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 d├ębut 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)