to make his first Premiership start following his record £3.25 million move from Grasshoppers, put the Sky Blues ahead after nine minutes only for Mehmet Scholl to equalise after 19 minutes. Further goals from Brazilian Giovane Elber (40) and Carsten Jancker (50) put Batern in the driving seat. Simon Howarth, a sub for Dion Dublin pulled a goal back after 62 minutes before Ruggiero Rizzitelli completed the 4-2 scoreline.

The teams on the night were:
City: Scott Howie: George Boateng, John Salako, Gavin Strachan (sub Willie Boland 82), Gary Breen, Marcus Hall, Paul Telfer (sub Sam Shilton 58), Trond Soltvedt, Dion Dublin (sub Simon Haworth 45), Viorel Moldovan, Noel Whelan (sub Yasser el Hamrouni 73).
Bayern: Oliver Kahn: Christian Nerlinger, Mehmet Scholl (sub Alexander Zickler 77), Thomas Strunz, Giovane Elber, Lothar Matthaus (sub Frank Gerster 62), Bixente Lizarazu, Mario Basler, Thorsten Fink, Michael Tarnat, Carsten Jancker (sub Ruggiero Rizzitelli 77).

Several City players had picked up knocks in the previous Saturday’s FA Cup win over Derby County and Huckerby, Shaw, Burrows & Nilsson sat the game out. Boateng & Salako played out of position at full-back with Marcus Hall at centre-back. City also had a goalkeeper crisis with Hedman & Oggy both injured & had to draft in Motherwell’s Scott Howie on loan but this was his only appearance. Howie joined Reading a few weeks later & later played for Bristol Rovers & Shrewsbury. El Hamrouni was a Moroccan on trial at City at the time from his Tunisian club Stad Tunisien. He later played for MSV Duisberg in Germany.

Ten of Bayern’s starting XI were full internationals but City manager Gordon Strachan felt that if he had been able to put out his full-strength side it would have been a different scoreline. The game was beamed live to an estimated 3m viewers in Germany.

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