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'...