Wednesday, 30 December 2015

My Twenty-First 15/16 Game - Coventry City vs Oldham Athletic

Before the game had even begun the game was overshadowed by the death of Coventry City legend Jimmy Hill who sadly passed away today at the age of 87. A minutes applause was well observed pre-match in honour of such a great of the game. One thing I have to apologise for is the lateness of this game entry, you think you're on top of thing and then boom, the Christmas period comes and goes and you're 3 game behind.

 Anyway, our 6 day break after the horror of the defeat to Sheffield and we were praying we could pick ourselves up again with 3 points. One major talking point in the Sky Blue squad you could see was the reintroduction of James Maddison onto the bench, he hadn't played since Walsall but was back in the team ahead of schedule; a nice Christmas present for the team.

 Charles-Cook started in goal with Phillips, Martin, Turner and Stokes in front of him. Bigirimana and Vincelot played as the holding midfielders, John Fleck was a surprise miss and it was later revealed he had hamstring troubles. Once more Adam Armstrong started ahead of the 3 attacking midfielders of Jim O'Brien, Joe Cole and Ryan Kent. I like Ryan but at times he can be quite greedy, but is a key figure running down the wings and can't see Jurgen Klopp wanting him back at Liverpool so he should see out the season at the Sky Blues.

  The first major talking point of the game was 25 minutes in when Ben Turner fell awkwardly and injured his ankle, he was substituted off for Ryan Haynes and Chris Stokes moved to centre back, in the days after the game it showed that we would have to send Turner back to his parent club as he was in need of an operation. Rotten luck for Turner, who has suffered Ankle problems in the past but the injury in question happened on his other leg! Get well soon Ben.

 Ryan Kent shot wide after steaming in to the box just 5 minutes later but couldn't put the Sky Blues a goal ahead and this took us into half time. We seemed to have slightly lost a grip of the game when Ben Turner went off and we didn't seem comfortable in the way we played. Not long in to the second half and we nearly managed the breakthrough, Joe Cole put in a beautiful cross which found the head of Romain Vincelot who headed across goal but was cleared off the line and eventually cleared out for another corner.

 From the resulting set piece, Cole repeated his delivery to the back post which Aaron Martin bundled in to the back of the net putting the Sky Blues 1-0 up. 10 minutes later Cole was taken off for Fortune which surprises me, on that bench we had 2 perfectly good attacking midfielder options in Lameiras and Maddison, but brought on in my opinion our worst player. Despite struggling for fitness I think Cole did put in a good shift for the team, assisting the goal for Martin.

 Even now we still didn't look comfortable, we're meant to be one of the best teams in the league and are struggling to beat 2nd bottom Oldham at home. With 20 minutes to go James Maddison finally got his chance but couldn't make the impact in the time given. One thing you don't do when you're 1-0 up is to stop pushing, you invite pressure in and sometimes you get away with it but other times you pay the price and for the remainder of the game we looked to be tempting fete.

 It did look as if we were going to hold on for victory but remember, this is Coventry City we're talking about, from a corner in the 93rd minute, Danny Philliskirk got a scrappy header which Charles-Cook should have easily dealt with but missed the punch and we found ourselves at 1-1, Oldham had stolen a point right at the death of the game.

 Stupidly dropping 2 points put us down to third with Walsall still to play who ended up beating Port Vale, taking us down to fourth place. This leaves us desperate for a win, and the next ' A View From The Stands' will be the Boxing Day game against Port Vale at the Ricoh Arena.

 My Man Of The Match - Joe Cole - Call me biased but the couple of crosses Joe Cole put in leading to the goal really helped the team and we did start to fade away when he went off. He still has a long way to go but I do think he was the best player on the pitch today. This adds to the one award he already has and puts him one behind the leaders of Armstrong and Lameiras.

Friday, 18 December 2015

My Twentieth 15/16 Game - Sheffield United vs Coventry City

 Back to normality after last weeks FA Cup trip to Northampton and a very big, but definitely winnable game away to Sheffield United. The Sunday game at 12pm meant getting up ludicrously early to make the trip north. Now first things first, this is going to be very moany and critical toward events in the game.

 Everyone thought James Maddison would make the bench today, but he was not involved, not deemed read enough by Tony Mowbray. However there was a return to the bench and it's Joe Cole, one of my childhood heroes was back from a hamstring problem. His last interaction saw him score "that goal" and it had been over a month since that.

 As mentioned Cole began on the bench, but the starting XI of Charles-Cook, Ricketts, Martin, Turner, Stokes, O'Brien, Vincelot, Fleck, Murphy, Lameires and Armstrong was still very strong and capable of winning the game. Interestingly Ryan Kent didn't manage a starting place in the team despite his blistering pace, in my opinion he is more key than we think and it is vital he is amongst the loanees we keep in January.

 Sheffield United really showed their true intention early on, break us to stop us scoring, late tackles, hacking us down if we were about to start an attack. Adam Armstrong was played through on goal, 10 yards out, his play ground for scoring but was saved well by George Long. Soon after was one of the biggest talking point of the game, Ruben Lameires put the ball past Jay McEveley but he showed no signs of stopping and completely took Ruben out at his knees, definite red card in my opinion, but the referee, for his first mistake of many, bottled it and only booked him. Everyone felt this was a shocking decision.

 Just before half time Matt Done was running through when his shirt was lightly pulled by Ben Turner, claims were given for a red card as Turner was last man but I wouldn't have sent him off and it would have been an outrageous decision given what he'd done a few minutes previous. Eventually we got into half time, we just needed the first goal and I could see us doing exactly that if we kept focused.

  Even in the second half the Blades kept on attacking us, on the hour mark we brought on Cole for Jim O'Brien and I was excited to see the impact he would make. Not long after the breakthrough was made, Jacob Murphy's cross was deflected off the hand of a defender to George Long who spilled over his own line, Cole ran off celebrating, and we were 1-0 up!... or so we thought, the referee had given neither the goal nor the penalty for handball. This was the second poor decision the referee would make but I only found out via twitter not having seen from the other side of the stadium.

 With 10 minutes left in the match, Sheffield United won a corner which was put into the box, Charles-Cook missed and Billy Sharp's shoulder put the ball in the net, we were 1-0 down in a game where we should be facing 10 men and be 1-0 up and a lucky goal from a team whom hadn't had a shot on target for the entire first half.

 One final talking point of the game was the second yellow of Sam Ricketts, he put his foot to the ball and cleanly got it, the referee wouldn't even have blown his whistle if the attacker hadn't bowled over in 'agony', the only thing missing was the superman dive on to the floor. His sending off was the worst end was to the worst game.

 What can you do? It's just one of those games, on that Sunday in December, we were well and truly robbed. However the only thing you can do is pick yourselves back up again and not let the loss get to you. What a game to mark the 20th 'A View From The Stands', and the 21st will be our home game to second bottom Oldham Athletic and given our previous track record is the sort of game we would definitely drop points at.

 My Man Of The Match - Ruben Lameires - Despite almost having his career ended in the first half, Ruben was running the game down the right wing before being, wrongly in my opinion, substituted off. Out of nowhere, Lameires is the joint leader of awards with Adam Armstrong, interesting fact ( to me ) every time Lameires has won an award, we have lost the game.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

My Eighteenth 15/16 Game - Coventry City vs Doncaster Rovers

 Still unbeaten at home going into the game and off the back of the Gillingham win, Doncaster seemed easy compared to what we've been doing as they sat in 16th place, but Darren Fergusons men were not to be underestimated, as they were still a strong side. Since the 4-1 victor over Gills, we faced Bradford City away on Tuesday night, I wasn't able to make it so obviously I was unable to write on it. However we ground out a fairly dull nil-nil draw.

 The teams on the other hand differed slightly to Bradford, Charles-Cook started in goal. Predictably, the back four stayed the same as it had for Gillingham and Bradford, Stokes, Martin, Turner and Ricketts lead the line. Fleck returned after being out with a sore hamstring and was accompanied by Vincelot. Kent found his way back into the team with Jim O'Brien and hat trick hero Murphy. Armstrong started once again.

 Still Joe Cole is not managing to make it into the team, having extended his loan, but his fitness issues mean he hasn't gotten in since 'that goal'. But Bigirimana began on the bench. I thought we would take control of possession as we usually do at home, but this was not the case. For me, Donny were on top for most of the first half and we were lucky to get the goal when we did, Ricketts of all people shot from 20 yards but was poorly cleared and was bouncing everywhere imaginable in the box until it came to Armstrong whom slotted home his 13th of the season. This gave us a very important one goal lead on the half-hour mark.

 We took this lead into half time, but by no means did we look convincing, we needed to tighten our defence and not assume we'd already won. My suspicions became true when just 7 minutes in to the second half a scrappy shot and a poor save from Cook meant that Nathan Tyson had an easy tap in to give Rovers the equaliser. From here we began to take control, and only another 7 minutes later from a cleared corner we did when John Fleck smashed home from 25 yards. However there was some poor goalkeeping involved so we got a bit lucky.

  I hate our tactic of when we're winning, just passing it round the back and inviting in pressure, because teams figure it out, like Swindon did, and now Doncaster when John Fleck wasn't concentrating and gave the ball straight to Donny and for Nathan Tyson to stick past Cook to put them level for the second time this game. Poor from Fleck, gifting them a goal. We tried attacking to get a winner again but it didn't come and we drew our second game in a row.

 Technically we're still top for now, but a win from Burton and a big win from Walsall could see us drop as far as 3rd. Unlikely, but lets hope we're still top by our next game in 2 weeks time away to Sheffield United, which will not be the 19th 'A View From The Stands' but the 20th, as for the first time, I will be doing a non Coventry City game. Wait and see to see which game I'm going to!

My Man Of The Match - Romain Vincelot - He had good competition from Fleck but after the mistake it has to go to Vincelot, he played good football at either end of the pitch so he gets his first award, he has really been an unsung hero this season and deserves recognition.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

My Seventeenth 15/16 Game - Coventry City vs Gilingham

  2nd in the league and entering a top of the table clash, we needed to all pull together to try and get a good result against the league leaders. Since Colchester we have made two forays into the transfer market, bringing back 2 former city players and fan favourites Ben Turner and Gael Bigirimana on loan until January 3rd. We had also extended the loan deal of Joe Cole until the same day, giving him more time to gain fitness and hopefully play more games and contribute to the team more.

 Since we now have 6 loan players, and only 5 can be in the match squad at any one time, it was Joe Cole that drew the short straw and missed out. I never thought I'd see the day that Joe Cole would struggle to get in to a Coventry City side, but in all seriousness, we had fielded a very strong side for such a huge game. Charles-Cook started in net, with Ricketts and Stokes at the full back positions. Ben Turner made his debut for his second spell at the Sky Blues partnered with Aaron Martin. Bigirimana didn't mange to break into the first team upon his comeback so Fleck and Vincelot played once more.

 Ryan Kent returned from international duty to play along side Jim O'Brien and the in form Jacob Murphy shadowing Adam Armstrong who also came back from representing England Under 19s. Returning to the Ricoh were ex-city strikers Dominic Samuel and Cody McDonald but this time were playing for Gillingham. So, many returns in what promised to be a cracker of a match, and it did not disappoint to say the last.

 The game began with the Sky Blues on top in my opinion. But we couldn't make the final ball into the box to get the upper hand, the game really kicked off on the 30th minute when Armstrong bolted down the left wing and crossed the ball in for Jacob Murphy who had an easy tap in chance but somehow managed to put it wide. I was afraid that this may lower his confidence and we might live to rue this miss, and it looked as if this would be the case when Cody McDonald won a header from a Gillingham corner and it was flying into the top corner but the captain Ricketts managed to head it away.

 From the same corner, we managed to break and after a defensive mistake Jacob Murphy found himself running through on goal with Armstrong to his right but he wasn't needed, Murphy rounded the keeper and even though it wasn't the cleanest of finishes, they all count and we were 1-0 up on 34 minutes. This was the point in which the floodgates really opened and less than 2 and a half minutes later Ryan Kent won a corner which he himself floated in the box for Reda Johnson's replacement Ben Turner to head home to give us a more comfortable lead on his Ricoh return.

 We carried on pressing and another 4 minutes later Jim O'Brien split open the Gillingham defence with a killer pass through to Murphy whom, in almost identical fashion to his first, rounded the keeper and scored on his left peg, this time a lot smoother and from slightly further out. We still weren't finished even now, just before half time Chris Stokes found some pace from somewhere and crossed it to the edge of the 6-yard box where Jacob Murphy was waiting, ready to smash past the keeper for his hat trick.

 As half time came around, somehow, in 10 minutes, we had scored 4 goals and Jacob Murphy had a hat trick in as many minutes. It was an incredible first half, I assumed we would take our foot off the gas given our comfortable lead, but not let them get any early goals back, keep a clean sheet if possible. Into the 2nd half and we almost made it 5 when Armstrong was played through by Kent but could only manage to hit the outside of the right post.

 After the miss we got caught out, Bradley Dack found the ball on the edge of the box and with a slight deflection, Gills had themselves a consolation. We made a couple of substitutions after this to tighten up perhaps, Ben Turner made way for Phillips, I'm sure he didn't expect this kind of debut. Also, Bigirimana made his second debut in the Sky Blue shirt when he replaced Hat trick scoring stand out player Jacob Murphy. A brilliant effort from him and the rest of the team had secured us the win as we played out the remaining minutes without any huge talking points.

 A massive win in such a massive fixture took us top of the pile by 3 points. The result was all the more sweet as Burton were defeated and Walsall drew at home to Sheffield United, giving us breathing space at the top. The 18th 'A View From The Stands' will be our home game against Doncaster as I'm not able to make our mid week trip to Bradford.

My Man Of The Match - Jacob Murphy - Funnily enough, his hat trick is enough to warrant him his 2nd award in 2 weeks. I wasn't his biggest fan to begin with but he has definitely got back into my good books... This puts him in the now group of 3 players on 2 awards, all chasing Adam Armstrong on 3.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

My Sixteenth 15/16 Game Colchester United vs Coventry City

 Off the back of our very disappointing FA cup exit to Northampton, we got back to our league campaign and our first away fixture in 3, Walsall and Burton had their fixtures postponed due to international call ups, meaning a win could take us top depending on the Gillingham score line. However we too had been bitten by the international break as Adam Armstrong and Ryan Kent had both been called up for separate England squads as they usually are.

 Putting the football aside, the night before the match was one which will be remembered in history, as Paris had experienced numerous attacks across the city, this is something which needs to be acknowledged and was done so with a minutes silence in honour of the victims. Romain Vincelot and Marc-Antoine Fortune both had family and friends living in the French capital but have expressed that they have contacted them and say they are safe.

 The French pair both started for the Sky Blues, Vincelot returning from suspension. Partnering Romain was John Fleck, and behind them was the usual back four of Phillips, Martin, Ricketts and Stokes, Reice Charles-Cook came back into the side after a minor injury ruled him out of the Northampton fixture. On the wings were Ruben Lameires and Jim O'Brien, with Jacob Murphy playing behind Fortune.

 The Sky Blues started brightly, with Murphy and Fleck both getting shots away, but it was Colchester who drew first blood, a cross in from Callum Harriott to Macauley Bonne from 2 yards to slip past Charles-Cook who possibly could have done better, but either way, we were 1-0 down within 16 minutes. After the goal went in we seemed to switch off, we were getting lucky as Colchester were having attack after attack and it wasn't happening for them.

 We needed a saviour, and got that in bizarre fashion, Marvin Sordell waltzed through the defence and beat Charles-Cook at his near post but it was the woodwork which denied him as the ball trickled across the line and was soon cleared, it was this which knocked us into shape and it took us just 4 minutes to equalise through Jacob Murphy, when the ball fell to him on the edge of the 6 yard box and he finished well into the bottom corner.

 5 minutes before the break and we took a quick free kick but kicked it straight over the top of everyone for the last defender to easily put his foot on. But he didn't do this, it seemed as if it went straight through it, but this led to Jacob Murphy being 1 on 1 with the keeper whom he rounded with ease to give the Sky Blues the lead for the first time on 40 minutes. We contained our lead and held out until the half time whistle.

 We began the second half as we ended the first, on top. It only took 3 minutes for us to strike again when Ruben Lameires did some good skill to get past the defender, had a shot which former Sky Blue keeper Jones made a hash of and gave it straight to Fortune to give the Sky Blues a comfortable lead so we had some breathing space. From here on in we saw out the game, not playing too defensive, but not too attacking either. Full time eventually came after some good saves by Charles-Cook.

 A good solid win takes us up to 2nd, only behind Gillingham on goal difference. And it is Gillingham we face next at the Ricoh Arena which will be 'A View From The Stands' number 17, and possibly the biggest game of our season so far.

My Man Of The Match - Jacob Murphy - It's no secret I am not his biggest fan, but Jacob played brilliant today and was rewarded with a brace. This gets him off the mark with the awards, behind Lameires, Ricketts and Armstrong on 2 and 3.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

My Fourteenth 15/16 Game - Coventry City vs Barnsley

 3 days after our outrageous comeback against Peterborough, whom were the most in form team in the league, we faced the worst in form team in the league, losing their last 6 games in a row. This was our long awaited game in hand, a win here could see us moving to 1 point off league leaders Walsall, and due to Barnsley's poor form, it was definitely a game we should be winning. With a very good team out, we were in a good position to do so.

 Speaking of the team, Joe Cole made his home debut for the Sky Blues and certainly got a warm welcome. Kent and O'Brien started either side of Cole with League top scorer Adam Armstrong ahead of them. The usual 2 centre midfielders of Fleck and Vincelot started once more along with the usual back 4 of Stokes, Martin, Ricketts and Phillips respectively. Reice Charles-Cook or "Cookie Monster" as he is beginning to be known as, started in net.

 For once, we didn't get off to a "slow start" or have a bad first half and need Mowbray to knock us into shape during the break, as only 2 minutes in, Ryan Kent decided to shoot from 20 yards which flew into the far bottom corner to put us 1-0 up. We had a great first period, and just before the 20 minute mark, Aaron Phillips bolted down the right side and drilled the ball into the box for Adam Armstrong to smash home, putting us 2-0 up and looking great.

 We had a penalty appeal turned down toward the end of the first half when Ryan Kent did one of the best skill moves I've ever seen, a rabona flip-flap through the legs of the defender, and as he darted past him, got an arm to the face and went down, it would have been a soft penalty but I have seen them given before. But this took us into half time, comfortably winning and looking very much the better team. What we needed to do for the second half was consolidate the lead and see the game out, maybe get another goal or two, just don't do anything silly and let a goal in early on.

 But we did exactly that and in the 47th minute, Alfie Mawson scored a header as the Sky Blue defenders decided to switch off. 2-1. A couple of seasons ago, I would not have been surprised if we had gone on and lost the game from this point, but it goes to show how far we have come since then and we hit them straight back. Jim O'Brien played a beautiful through ball over the defence for Armstrong to latch on to and slot home to put us 2 goals ahead for the second time in the game.

 However we made the same mistake again! However this time the goal should not have counted as Josh Scowen handballed it blatantly before smashing in to the far corner past Charles-Cook. Aaron Martin stopped as if he was expecting a free kick to go our way but it never came, we lost our 2 goal advantage again and the moral here is, always play to the whistle. In a very pinball machine game, just 6 minutes after conceding we won ourselves a free kick from about 25 yards, the man we put on it had his chance to show what he was made of, show his first piece of brilliance since signing and he took his chance. Joe Cole, with an incredible strike in to the top corner to put us 4-2 up, with half an hour to play.

 Cole came off shortly after and we had a quiet last half an hour. In the sixth minute of injury time, Aaron Phillips handballed in the box and gave away a very silly penalty which was converted so the game finished 4-3, a good 3 points but we conceded a couple of silly goals which could have, if not been conceded, put us above Gillingham into third on goal difference. However, we had still won our game in hand, we are now level on points with Gills and 1 point off Burton and Walsall in 2nd and 1st.

 The Next 'A View From The Stands' and the 15th one at that will be our home tie against the financially struggling Northampton Town in the first round of the FA cup, a nice change of pace from the normal league fixtures and a good chance to progress through the tournament.

 My Man Of The Match - Joe Cole - A brilliant free kick on the Sky Blues' most high profile players home debut is enough to give him his first award of many hopefully, that is if he stays with us after his loan deal runs out, he says e is happy to, it is all up to Tony Mowbray and Remi Garde for whether that is to happen.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

My Thirteenth 15/16 Game - Coventry City vs Peterborough United

 After being devastated having conceded 2 goals in the final minutes of the game against Swindon, we really were looking to redeem ourselves at home to 'the best in form team in the league' they had just beaten Doncaster 4-0 and were backed by well over 1,000 fans so were definitely not to be messed with. And we very much needed to redeem ourselves, as we had slipped to 6 points off leaders Gillingham, which we were anyway, but 4 points off Walsall and Burton in 2nd and 3rd so we needed a win to bump ourselves up. Walsall and Gillingham were playing one another so obviously they couldn't both take maximum points but this was a real chance to do so.

 I was very, very close to not going to this game due to not being able to get there, but giving away no spoilers, boy I'm glad I did. Joe Cole was nowhere to be seen in the first team or reserves. But he hasn't played football in a very long time so I can understand that. Fortune started behind Armstrong but aside from that and Jacob Murphy playing ahead of Ryan Kent, we played a usual 11. And just 2 minutes in Murphy had a wonderful chance to give the Sky Blues an early lead but smashed straight into the arms of Jak Alnwick, this was a chance he really could not afford to miss but did unfortunately.

 We were made to pay when after a good spell of dominating, Peterborough got the ball on the edge of the box and slotted past Reice Charles-Cook to put posh a goal ahead. We sort of looked to get back in the game, and Armstrong nearly levelled, beating Alnwick however hitting the near post, but on the counter attack Oztumer scored a screamer to double their lead and continuing our unbeaten home record was looking even less likely. The last 10 minutes of the half were Peterborough taking control of the game and us showing no signs of us getting back into it.

 I joked on Twitter saying "Armstrong hat trick and us to win 3-2" when I wasn't that confident we would get anything out of the game at all in reality, however a thought at the back of my head told me that we were the same scoreline down to Peterborough last season and we ended up going on to win 3-2, so we might do it again, why not? We made 2 half time substitutions, bringing Jim O'Brien on for Fortune, and Ryan Kent was brought on for Ruben Lameires. The second half began and the dream could be on was my thought as we just began dominating the game. The chances were just beginning to arrive and everything started to happen for us.

 We made our dominance pay off when after John Fleck struck the post from 25 yards, Vincelot was quick to follow up and with an acrobatic volley, The Sky Blues had got one back with over half an hour left and had every chance of getting points out of it. O'Brien was really changing the game and playing balls to the flanks. 10 minutes to go and we were carrying on pressing when Jacob Murphy did the best thing he's ever done in a city shirt, ran past the last defender, almost falling over in the process, and playing Armstrong in who tapped into the empty net, we were level, it was incredible. We had made up for throwing away a 2 goal lead by coming back from a 2 goal defecit. The best bit was that there was another 8 minutes left for us to snatch a winner.

 Ryan Haynes played the ball to Armstrong with only 3 minutes left and after some Ronaldo-esque skill, he was one on one with the keeper and smashed home on his weaker foot to complete a beautiful comeback and after seeing out 6 minutes of injury time, we had won the game. Most likely my favourite game of the season, along with Fleetwood.

 The next 'A View From The Stands' will be Barnsley at home in our all important game in hand which potentially could take us within one point of top. Lets hope for another win to add to the unbeaten season at the Ricoh Arena in such an Important game.

My Man Of The Match - Jim O'Brien - Yes, I know. He came on as a substitute but he changed the game and I can look no further than him for this weeks award, even if it means he beats Adam Armstrong with his brace.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

My Twelfth 15/16 Game - Swindon Town vs Coventry City

 As promised, here is the Swindon Town game review, and the Peterborough game has not yet happened. However something not mentioned in the Blackpool review was that I was unable to go to the Rochdale away game in the midweek where Joe Cole made his debut and apparently showed good promise but after playing an hour of football, was subbed off and I'm not surprised, his match fitness is poor and needs to be built back up, however his debut was not enough to spark a goal and we drew 0-0. This took us up to 4th, level on points with Sheffield United and Bury, however we had superior goal difference. And 4 points off Walsall in 2nd, 6 off Gillingham in first, and 2 off  Burton in 3rd, however still having that game in hand.

 So ending that mini review and catching up on what was missed, we travelled down to Wiltshire to watch the Sky Blues face struggling Swindon whom stood second bottom above only Crewe, quite a transformation from a team that were at Wembley last season for the Play Off Final having beaten Sheffield United 7-6 on aggregate in the semi final. Our second game without Reda Johnson, Captain Sam Ricketts and Aaron Martin started as centre backs with Phillips and Stokes in the full back positions. Jim O'Brien and Ryan Kent started on either wing with the one and only Joe Cole in the middle. League top scorer Adam Armstrong started up front.

 Reice Charles-Cook today had a chance to beat Sky Blue legend Steve Ogrizovic's impressive amount of minutes without conceding a goal however it was raining which is a Goalkeepers nightmare as there is a much larger chance of fumbling the ball so beating the record would be a tough task for Cookie Monster but I had faith he could do it. The game started off as the previous couple of games did. Dull. I don't know what has happened to the exciting football we have been playing in he early games such as our dismantling of Millwall, but we seem to be playing for 0-0 draws all the time. At one point we passed the ball around the defence and goalie for a good 5-10 minutes, and this took us into half time. Man of the moment Joe Cole was substituted off for Ruben Lameires as he did appear to be struggling.

 I would never stop going to City games don't get me wrong, but the first half was boring and if it weren't for our impressive league form, I think attendances would begin to start dropping. However, completely invalidating my point, we ditched the sitting back tactic and went for it, we began attacking more and appeared to be controlling the game much more, Ryan Kent on the other hand was definitely not having the best game of his career so I was glad to see Jacob Murphy replace him, and you'll not catch me saying that too often.

 We finally made our breakthrough when Chris Stokes did some brilliant play on the wing and played a cross into the box which the Swindon keeper managed to get a hand to and push it out, but only as far as Romain Vincelot who tapped home from close range to put the Sky Blues 1-0 up with 25 minutes left on the clock. We showed no signs of letting this lead slip and when Jacob Murphy got brought down in the box and a penalty was given, we had a chance to seal the game. Marcus Tudgay, on for Adam Armstrong, stepped up and with a poor penalty, missed, but the keeper could only parry the ball to 2 yards out and Tudgay was quickest to the ball so managed to make it 2-0 with only 10 minutes left.

 When you are 2 goals ahead with 10 minutes to play you need to be winning the game, no excuses. But after Tudgay's goal we, for some reason, reverted back to the defensive football that we played in the first half, which may seem well and good, but it just invited pressure in, and we paid the ultimate price. 85 minutes played and Swindon somehow walked through our defence for Ben Gladwin to smash into the roof of the net. Not only did this leave my 2-0 prediction in tatters, but put an end to Cookie Monsters record, however he did beat Oggy by 4 minutes I believe.

 Now, with 4 minutes to play and you're vulnerable from just conceding, the last thing you want to be doing is giving away an injury time penalty. At the time I thought this was a bad decision, but replays, and Dave Bennett when I rang up BBC C&W to complain, have told me that it wasn't a bad decision, whether or not it was for the Aaron Martin foul or the Aaron Phillips handball, it was a penalty. Nicky Ajose slotted home to score the equaliser and just over a minute later, the full time whistle went. It was a draw which felt like a loss, and if we'd have held on we would be above Burton in third. The game in hand against Barnsley is beginning to look increasingly more important.

 We stayed fourth, 1 point ahead of Wigan, Sheffeld United and Bury but the gap between us and first is loking bigger each game. As I said, winning our game in and against Barnsley is crucial, but before that we have a game against Peterborough United which is just as important to our season and will also be the 13th instalment to 'A View From The Stands'.

My Man Of The Match - Chris Stokes - Assisting Vincelot's goal and good play at both ends of the pitch gave Stokes his first award of the season, putting him in joint third place on 1 award. 2nd is Ricketts on 2, and first is Armstrong on 3.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

My Eleventh 15/16 Game - Coventry City vs Blackpool

 My Eleventh game of the season following the Sky Blues took me to the Ricoh Arena to watch us face recently relegated, struggling and poorly owned Blackpool, and in my opinion Oyston is ruining their club and needs to leave to stop a club whom were in the premier league 6 years ago, from dropping into the fourth tier of English football however this is looking unlikely as the seasiders sat in the relegation zone.

 During my review of the Fleetwood game I promised that I would be back up to date, now this hasn't happened as since then I have been to see us play Swindon away since writing that, however I PROMISE that I will be up to date for the Peterborough game coming up. Before I review the actual game, OH MY GOD. JOE COLE. JOE. COLE. We signed Joe Cole on an emergency loan from Aston Villa, it may only be for 35 days but Joe Cole is literally my childhood in a footballer and I may or may not have bought this seasons home kit with his name on the back.

 Cole however wasn't eligible to play in the game so Kent played alongside Armstrong and Murphy, all behind Fortune. Fleck and Vincelot in the middle, both playing in front of the usual back four of Stokes, Ricketts, Johnson and Martin. And good old Reice Charles-Cook (Cookie Monster) started once more in net having still not conceded a league goal this season. George Thomas started on the bench after winning us the game against Fleetwood ( even if the goal wasn't his) however today he would not get a chance in the first team,

 Now I'm not going to sugacoat it, the game was horribly boring, there was 2 talking points of the entire match, the first was after a bit of good play by Jacob Murphy down the wing and he clipped the ball into Adam Armstrong who had an easy chance from 5 yards which you would expect him to smash home however he completely fluffed his lines and the ball went out for a throw. He obviously seemed devastated that he hadn't managed to put the Sky Blues ahead.

 The second big talking point was the injury of Reda Johnson. He perhaps tried too hard in a tackle to stop Blackpool from scoring but he limped off and on came Aaron Phillips in his place. It looked a bad one as he was on the floor for a while and it has since been revealed by the club that he suffered a detached hamstring tendon and is likely to be out for threst of the season. This has hurt our promotion chances deeply as Reda is our known talisman, but Reda himself has insisted he will come back from this stronger. He went off to choruses of "Reda Johnson Baby, Reda Johnson Ohhh" Rumours that his contract would be terminated were dismissed by Coventry on Twitter immediately saying CCFC stands by their players. Get Well soon Reda.

 Reda's injury was a bad end to a bad performance, we didn't deserve to win. Blackpool are a team we definitely need to beat to keep up our promotion chances so when the game finished 0-0, I was bitterly disappointed. However in a way we got away with it, Walsall lost at home to Chesterfield 2-1, Burton lost 4-0 away at Steven Pressley's Fleetwood, I'm happy to see him doing well as the new boss. We sat 5th but still had that all important game in hand which at this point it time would take us 2nd, 1 point behind leaders Gillingham.

 That brings the most boring game that I have reviewed to date to an end, 'A View From The Stands' will return for Swindon Town away, as I have said, and I promise I will do it before the Peterborough game.

My Man Of The Match - Sam Ricketts - An unsung hero would probably be an overstatement and it was definitely a case of who doesn't deserve it rather than who does but Ricketts had a solid game in defence, keeping out all that the Blackpool attack had to throw at him.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

My Tenth 15/16 Game - Fleetwood Town vs Coventry City

The magic tenth game I'm writing about, don't know why it's magic but still, we faced Fleetwood Town away from home and it was a big one due to the fact that Steven Pressley was managing his first game as Fleetwood manager having been announced as the new boss during mid week, and what a first game to have, against his former club. At the time I was sad to see good old Elvis go, however I wouldn't change the events since, Mowbray definitely seems to be the right man for the job and that has shown with our impressive league form.

 Reice Charles-Cook once again started but this time ahead of a fully fit Lee Burge, implying that he's taken his place in the first team, perhaps permanently. I was happy he was getting another chance, as I believe he is  better than Burge and is also taller, and as everyone knows, the taller you are, the better keeper you are as height is a great trait for a keeper to have. Also, Armstrong and Kent were both away on international duty so Fortune started with Lameiras behind. Murphy and O'Brien began on the wings.

 Aside from 2 early Fleetwood chances, which went just past the post, the first 20 minutes was fairly boring. After this we began to get into the game more and we had a chance which Jacob Murphy should have definitely put away. However this did not hide the fact that the first half  was incredibly dull. My highlight was another city fan intimidating Fleetwood striker Hunter and taking the mickey out of his height. The funny thing is was that he's actually 5 foot 10. When Fleetwood had first half corner opportunities and Richard Wood came up for the attack he also got a rather large piece of the banter being served by the Sky Blue Army.

 I, like everyone else, was hoping the second half would be more entertaining than the last, and it was exactly that, both sides were having chances, but we definitely had the better of those chances. We were just having constant attacks, making runs into the box but not actually making the final ball to get the all important goal, it was obvious that we missed Ryan Kent and Adam Armstrong. Fleetwood had an attack on the counter which was passed across the box and Charles-Cook scrambled across to see the strike hit the outside of the post. He had it covered, that's what you tell people...

 For the entire of the second half, the Coventry fans were 'bullying' the Fleetwood goalkeeper Chris Maxwell, this all stemmed from Maxwell chatting back to the same supporter whom was having a go at Hunter. It's all very confusing but funny at the same time. In an unlikely turn of events, all this seemed to pay off. Substitute George Thomas took the ball passed two players to have a shot from 20 yards which Maxwell parried straight onto the chest of the one and only Richard Wood whom saw the ball into the net with nothing he could do about it. By the way, all of this happened in the 90th minute! Which meant we saw out the game to pick up a massive 3 points at the expense of former city Centre Half Wood.

What a game to mark the tenth 'A View From The Stands' and Number 11 was the following week, versus Blackpool at home and if I write it in time for Swindon away. I will FINALLY be back up to date with these. And as I say number 11 is Blackpool but the day before, the Sky Blues announced one of their biggest and one of their best signings in years...

My Man Of The Match - Richard Wood - No? Ok maybe not...

My ACTUAL Man Of The Match - Reice Charles-Cook - Since giving George Thomas the award for 12 minutes of football would be a bit suspicious. I am giving Reice a well overdue award which he deserved against Shrewsbury but could not be given to him due to a brace from Adam Armstrong, so he gets one this week after another superb clean sheet.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

My Ninth 15/16 Game - Coventry City vs Shrewsbury Town

 After the previous week and it's disappointing loss to Bury, the Sky Blues faced Shrewsbury Town at home in a must win game. Shrewsbury stood 16th in the table after having beaten recently relegated Blackpool 2-0. This was a game we should definitely win as City were 12 places above the Shrews. One major difference in our line up was the fact that Reice Charles-Cook started instead of Lee Burge as he wasn't match fit due to an illness he had sustained. All season I had wanted to see how Reice could perform in a league game and was finally getting his debut and his chance to shine.

 As well as Charles-Cook starting, we had our usual back four and Midfield. However Marc-Antoine Fortune got his first league start playing alongside league one top scorer Adam Armstrong. The first big talking point of the game was when Ryan Kent ran through on goal and got brought down in what looked like a stone wall penalty which wasn't given, we weren't too phased by this and carried on attacking. 25 minutes in the ball found itself to Adam Armstrong who struck beautifully on the edge of the box right into the far corner to put the Sky Blues 1-0 up.

 This really set the game alight, we were attacking and attacking, we had a second penalty appeal turned down, this time it maybe could have been given either way so I wasn't surprised to see the referee wave it away. We had a third appeal, this one was perhaps the biggest shout of them all, Kent had his legs taken out from behind, the linesman was in the perfect position to make the call but gave a corner, the foot of the defender was about a yard away from the ball, in my opinion a shocking decision.

 We finally had a decision go our way when Fortune wrong footed  Nathaniel Knight-Percival whom completely blocked him from getting the ball. After 4 times of asking, we finally had a penalty awarded, Fortune stepped up after the ball had been given to him by Armstrong who seemed happy to give Marc an opportunity to score his first goal in a city shirt. He did that exactly, beating the keeper ,who dived the right way, in the same corner that Armstrong scored his goal 20 minutes previous.

 This was scored on the stroke of half time and we went in 2-0 up after a brilliant first half. I was hoping for more of the same when the boys came back out, the first 15 minutes were quiet but after 65 minutes we had another chance to put the game out of sight, Armstrong struck a beautiful striker for 18 yards past the keeper to do exactly that. The pressure was off and we had put it beyond doubt that we were going to win the game, Shrewsbury needed a miracle.

 Not much happened for the remainder of the game, solid defensive work made sure we kept the clean sheet, Charles-Cook had a very good debut, not having much to deal with but comfortably dealt with what he had, leaping to save corners put in to the box, and being quick to start counter attacks when players were far forward.

 The 10th 'A View From The Stands' will be Fleetwood Town away, obviously I've already been, and it's a cracker to mark number 10 to say the least, as it is Steven Pressley's first game as Fleetwood manager, and he faces his former club.

My Man Of The Match - Adam Armsrong - Despite Charles-Cook's bright league debut, 2 great goals from the on loan Newcastle United striker mean that he gets his third award this year and pulls away from the chasing pack all on one, can anyone stop him?

My Eighth 15/16 - Game Bury vs Coventry City

 Arguably, this Bury away game was our most important this season, as both teams came into the game in a play off place. I wasn't sure how this game would turn out, however a win would really help us with our impressive start to the season. One talking point before the match was Leon Clarke's first game lining up against the Sky Blues since putting in a transfer request and moving to Wolves in the January transfer window of the 13/14 season. Coventry fans had been warned by current City player Aaron Martin that Clarke will use the booing as ammunition to haunt his former club. If I'm being completely honest, I still held bad feeling toward Leon and was part of the boing crowd.

 Despite not being Clarke's biggest fan to say the least, I was hoping he was show the travelling Sky Blue Army some respect and not respond to any comments made toward him. Now aside from returning players, we fielded pretty much our strongest side with Ricketts, Armstrong, Johnson and Kent all starting, and my least favourite player Jacob Murphy started also. I would say the Sky Blues started the better with 3 early corners in our favour, however we made nothing of the small amount of chances we had.

 Perhaps somewhat on the break, 20 minutes in Chris Hussey, another former City player, won a free kick on the left just outside the box. Hussey was stood on the free kick. He was expected to take a shot on goal, however, the Coventry defence was caught out when he squared it across the box to find, guess who, Leon Clarke, who slotted home into the top corner. So after poor defending the Sky Blues found themselves 1-0 down at Gigg Lane, Clarke celebrated really proudly, Which was the first thing that annoyed me about what he did in the game.

 The second was 5 minutes in to the second half, another piece of poor defending, this time from Chris Stokes let Leon Clarke run through on goal down the right side of the pitch however he was being chased down by Aaron Martin who was winning the 50/50 battle, now this my sound bitter and controversial, but Clarke knew this was happening and that he was losing so felt the only option was to go to ground, now I saw it wasn't a penalty, all Coventry fans AND Bury fans saw it wasn't a penalty, even the referee saw it wasn't a penalty! But the linesman in "the best place to make the call" gave the penalty so the referee had to take his word for it...

 Leon stepped up and Burge really should have saved, but all he could manage was a palm on it so it just carried on in to the net for Bury, and Clarke's second. At this point we really needed a saviour to get us back into the game, we had brought on Marcus Tudgay and Marc-Antoine Fortune for Jacob Murphy and Jim O'Brien respectively. But it was neither of those that would give us a chance, after a corner was put into the box and flicked on, fan favourite and former captain Reda Johnson knocked home with a bullet header to give us a chance.

 This made it 2-1 with a good 25 minutes plus injury time left to play and we began to dominate, we were having all the chances and Bury couldn't even get a look in. No matter how many chances we had, we just couldn't make the breakthrough. Perhaps the most notable of chances came with 5 minutes to go when Sam Ricketts of all people ran through and belted a shot from 25 yards which struck the bar. We also had a penalty appeal turned down, which in my opinion if you give the Leon Clarke penalty then you would have to give this one. Unfortunately this marked the end of the game. We could not manage to even steal a point when in my opinion we deserved at least a draw if not all 3 points.

 However at the end of the day, moaning about it won't change the fact that we lost, all we could do was look ahead to the next game, which is Shrewsbury at home and will be A view from the stands number 9.

 Man Of The Match - Reda Johnson - The fact that he got the goal and gave us a boost when we really needed it contributed massively to Reda's 'award' if you can call it that! He adds to the 1 point list who still trail Adam Armstrong on 2 as we move one step closer to seeing who gets the coveted Man Of The Season award.


 

Saturday, 10 October 2015

My Seventh 15/16 Game - Coventry City vs Chesterfield

 I'm writing this on the coach to Fleetwood, which is 3 games in the future of where I am writing about now, I really need to stay on top of this! We came into the game off the back of a very disappointing defeat to Scunthorpe and we really needed to win to stay in the same area as the "big boys" of Burton, Walsall and Gillingham. But Chesterfield were 8th in the league and really wanted to move into the Play Offs with a win.

 We had the home advantage and I really hoped we would comfortably win so I said 2-0 to the Sky Blues pre Match. The First half was very dull, neither side had any real breakthrough or any clear goal scoring oppourtunities. Ryan Kent was given his first start and was a bit of an exception, he was playing the passes but no one was latching on to them. Adam Armstrong was having a quiet game and he was really looking to get his first goal since Crewe.

 As I said the first half had nothing to talk about, and when we came into half time, I was hoping for a piece of Mowbray Magic to set the game alight. The second 45 minutes began quite as the first ended, nothing really happening, until about 15 minutes in, where Adam Armstromg latched on to ball 12 yards out and rather scrappily finished into the far corner. Until it happened, I was beginning to think the goal would never come but with his sixth of the season, Armstrong put the Sky Blues 1-0 up.

 This goal triggered something, I don't know what but it did, we were having chance after chance after chance, however there was a scary moment when Chesterfield countered and appeared to score but was given offside. This was probably the right decision but I was on the other side of the stadium so was not able to see. We continued to press on and attack. Our players looked as if they didn't want to shoot so we're giving the oppourtunity to someone else. This applied especially to Fortuné.

 Perhaps our most notable attack other than the goal was Ryan Kent whom had a ball played into him and he danced round the keeper to slot into the net, he was flagged offside. I was adamant he was on, which he was, a poor decision by the linesman who was in the prime position to make the call. I really wanted us to score a second to avoid conceding a late undeserved equaliser, this wasn't to be. However we won the game after Chesterfield had Dieseruvwe sent off. (Definitely had to google the spelling)

 A game we should have won more comfortably but a win is a win and 3 points is 3 points. In our next game we had Bury away, which will be the next instalment of 'A View From a The Stands' however I have already been, I promise I will catch up to real time at one point or another!

Man Of The Match - Ryan Kent - Making runs and playing the passes all over the pitch was enough for me to give Kent the award he also should have a goal to cap off his performance but it was given offside. This put him on the ever growing list of players on 1 award, with Armstrong on 2.

Friday, 2 October 2015

My Sixth 15/16 Game - Scunthorpe United vs Coventry City

So, part 2 of the 4 games I didn't do and we face Scunthorpe away. Once again, we came in as favourites and I was optimistic for our chances, we really needed to win, however in previous years we've not been the best against them, especially away plus it's a pain to get to so if we came away with nothing then I would be annoyed.

 Before the game even started there was tension, there always would be as it was the first time Judas, sorry Mark Robins, had managed against us since he left in 2013 for Huddersfield, that ended well didn't it Mark! Another trip down memory lane was the return of my favourite ever Coventry player Gary McSheffrey, he got a much warmer welcome than Robins.

 There isn't much to say about the first half, after all it was 0-0 at the break, but I'm not going to sugar-coat it, we were dominated, I wouldn't say that it was down to Scunthorpe being exceptinally good, but us being exceptionally bad. We seemed afraid to get stuck in, we never looked like we were in the game for the first half. I hate criticising City players, but if there is one I really don't like then it is Jacob Murphy, he seems lazy and doesn't look like he wants to play for the football club.

 I was happy to see we made it to half time without conceding and was hoping Mowbray could sort the boys out and we might be able to snatch a winner in the second half. At the break I thought about if we would bring our new loan signing Ryan Kent on, and prayed it would be for Murphy. When the second 45 began, those prayers were answered when that exact substitution was made. However this didn't change much, we looked slightly better but couldn't put i the final ball.

We only began to seem like the better team in the last 15 minutes, another new signing was brought on in Marc-Antoine Fortune was looking bright along with Kent but no-one could get a shot on goal, this was to be our downfall, we perhaps tried too hard as on 79 minutes we were caught on the break and Paddy Madden won Scunthorpe the game. This seemed to break us. From here on in all of our attacks seemed to fizzle out.

This wasn't the best game I've ever seen, we were poor, after this loss it was very important to beat Chesterfield at home the following week to keep up our form and stay with the likes of Burton, Walsall and Gillingham whom are pushing for promotion. And the Chesterfield game will be part 7, which again has already happened, bare with me on that...

My Man Of The Match: Lee Burge - Me and Burgey have a love hate relationship, but keeping Scunthorpe out for as long as he did is deservant of an award. Burge is added to the ever growing list of players on 1 award. Adam Armstrong still ahead on 2.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

My Fifth 15/16 Game - Coventry City vs Southend United

  So I have a little bit of explaining to do... Yes, it's been a month since my last post and the Walsall game, and also over a month since the game I'm about to review, after some influence to carry on  and being armed with my laptop, an amazing memory and a stack full of the always prestigious Man Of The Match awards to dish out I'm ready to do all 4! Here's number 1!

We'd just come off the back of a disappointing 2-1 away defeat to Walsall, and we wanted to bounce back straight off with a win against recently promoted Southend. Now I have a slight affiliation to Southend, I wouldn't go as far as to saying they are a second team but I like to see them win, however I ditched those feelings for this night and wanted us to demolish them, and I went in with a cool 3-0 prediction.

 Now the first Half an hour was quite dull, neither team looked like taking control of the game. I would have to say that we were fairly lucky to go 1-0 up through Big Reda Johnson on 34 minutes. I genuinely thought that we would take control of the game now that the all important first goal had gone to us. Unfortunately we conceded straight away, caught out with our own tactic of the short corner and a free header gifted to Noel Hunt meant that Southend equalised within 2 minutes of us going 1-0 up. We needed to pick ourselves right back up again which we didn't exactly do.

I don't want to go into much detail about the penalty decision, it seemed like a 50/50 challenge and whoever it was seemed to be looking for the challenge. Controversial penalty or not, Southend went 2-1 up. Burge should have definitely saved it, he got something on it but it wasn't nice to see us behind when we probably shouldn't have been, the scoreline stayed this way as we went in to half time a goal down. We really needed to come out fighting and if possible take all 3 points away.

Once we came out, almost out of nowhere, Sam Rciketts drew a penalty early on. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to draw level and possibly even go on and win the game. Jim O'Brien stepped up confidently and looked as if he was going to break the net with his shot. He started his run up and smashed it straight ho- Oh wait, no he didn't, it was one of the crappest penalties I've ever seen. Easily saved. We seemed broken after this and needed a saviour, but I didn't think it would come this way...

 This began the birth of a Coventry song which has been sung in every game since, our rendition of Bob Marley's 'Three Little Birds' despite not having the game going our way, the Sky Blue Army carried on. We got a corner, but we chose not to opt with the short corner tactic. The ball was placed on the corner of the 6-Yard Box and Sam Ricketts, whom had slipped away from his marker, leapt like a Salmon to rise and smash it in through a header. 2-2.

 This lit a fuse somewhere, because all of a sudden everything started to click. We were pressing and pressing looking for the winner, our biggest chance came from substitute Marcus Tudgay in the 94th minute, where he should have scored but an incredible save by Daniel Bentley meant we were held to a draw.

The next A View From The Stands is Scunthorpe away as I couldn't make it to Burton. Obviously it's already happened but I won't give any spoilers.

My Man Of The Match: Sam Ricketts - Winning a penalty and scoring a header was enough to get the captain my vote for todays award. This puts him on the group of players on one vote. just behind Adam Armstrong. One step closer to my 'Player Of The Season'...






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Sunday, 23 August 2015

My Fourth 15/16 Game - Walsall vs Coventry City



  Looking at our first four games, who would have thought that Walsall would be the biggest test of the lot. We came into the game top of the league, and the Saddlers were third, it was a match that could go either way with both teams having great starts from what was predicted before the season began. I was fairly optimistic but knew that we couldn't underestimate them as they are this high for a reason.

 We began with some bad news, James Maddison went off injured after about 3 minutes and on came Jacob Murphy, he obviously came on a lot earlier than he originally anticipated so it took him a while to get into the game, I don't know if this sub shook us up at all but we just looked scared to even touch them. Roughly 10 minutes in, Murphy had a golden opportunity to put the Sky Blues 1-0 up which he squandered and the Keeper saved with ease.

  Sitting on the front row at a smaller ground means that you have a closer view of the players and their actions in the game, meaning I got a closer look at the right side in the first half, especially the right side of then defence, Sam Ricketts and Jordan Willis. Ricketts is a big guy, so being beaten in the air by the Walsall attack isn't something you want to see. Willis also didn't look comfortable heading it away or attacking for that matter. Lameires looked bright and had the ball in the opposition half on a couple of occasions but wasn't able to do anything with it.

 Credit where credits due, Walsall were good defensively and looked bright in the midfield, but with respect, we should have done a lot better. We just looked off and uninterested for the entire game, around 35-40 minutes in, I was hoping that we could just hold out until half time so Tony Mowbray could give them some words of encouragement and inspire the team to victory, but that wasn't to be. Andrew Forde I believe was played through on goal and slotted past Burge into the back of the net to make it 1-0 to Walsall going into half time.

 We came back out for the second half looking the same as we did going in, nothing seemed to be happening for the sky blues. a long shot from god knows who was parried straight to someone in the box by Lee Burge who smashed into an open net to put the Sky Blues 2-0 down. Just a few minutes later we had a corner which was played short and a 1-2 back to Jacob Murphy left him 25 yard out, just outside the box, he bolted it past the flying hand of the Walsall goalkeeper to give the Sky Blues a glimmer of hope in the game.

 The next 5 minutes belonged to the Sky Blues, however from here on in there were some controversial refereeing moments, in the Walsall box we had a stone-wall penalty decision for hand ball turned down, the referee got in the way of a slow moving pass which he could easily move back from to dodge when we were on the attack. Finally when Murphy was pulled down halfway in the opposition half and a free kick was awarded to Walsall, not even for diving! Now blaming the referee gets you labelled as bitter so I won't do that but I think that penalty decision might have changed the game.

 This was how the game ended, it was a poor performance all around, we didn't look the same side that defeated Wigan, Millwall and Crewe. The boys have a lot of work to do for the next game. Obviously it is disappointing to no longer have neither an unbeaten record or be top of the league. Third place isn't bad and I would have definitely taken 9 points from 12 in the first 4 games, hopefully we can beat Southend next Monday to stay up there with the big boys and hopefully stay there for the rest of the season.The Fifth 'A View From The Stands' will be that game against Southend United on Monday the 31st of August.

My Man Of The Match: Ruben Lameires - Despite the loss, Lameires looked good down both wings all game, it's just a shame that it didn't get us a win. This levels him with John Fleck on 1 man of the match title, Adam Armstrong still leads with 2.
 



Thursday, 20 August 2015

My Third 15/16 game - Coventry City vs Crewe Alexandra


  After not conceding a single goal in our opening 2 fixtures against Wigan and Millwall, we sat impressively at the top of the league one pile, level on points with Rochdale. We came into a game against Crewe Alexandra, Tony Mowbray insisted that the boys hadn't looked at the table ahead of the game, and weren't going to be until January to assess where we were and what needed improving in the transfer window. I also didn't want to get carried away and Crewe are meant to be our supposed 'bogey team',which was a thought that was at the back of my head pre-match.


After a delay of 15 minutes due to high crowds at the ticket office, the game began. It looked as if we took control instantly and after only 12 or so minutes the ball found its way to John Fleck on the edge of the box who smashed it on the half volley in to the back of the net. There was a minutes applause on the 15th minute to mark the age of Jayden Parsons who was a Sky Blues fan who died suddenly this week and there were choruses of "Jayden Parsons he's one of our own".


 Around the 30th minute mark crew scored a beauty in the far corner, however it looked as if Lee Burge could have done slightly better if he had dived at full stretch. We seemed a bit shocked after the goal went in, as if Crewe hadn't read the script, but after a dull 5 minute period we looked to take control of the game again. The score stayed the same at half time and I was impressed with our performance so far, we just needed to get 1 or 2 goals to see out the game.


  Barely into the second half, the one and the only Adam Armstrong scored a beautiful goal in the bottom corner to beat the Crewe keeper. This put us 2-1 up and there were feelings of jubilation all around, I don't think we'd even finished celebrating the goal when Crewe equalised once more through a good chip through ball and an easy finish past Burge, Reda Johnson looked furious with the Sky Blues defence after conceding that goal.


 Despite that goal going in, we looked fired up to go on and win the game. We were having so many chances, on in which some great play in the midfield and a flick on from Chris Stokes led to Jim O'Brien smashing into the side netting. Another chance from Adam Armstrong 6 yards out which looked a certain goal was saved brilliantly by the Crewe Goalie. We kept having chance after chance and it began to look lie it wasn't going to happen for us.

 8 minutes to go and Jim O'Brien took a shot on the half volley from about 25 yards out, it wasn't the most powerful of shots but it still managed to find it's way into the bottom corner to make it 3-2. We had finally made our third breakthrough, we made sure we didn't repeat what happened with the other 2 and we didn't concede and we saw out the game.

 A brilliant game with a lot of drama, at times I didn't think we were going to but in the end, the best team won, and that's not me being biased with 29 shots to Crewe's 6 and 63% possession you really couldn't argue otherwise. and incredibly, we are still top of the league, 2 points clear of Gillingham in second. The fourth instalment to 'A View From The Stands' will be our away trip to third placed Walsall in which we have sold out all 2,200 tickets given to us. It should be a cracker.

My Man Of The Match: John Fleck - A brilliant goal and some great play maker work in the midfield really helped him towards this prestigious award. He also helped the defensive line out with some great tackles further back. This gets him off the mark with 1 award, just behind Adam Armstrong on 2, all going towards the holy Man of the season award...

Sunday, 16 August 2015

My Second 15/16 game - Millwall vs Coventry City

   For our second league game this season, we travelled to the new den for our match against another recently relegated side, Millwall. In the week we had faced Rochdale in the Capital One Cup where 2 controversial disallowed goals from Marcus Tudgay  proved that maybe we shouldn't have been knocked out in the way that we were. However with this happening it gave us a chance to focus on the league, and focus on our first league away game of the season.

   Off the back of a brilliant 2-0 home win against Wigan, with both goals coming from loan signing Adam Armstrong, I was keen to see how he would get on against against the Lions, the same feeling occurred for the signing of Jacob Murphy from Norwich on a season long loan. Armstrong started while Murphy was on the bench. Burge started once more after not playing against Rochdale due to Reice Charles-Cook getting his début for city.

   The Sky Blues didn't get off to the best start with Lee Burge conceding a penalty just a few minutes into the game, however he was able to redeem himself by saving the resulting penalty. Just 3 minutes later City punished the miss with one of the goals of the season just 2 games in from Adam Armstrong. 35 yards out with a strike which caught out the Millwall goalkeeper and made it 1-0. We looked raring to go in the game and didn't look finished there, and unsurprisingly, we weren't. On the 15th minute there was a minutes applause to remember Jayden Parsons who died tragically earlier this week at the age of just 15.

  In the 19th minute a brilliant ball through from James Maddison gave Ruben Lameires the chance to score, however it looked a touch to hard but Lameires pulled back and smashed past Forde at the near post to make it 2-0 to the sky blues and we looked on fire! Just  minutes later we added to the tally once more through the man, the myth, the legend that is Adam Armstrong with a perfectly executed chip from the edge of the box to make it 3-0 just 23 minutes in to the game and it was beginning to get embarrassing for Millwall as they showed no sign of getting back into the game for the time being. However city took their foot off the gas for the remainder of the first half to leave the half time score as Millwall 0-3 Coventry.

 Millwall made 2 substitutions at half time and they looked better than they did in the first 45 minutes with them pressuring the Sky Blues but not being able to break down the defence. They looked the better side for a spell of about 15 minutes but were not able to do anything with it, merely hitting the post once. The 62nd minute marked the debut of Jacob Murphy who was keen to impress. Finally in the 80th minute Marcus Tudgay assisted Jim O'Brien whom finshed perfectly in the top corner to make it 4-0 and round off a perfect performance from all area of the pitch!

The third 'A View from the stands' will be our home game to Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday August the 18th.


 My Man Of The Match: Adam Armstrong (Again) I tried to give it to someone else, I really did but he was the best player on the pitch with 2 beautiful goals.  

Monday, 10 August 2015

My First 15/16 Game - Coventry City vs Wigan Athletic

   After what can only be described as an abysmal pre-season, the Sky Blues locked horns with Wigan Athletic at home for the first game of the new campaign. To be completely honest, I was pessimistic about our chances against one of the favourites to clinch promotion back to the Sky Bet Championship, me and my friend got to our seats in a rather packed singers corner claiming that a draw will be a good result. However we were really looking to be proven wrong as there was excitement in the air for the new season.

    When the game began our hopes began to pick up, the sky blue army were in full voice and roaring the team on, we dominated the first 10 minutes and were denied a couple of opportunities by the Wigan defence but in only seemed like a matter of time. 15 minutes in, new loan signing Adam Armstrong made a brilliant run through the middle and a killer ball from Jim O'Brien spilt the Latics open for Armstrong run on to and slot past Richard O'Donnell in the Wigan goal to make it 1-0 to the Sky Blues. The mood in the Coventry end went from excited to ecstatic. Personally I was overwhelmed by our performance but didn't want to get too carried away as it was still very early on.

   Once the goal went in, Wigan started to look increasingly frustrated and it was showing, Ruben Lameires was brought on the edge of the box in what looked like a yellow card foul, we gave the referee the benefit of the doubt and with a scuffed free kick the play carried on. Jim O'Brien was next to have an opportunity and was sprinting down the left side looking poised to put a ball in or even go on to goal himself, but was again brought down near the corner of the area in what also looked like a yellow card-foul but the referee looked scared to go into his pocket and brandish a colour.

   The crowd were chanting "Reda Johnson baby, Reda Johnson Ohhh". So when the ball was floated into the box from the resulting free kick, it had his name written all over it but it wasn't to be, he rose and headed just over the bar. A similar situation occurred when we had a corner just a couple of minutes later, the ball crossed into te box but was headed straight in to the  arms of O'Donnell. The rest of the first half was fairly boring, Wigan had a chance which was comfortably saved by Lee Burge.

  The second half began the same as the first. The Sky Blues were dominating, it looked as if it was only a matter of time. With half an hour to go we won the ball back inside the Wigan half and were pressing forward. The ball was played into Adam Armstrong and from 10 yards he finished beautifully in the bottom corner. From where we were standing it looked like a wayward pass had found its way into the net but replays showed the new man with a great finish.

  After the goal went in, Coventry and especially Armstrong didn't look finished, in the 69th minute he went on a run through and when he got to the edge of the area he was egged on to shoot by the crowd and it smashed off the post and went out. The man from Newcastle obviously was hungry for his hat-trick. Jim O'Brien was subbed off for George Thomas who showed promise for the last 10 minutes.In added time James Maddison matched Armstrong's attempt from earlier on but hit the other post. 

.  That marked the end of the game and I may be slighty biased as a Coventry fan but I thought that 2-0 flattered Wigan slightly, with us hitting the woodwork twice and them not having a clear cut chance for a shot on goal. I came back from the Ricoh Arena feeling overjoyed. Adam Armstrong was simply suberb. I'm most likely not able to make it to the Rochdale game in the Capital One Cup in which Steve McLaren has asked Tony Mowbray to not play so we could struggle to make it through to round 2.

   The next insert to 'A View From The Stands' will be our trip to Millwall on Saturday the 16th of August which will be tricky as they are another relegated team but if we play as well as we did against Wigan then I don't see why we can't repeat and get a win from the new den.

My Man Of The Match: Adam Armstrong (Surprisingly)