Saturday, 31 December 2016

My Thirty-Ninth 16/17 Game - Peterborough United vs Coventry City

 Ok, yet another game where when writing the I have to try and not cry on to my keyboard, but for completely different reasons to usual. I wasn't at Bristol Rovers (The first match I've missed in months) so can't comment on the performance but from what I hear it was exactly like it usually is. Dire. It's unfair to blame Russell Slade, he should be judged on whether he's a successful manager or not after January.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Sterry
Willis
Turnbull
Page

McCann
Stevenson
Rose

Thomas
Tudgay
Reid

Coventry City Substitutes

Charles-Cook
Kelly-Evans
Bigirmana
Jones
Lameiras
Sordell
Agyei

I heard a rumour pre-match that Sordell would be off to Burton Albion, the team selection almost confirmed it. Every single game he's available for selection he starts, yet this time he was on the bench. Plus Stevenson is rumoured to be on his way out to either Brentford or Wolves depending on whoever puts in the better offer. I'm not sure how I'll cope with the loss of my personal favourite "Sordellinho". I suppose I'll have to take it as a surprise but I can't say it's going to be pretty.

 First Half

In the first half something very strange was going on, Coventry City were performing quite well in a game of football. That paid off when the ball fell pleasantly to Jordan Willis in the 6 yard box after a corner and he poked it past McGee to give the Sky Blue faithful a feeling that had not been experienced in so long. Joy.

 It was a mix of jubilation and pure shock, everyone expected us to go in to the match and get battered, instead we found ourselves 1-0 up. Either way we all very much enjoyed it to say the least. Still looking to get his first career league goal, George Thomas set himself up well and bent an effort towards the far corner which forced a good stop out of McGee.

 Going into the break, it was obvious we were the better team, although there were few clear cut chances we were dictating the pace of the game by controlling possession and forcing Posh to work for the ball rather than vise-versa. For the first time in almost 3 months I went in at the half time break feeling happy.

Second Half

Due to a knock he picked up in the first period, Lewis Page had to be taken off before the second half could commence and was replaced by Dion Kelly-Evans who took up the unnatural position of left-back. Both sides had half chances here and there in the early stages of the second half but nothing was worth shouting about.

 In a bid to give the game a bit more attacking flair, we brought on Jodi Jones for George Thomas on the right. This was a clever change because we had noticed how Kyel Reid's pace had been troubling the Peterborough right back so we thought that we duplicate this by adding Jones in to the equation on the other flank.

 It seemed to work almost instantly, Jones was twisting and turning, running their left back ragged. But unfortunately their quick fix to being destroyed down the wings was very effective, they fouled them. Taking it in turns, the hosts were fouling the pair to stop them proceeding any further. A bit of shirt pulling here, a body check there. I even saw a flying elbow hit Reidy in the face and go unpunished.

 The referees lenience seemed to work in their favour, we couldn't really catch a break, so we ditched the "control the game" policy and reverted back to backs against wall, pray that we don't concede. Peterborough are obviously a good side so they spotted this tactic being used and saw their opportunity. To put it lightly, they started to throw the kitchen sink at us.

I'll credit our defence, for once, and will say that they were doing a good job of keeping them at bay. Although I had a feeling deep down that it wouldn't be enough, we really needed to try and get a second goal. Which I thought we were trying to do when Sordell replaced Tudgay in what could be his last game for the club, that wasn't to be though, he ended up playing a kind of centre midfield role.

 Marcus Maddison was proving a real problem for us, Coulthirst was on the end of one of his crosses but flicked the ball into the arms of Burge. Then Maddison himself stabbed wide, our defensive grip seemed to be slipping away from us, especially when Burge's one hand low down save kept Bostwick out in injury time.

 We had gotten through the worst of it, we were sealing out the game. Or so we thought... We were playing it safe and punted it forward to Sordell. Bostwick was all over his back, plain free kick clear as day. For some reason he didn't give it, then the inevitable happened. Marcus Maddison received the ball on the right wing, sprinted forward, lumped a cross into who else but Bostwick. Unmarked, he got his head round it and equalised.

 It gave us all heartbreak, we all thought that we weren't going to get anything out of the match. But we were devastated to get only one. It's weird how things work out isn't it? Either way, if we're looking at it from a "What would you have wanted pre-match?" perspective then I'm happy with a 1-1 draw.

Still, on to the next fixture we go, against 2nd placed Bolton. Apparently we'll have 3 players in the team by then, one of which has been confirmed to be Nathan Clarke from Bradford. He seems like exactly what we need at this current moment in time. Stuart Beavon is apparently another joining as part of a swap deal with Sordell. We'll have to see what occurs in the next few days, all before game 40 of my football season.

My Man of the Match - Kyel Reid - Aside from being completely taken out on a few occasions and taking an elbow to the nose, Reidy had an excellent game on the left. Hopefully he can turn his inconsistency into some more good performances like today. This is his second award of the season.


Tuesday, 20 December 2016

CCFC Loans - Stick or Twist

 Coventry City are in a dark state both on and off the field, unless something drastic changes we will be relegated to the fourth tier of English football. Even saying those words makes me feel sick, either way, the incoming manager, whoever he may be, has a MASSIVE job on his hands which requires immediate work. The first thing he will do will try to stop SISU getting their grubby paws on Ben Stevenson which will be a hard task that I'm not sure he'll manage.

 The second thing will be to look at our current loans and decide in the week or two between him arriving and the loans expiring, who gets a deal until the end of the season and who should be sent back to their parent club with the hope that we get someone better in. This post is purely my opinion on who deserves to stay and who doesn't. I was going to do something similar last season but what would have been the point? Tony Mowbray acquired so well that I would have kept every single one of them.

Lewis Page

 West Ham fans were angry that they had let Page go out on loan which is always a positive sign, we needed left back cover as Stokes had been ruled out for a few months with a knee injury. He looked like the right man to fill his shoes, but he just hasn't lived up to those expectations. I was never Ryan Haynes' biggest fan as he was more of a winger than a full back, he could attack very well but not defend too well. Page on the other hand can do neither.

  Just every time you see him go on a run down the left flank you know what the outcome will be, and it's the same every time, he gets tackled and then caught out with Turnbull having to cover for him. I still astounds me that we play a loanee over someone who is a Coventry fan, has come through the youth academy and is a lets face it, better player.



 We've played him 4 times this season, once in the league, once in the Capital One Cup, once in the Checkatrade Trophy and once in the FA Cup. In that time he's scored 3 goals, how amazing is that? A left back, has scored 3 goals in 4 appearances. Yet we STILL play Page over him, this is my final comparison, Page sarcastically cheered Coventry fans at Gillingham. Haynes wouldn't do that because he plays for the shirt, just look at the delight on his face from scoring his second at Wycombe. In fact we haven't lost a game when he's been on the field. (Won 3 Drawn 1)

In summary, with Haynes playing well whenever he gets a chance and Stokes being back to full fitness in the new year, there really is no need to keep Page until the end of the season when the funds could be spent on a new centre back for example. I may sound like a hate campaign towards the West Ham man but he really doesn't look like he cares about Coventry City Football Club.

Daniel Agyei

 When he was brought in as our number 9 and scored in the first 20 minutes of his debut people were treating him like a god, comparing him to Adam Armstrong already. They were suggesting he could single handedly get us the goals to keep us up and I'll admit, at Valley Parade he did look like a handful. But it looks to me that it has all gotten to his head. He never goes for the simple pass, he always looks for the spectacular, which is probably why he's only got 4 goals for the season.

 Like I said, there is potential for a very good player there but he's not what we need at this current point in time. Plus only 1 of those 4 goals have come in a win, he has a lot less of an effect than if we played Sordell in his natural position of striker. He really hasn't reached the "Armstrong" heights that we so desperately need, I'm not saying he's a bad player, I'm just saying we need a lot more given our current situation. Potentially go back in for Hepburn-Murphy that we tried for on Deadline Day, or even poach a high end Premier League u21 striker. Something has to change at the very least.

Jamie Sterry

 We seem to have a good relationship with Newcastle, they've loaned us Armstrong, Bigirimana, given us Bigirimana on a free and now have loaned us Sterry. Sterry is a decent right back, I still don't think we should have let go of Aaron Phillips in the summer but he seems to have been replaced well. Unlike Page he can defend and is a decent weapon to have in the locker on the attack, as we saw with his goal at Morecambe in the cup.

  Funnily enough his goal came when playing left back which in the couple of matches he's been drafted in there he's been poor. To be fair to him it's not his fault when he's forced to play out of position. He cares, he tries, and to give a spoiler on the remaining couple of loans, is the only one I would keep until the end of the season. He isn't perfect, but our problems don't lie at right back. Keep him here until the end of the season would be my advice.

Andre Wright

 I've already mentioned our failed attempt to get Rushian Hepburn-Murphy in on Deadline Day, and it would appear that when that deal fell through the general thinking was "Oh no, there's only 2 hours until the deadline shuts. What teams are close?" "West Brom boss?" "That'll do." That's how we ended up with Andre Wright, he literally was the definition of panic signing.

 This has been displayed in his performances, but in fairness Venus plays him on the wing. Either way, he also isn't what we need at this point in time so I would suggest letting him go and having a punt on someone else.

Jack McBean

 If we're contributing to his wages then he can go back to LA, if we're not then we might as well keep him for the u23s. He's doing well there but can't cut it in the first team, but if he's enjoying football here in England then we might as well let him stay here in England. As long as we don't keep him to play in the first team then anything is fine by me.

I'm not going to include Chris McCann, he is going to America whatever happens so we have no chance to keep him either way, whatever my opinion may be. It's horrible that we're even in this position but we have to make the best out of a bad situation, which in our case happens to be with the loan market. Sometimes you get lucky and hit the jackpot with Armstrong, Murphy, Kent, Cole and Turner. Other times you get Agyei, Wright, Page, Sterry and McBean.

  I'm not attending Bristol Rovers away on Boxing Day as much as it pains me to say, but I "should" be going to my next match on the 27th of December and reporting on it. Derby County vs Birmingham City, I'm also getting very close to 50 grounds out of the 92, Derby will take it to 48. Then I'm scheduled to go to Watford vs Burton in the FA Cup on January 7th. My 50th is to be decided as of yet.

Friday, 16 December 2016

An Eventful Few Days...

 I last wrote on Coventry City after our 1-0 Checkatrade Trophy victory over Crawley Town, since then we were battered in the league once more by Southend. Once again I couldn't bring myself to write on it as in my opinion there might as well be no report than one which I don't enjoy writing. This post is mainly on the protests of yesterdays match and Tim Fisher's interviews as opposed to a usual match report.

This is also the 100th post I have done since I started 'A View From The Stands' last August, so in typical fashion I'm going to be celebrating by talking about my pain as a Coventry City fan. *Puts out bunting* Nothing changes. But just quickly, Billy Sharp scored (Cook probably should have saved it) Daniel Agyei's equaliser was one of the luckiest goals I've ever seen looping the keeper.

 Then a couple of minutes before the game ended about 100 Coventry fans interrupted the game by strategically going on the pitch the way the police least expected it, via the empty North Stand. I'm not going to say whether or not I was involved due to obvious reasons but I can say I thought it was marvellous, the fact SISU shelled out to hire more stewarding and police only for it to happen anyway.

  The fact we got huge amounts of media coverage as well as the fact SISU getting a fine is a big result I'd say. I honestly was beginning to believe that this club was on the ropes with a lot of the fans not caring but now I can honestly say that I have never been more proud to be a Coventry City fan. Once the stewards finally managed to get everyone off Sheffield United got a winner through Sharp and it kicked off a tad with the fans.

 That brings me to another thing, if Sheffield United were to be in our position I wouldn't bat an eyelid. They are a vile set of people. Speaking off the record I'm glad that one bloke got completely decked by a City fan. I'm sure them of all people would now what it would be like to face problems given the whole 'Third Party' players thing involving Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano both going to West Ham. Instead they were singing 'Pro-Sisu' songs and tried to fight us. I even saw one spit in the face of a man who was with his child. Very classy. They've very much gone down in my estimations.

  Today as you would expect the respective media channels were all over the pitch invasion so Tim Fisher spoke to Jim White on talkSPORT to try and limit the damage done by supporters. But he just blamed the fact we conceded late on the supporters, as well as trying to shift all the other problems on to us as well. That appeared to be the theme on both talkSPORT and on the BBC Coventry and Warwikshire phone in. That in itself is absolutely astonishing.

 He said that we have killed the deal with the Butts Park Arena, and tried to guilt trip everyone saying "The ball boys and girls were crying". I'm sure that was a complete lie, all the ones I saw were loving it, one even hugged me! But it's just another case of Fisher talking complete rubbish. Along with that apparently we're turning away new potential managers.

He avoided reasonable questions and if I here "Break even business" one more time I'll flip. He says the less people there are the more he'll cut the budget. He also says SISU don't want to lose money so have to break even every year. Put it this way, we are doomed every year whatever happens, so why not bleed them dry so hard it's physically impossible for them to break even. Get them fines, boycott home games from 17/18. Maybe, just maybe, it'll put pressure on SISU to sell.

 As for the next post I do it'll either be Walsall vs Bradford tomorrow or a post regarding my 'Top 10 CCFC Away Days'. It could even be both to make up for the fact I won't be going to Bristol Rovers. In fact here's the Christmas schedule:

17th December: Bradford vs Walsall (Report dependant on match experience)
21st/22nd December: Top 10 CCFC Away Days
27th December: Derby vs Birmingham
31st December: Peterborough vs Coventry
2nd January: Coventry vs Bolton

I most likely won't stick to that but I suppose we'll have to see. Thank you for reading my 100 posts, I'm surprised I've even got here given my attention span! Here's to another 100!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

My Thirty-Fourth 16/17 Game - Coventry City vs Crawley Town

 Right, I have a bit of explaining to do. The last match report I did was the 1-0 defeat to Bolton, my thirtieth game of the season. You'll notice this is the thirty-fourth. This is because I was so disenheartened after the MK Dons and Cambridge United defeats in the league and the cup that I couldn't even bring myself to report on them. That may sound lazy of me but it's the truth for which I apologise.

  You'll notice there is still one game left to be accounted for, well that was last night when I went to see my local side Rugby Town get smashed 3-0 by Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Birmingham Senior Cup. Be honest, would you read a report on that? Anyway, it's not the most glamourous of comeback fixtures, but even though I have a chest infection I pulled myself down to the Ricoh to see if we could overcome the mighty Crawley Town in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Charles-Cook

Bigirimana
Willis
Turnbull
Page

Jones
Rose
McCann
G Thomas

McBean
Sordell

Coventry City Substitutes

Burge
Harries
Gadzhev
Maycock
Reid
Lamieras
Tudgay

 What myself and a lot of other Conventry fans couldn't work out is, what on earth is Venus doing here? We couldn't tell what formation he was playing, was Jones a wing back or was Bigirimana playing full back? No one could tell, I took a punt on a 4-4-2 with George Thomas playing on the left. A very weird selection from the underfire caretaker boss.

First Half

 It soon became evident that even though Bigirimana was next on the team sheet after Charles-Cook that he was playing in the centre with Rose at full back. In fairness unless he plays u23 right-back Jacob Whitmore he has no other options in that position with Sterry and Kelly-Evans both being out. I wasn't too bothered with tonight, obviously I still want us to win but I'd rather we stayed up than put our focus into this trophy.

  As I've said it's not exactly the most glamorous of fixtures, and the quality of football certainly adhered to that idea. It was a dull affair. We dominated possession but that failed to result in a clear cut chance. Sordell curled a half chance around the post from 18 yards but soon redeemed himself close to the half hour mark. George Thomas ran down the right wing (I thought he was meant to be playing on the left...) fed the ball into Sordell who poked under Beeney making it 1-0.

 Honestly, that was the last real action of the half, it looked as if Crawley didn't really want to go through because they weren't even trying. To be fair I don't blame them, but even then we were below par but were still ahead at the break. All thanks to Marvin Sordell's 7th goal of the season, albeit 3 were in the cup.

Second Half

 We made our odd team even odder when we decided to sub Lewis Page off for Callum Maycock, meaning we had 2 defenders on the pitch and 2 centre midfielders at both full back positions. The way I'm saying it makes it seem like a miracle we managed to keep a clean sheet. Adi Yussuf tried to stop that from happening however when he went through on goal but Charles-Cook made himself big to pull out a tremendous save.

 Our second and third substitutions saw Tudgay and Gadzhev brought into the fold. But really the match just fizzled out. We sat back, Crawley were barely even attempting to get back into the game which meant it was just sideways passes in the end. It finished as a nice and routine 1-0 victory, although it has forced me to question why I got back at 11:45 at the hands of a boring Checkatrade Trophy match. That's the Coventry City effect I suppose.

 The draw for Round 3 occurs tomorrow at 11:30 am, let's hope for a home tie because I don't fancy going to Swansea u23s away on a Tuesday night. As for my next match, it'll be Southend away on Saturday. I hate being the pessimist but I really can't see us coming out with much given our recent form...

My Man of the Match (MK Dons) - Ben Stevenson - Until he decided to two foot someone he was the best player on the pitch.

My Man of the Match (Cambridge) - Marvin Sordell - He seemed like the only one who tried.

My Man of the Match (Crawley) - Reice Charles-Cook - The goalkeeper made one or two key saves to keep our clean sheet as well as commanding his box very well. I'm not too sure how many awards he's got so far this season but I think this is the first, I'll certainly sort out the tally at some point.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

My Thirtieth 16/17 Game - Bolton Wanderers vs Coventry City

 The real question about tonight is, was I mad or loyal for going? I'm going to go for mad personally based on Oxford at the weekend, I still believe that was the worst I have ever seen us play. I also thought pre-match that it could get a whole lot worse as Bolton are second in the league, even more reason why we it could have been really embarrassing for us. In fact I was so confident that we wouldn't win tonight I tweeted:

"If we beat Bolton then I will buy everyone who RT's this a Twix and I'll shave my head."

 I was being deadly serious when I said this, but would it come true? You'll have to read on and see, but I for one was so sure it wouldn't happen.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Sterry
Willis
Turnbull
Harries
Page

Stevenson
Bigirmana

Agyei
Sordell
Reid

Coventry City Substitutes:

Charles-Cook
Maycock
Gadzhev
Lameiras
Jones
Wright
McBean

I didn't blame Venus for reverting back to the 5 at the back. I'm glad to see McBean getting a chance in the league, albeit from the bench. I would have taken a point at kick off, but I've already made my feelings known what I thought would happen. I wanted us to go down with dignity, to play better than Saturday. But anything would be an improvement on what occurred at the weekend...

First Half

 It would be a test to see how long we would be able to keep them out for, Burge made an outstanding save in the early minutes. Vela cut it back to Madine who from about 2 yards looked destined to score but the City keeper came across brilliantly to push it around the post. He wasn't there 4 minutes later though to pick up the pieces from Jordan Willis' mistake. He failed to win a header so Clough was through and dinked Burge. With a helpful flick off the post it was 1-0 to the hosts.

 I got the feeling that it could be a rough night for us at this point but in typical Phil Parkinson fashion they started to sit back a bit from this point onwards. Agyei, Reid and Sordell all had half chances, but none of them were really clear cut. Bolton's defence was exceptional, they were blocking everything, should we even get in a position to shoot in the first place.

 All things aside, Bolton were the side that got closest to scoring this side of half time. Poor defending meant that the ball trickled through to Clough on his own. I was certain he'd bury it but instead he bottled it and shot right into Burge's arms. We got let off, but we were certainly getting back into the game.

Second Half

 It's depressing to say but I wasn't too disenheartened to be a goal down at half time, we had actually played some decent football. It was even possible that if we kept pressing that we could nick a point, or maybe even all 3. Wishful thinking but football is a funny old game. Immediately in the second period we looked the better side, a thorn in our side though was Bolton's defending. That accompanied with the fact Sordell was forced to play on the right wing for a large portion of the game.

 We had a brief scare on the hour mark where Burge was called into action on 2 more occasions, once from Sammy Ameobi to his left. Then once more from Zach Clough's free kick on to the post, he was seriously having an exceptional game between the sticks. We made a positive double change as this happened, we ditched the 5 back by taking Harried off for Lameiras, as well as Agyei coming off for Jones.

These two genuinely looked like the game changers as soon as the came on, Jodi had an attempt with 20 minutes remaining as he set it up on his left to have a dig. Alnwick did well considering he saw it late to scramble across and tip it round the post. The other sub Rubén Lamieras had an attempt
cleared off the line by Wilson.

 Jordan Turnbull of all people had one of the best chances yet, completely unmarked from a corner he  had a free header to try and get the equaliser but instead he headed it right onto Beevers' head, either way it was going about a yard wide. He's a big lad so you'd expect him to get that on target. As a last ditch attempt to get a goal, Jack McBean replaced Kyel Reid, who was an unsung hero for the night. I was surprised to see someone make their league debut instead of him getting the last 10 minutes.

 However much we tried, we just couldn't get the ball in the net. Then... deep in injury time the ball came to Gael Bigirmana 25 yards out. He had a free run to take it to the edge of the box, he coiled his right peg back ready to blast it in the top corner. But then you remember it's Gael Bigirmana who can do it all, except shoot, so it went about 2 yards wide.

 Our last chance of the game, we came away from the Macron with no points on a day we probably should have shared the spoils. I'm not angry compared to the Scunthorpe match though as Bolton looked like a very good side capable of promotion. Hopefully we channel this to MK Dons at home on Saturday to get back on track. Which as always I'll be attending and reporting on.

My Man of the Match - Lee Burge - Yet again Burge gets the award, it's getting ridiculous how good he's been recently, him and Bigirmana look to be in a two horse race for the player of the season award at this point in time, but there's still a long way to go. We're not even halfway yet, still enough time for a complete collapse, or a promotion push... Thanks for reading 👍🏻

Sunday, 20 November 2016

My Twenty-Ninth 16/17 Game - Oxford United vs Coventry City

 Don't think I'm getting sloppy writing these as this is out on the Sunday, because I'm not. For the second week in a row it's out on the day after so I have a chance to reign myself in and not be too angry writing it. Scunthorpe last week got me riled up, as did Oxford away yesterday, this time though for a completely different reason. 

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge 

Sterry
Willis
Turnbull
Page

Stevenson
Bigirimana
Gadzhev

Lameiras
Sordell
Wright

Coventry City Substitutes:

Charles-Cook
Harries
Maycock
Jones
Reid
Agyei 
Tudgay

 On paper, that side looks quite good, Rose missed out through injury but we managed to cope without him for 6 weeks so it's not too big of a deal to see Gadzhev come into the side. I was dismayed to see Wright start instead of either Jones or Reid given how poor he was last time out. But I really hoped we would be able to get back on track today against a side we overcame 2-1 last month.

First Half

 As I said, we look good on paper, but the game is played on grass, as we saw from start to finish. We were dreadful for the full 90 minutes, the first 5 minutes were horrific, we were lucky to hold the scores level for 7 minutes. No one closed down Hemmings, he had a clear run through and very easily slotted it under Lee Burge. 

 The pressure wasn't stopping, they had chance after chance after chance. They doubled their lead on the half hour mark, Hemmings once again had the opportunity but it was saved by Lee Burge right into Sterry and then in the back of the net. It was quite a lucky goal but you couldn't say it wasn't deserved, 2-0.

 Then only 4 minutes later Lewis Page came steaming in with a pointless tackle to give away a penalty, Chris Maguire (Yep, that Chris Maguire) sent Burge the wrong way from 12 yards. It could've been 4 if not for the Coventry academy keeper. He came off his line quickly and became big to deny Hemmings. 

Wright had a half hearted shot which Eastwood collected easily but it was met with sarcastic cheers from the Sky Blue Army as if we'd scored followed up with chants of "We had a shot." But really it went into half time as an awful performance with Oxford 3-0 up.

Second Half

 Bizarrely we didn't make an impact sub of Jodi Jones or Kyel Reid, instead our saviour was centre back Cian Harries who replaced Stevenson. We nearly scored an actual goal when Page pulled back to Lameiras who's attempt was blocked. Our one effort didn't help us though as on the hour mark Turnbull failed to clear it but gave it to Alex MacDonald who smashed it past Burge into the net.

  Even now we made ridiculous substitutions, Gadzhev came off for Maycock and Lameiras for Tudgay. The game went a bit dead until the 11 minutes of injury time thanks to Wes Thomas and Joe Skarz being forced off for the hosts. Sterry was brought down in the box, Tudgay stepped up and got a consolation which triggered the sarcastic chants again such as "We're gonna win 5-4" or "We're gonna win the league" but obviously there was no time and the game finished 4-1.

 In my years of watching Coventry City, that was easily the worst I have ever seen us play. It was horrific, there were only 2 players who I say put in an above abysmal performance, I'll get onto that in a minute. What added insult to injury was how Willis was the only player who came out and said anything after the match on social media. 

His girlfriend on the other hand had a fair amount to say for herself, referring to the City fans as "Gobby glory hunters". If she wants to explain how a team who haven't had a smidgen of glory for 30 years and spend their hard earned money on seeing 11 players not performing week in week out then she can be my guest. If we don't come every week and pay his wages then she doesn't get her money for her wag lifestyle. She is the definition of ungrateful.

Anyway, that's the end of that rant. I may be completely mad but my next match will be on Tuesday night against Bolton Wanderers, but if we got slaughtered here then I fear for us there. But hopefully they'll mark my thirtieth match by pulling something astonishing out of the bag. Unlikely but you never know...

My Man of the Match - Lee Burge - It's very hard to pick a man of the match from that side and you may question the fact I chose the goalkeeper whom conceded 4 but the fact of the matter is it could've been a whole lot worse than it was. This is his third award of the season I believe, the other two came under better circumstances. 

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

My Twenty-Eighth 16/17 Game - Coventry City vs Morecambe

It's always been said "The magic of the FA Cup", where David can face Goliath and beat him thanks to a dodgy tuft of grass or a two footed ankle breaker. In recent years we've been on the receiving end of a few shocks ourselves against the likes of Worcester City or Northampton Town whilst they were not only in League 2 but also in financial turmoil. You don't however quite imagine it to be a 2,175 attendance in a replay against Morecambe which costs £15 to get in...

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Sterry
Willis
Turnbull
Harries
Haynes

Bigirimana
Gadzhev

Jones
Sordell
Reid

Coventry City Substitutes:

Charles-Cook
Stevenson
Rose
G Thomas
Wright
Lameiras
Tudgay

First Half

 We started pretty horrifically being completely honest, it just looked like we assumed they were going to roll over and let us batter them. Obviously though they came to win, which we saw when Dian Winnard poke one under Burge from the edge of the six yard box after a free kick. A very poor start for our standards if we wanted to face either Dover or Cambridge in the second round.

 However this goal knocked us into shape and we turned up the dial on attacks, Reid blasted one from about 35 yards when Bigi laid it off to him however it was right into the arms of Roche. Gael himself had a crack but Roche once again denied the equaliser, this time by tipping it round the post. Jodi Jones struck wide on the half hour mark, I was beginning to get the feeling it would be 'one of those nights.'

  I was proven completely wrong however when Sordell beat his man and put the ball beyond the keepers reach in the bottom corner from a solid 18 yards. All of this came from a City counter attack following on from a Morecambe corner, proving that our pace up front can ruin defences at times. We nearly made it 2 before half time when the goalscorer laid off Jones, he took it on his stronger foot but smacked it wide. You really have to be doing well from these sorts of positions in the box.

Second Half

 The half time substitution saw skipper Jordan Willis come off for Andy Rose, displaying that we were switching back to our trusty old faithful 4-3-3. After 15 minutes off high pressure we took the lead for the first time in the game through the man himself Marvin Sordell. Extremely similarly to his first goal, he took it onto his right and guided the ball into the far corner.

 Now that we were in the lead we toned it down slightly, which is a shame because in my opinion we could have done them 3 or 4-1, I can see why though, because now that Barkhuizen has gone, they didn't offer much up top. Stevenson replaced Gadzhev after he picked up a slight knock, to me he didn't at all prove he should be one of the 3 starting centre midfielders in the time he played. For me it still has to be Stevenson, Bigirimana and Rose. They were key in seeing out the result tonight.

  I didn't feel nervous in the slightest in the 6 minutes of injury time because we were playing such composed football, a nice sight to see. Jodi Jones made way for George Thomas just before added time again, he didn't have any time to do anything because before you could say cupset the full time whistle was blown.

 We'll have to wait until Thursday to see whether it'll be Cambridge or Dover we face in Round Two but we do know a few things. It's on Sunday the 4th of December. It'll be on TV. Finally, I'll be there reporting it like always. Next match though is against Oxford on Saturday in front of a sell out capacity of 1,500 Sky Blue Army. I can't wait.

My Man of the Match - Marvin Sordell - A nice and cheeky brace for big Marv tonight, he continues to give me the right to pull a smug face given I have backed him all season. Let's not play down the quality of the goals either, lets pray he sees this third award of the season (Highly Unlikely) as motivation and continues scoring goals. This puts him level second place with Willis and Stevenson I believe, both behind Bigirimana on 4.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Morecambe (H) - Preview

 Tomorrow night is the reverse fixture for the FA Cup First Round tie between Coventry City and Morecambe. In the original tie we got a 1-1 draw at The Globe Arena, we were lucky to even get that being completely honest, it was a dire performance. Even though we hit the bar we were completely dominated for most of the match. It took a Jamie Sterry 20 yard finesse shot in off the post for us to even get to this position at the Ricoh.

 What makes it even more important for us to win tonight is due to the events of Saturday. We battered Scunthorpe but still managed to lose 1-0. It's much like what happened last season against Burton when we should have won but ended up losing thanks to 2 goals on the counter. We all know what happened from there on in, we collapsed due to poor confidence.

 What I'm trying to say is, we don't want a repeat of that because a collapse this time would be a lot more drastic as we don't have the early form to sustain league position. So it's extremely important to not let it get to us and get back on track with wins, starting tomorrow and carrying on away at Oxford on Saturday. Adding to that I'd really like a cup run and the winner faces a trip to either Cambridge United or Dover Athletic, I fancy our chances against either.

Predicted Coventry City Side:

Burge

Sterry
Harries
Ricketts
Haynes

Stevenson
Bigirimana
Maycock

Jones
Sordell
Reid

A strong side with a few players still rested, both centre backs need resting in my opinion, especially Turnbull as he looked tired on Saturday and got close to being sent off. Saying that he did put in a great performance so it works both ways. I'll be gutted if Haynes doesn't make it in, especially as Page is ineligible for selection. Our attack could ruin League 2 opposition, if we play that 3 then we have the perfect combination of pace and strength.

The Opposition

 On the pitch Morecambe are doing pretty much bang average sitting in 14th, they are either doing well or poorly depending on which way you look at it, being 2 points off play offs but 4 off relegation. That could all change soon though as the news broke today that key player Tom Barkhuizen has cancelled his contract so that the players wages can be paid, I'll go into more detail in just a second.

Opposition Fans View

 I spoke to Shrimps fan Jacob Swindlehurst to see what his take was on the match ahead as well as the off pitch antics going on at the club.

Me - "First things first, this is a replay of the original fixture. Did you go to the original game? If so, how do you think you fared against League One opposition such as ourselves?"

JS - "Yes I was there. I feel we played well all things considered e,g home form, players and staff wages not being paid. We started off strong with some good chances early on but didn't take them which was the underlying tone for the game, just not being able to take our chances. We then let you (Coventry) back into it and we had a good even game with both sides looking dangerous on the attack. I feel both teams could have won or lost and also I definitely didn't see the gap of League 1 and 2 in quality."

Me - "Personally I think you should have beaten us and we are lucky to even be in this position. You mentioned about staff/players wages not being paid. What exactly is happening behind the scenes for people who wouldn't usually know?"

JS - "It depends how you look at it, if you had said to me 'would you take a draw' before the game then I would have said 'I'll take anything less than a 2-0 loss' haha. Basically, we have new owners who recently purchased the club. We were told as fans there will be funds available to fund things such as transfers which we haven't had the luxury of having before so obviously everyone got 100% behind them. Then when the news came out that the players hadn't been paid it went all a bit crazy really on the fan forums and everybody seemed to get their pitchforks out straight away. Then news started to break that a player whom featured against you, Tom Barkhuizen, easily our best player was leaving by mutual consent and everybody went a little bit crazzier, we believe he is going to Preston, (The questions were asked before the news was confirmed) and they have paid us to terminate his contract so we could then use the extra money to pay our players and staff because legally after two weeks they an walk away so it was a kind of last ditch effort. The fans have not yet been told very much and it has been kept on the down low which is very worrying for us."

Me - "That does sound very worrying, but is there anyone that is unavailable through suspension or injury? Or who are your key players whom could be the difference between a loss and a win?"

JS - "There isn't anybody missing due to suspension or injury that I know of. The key player I would definitely say has to be Michael Rose, he is a centre midfielder who just controls the play, he just has that little bit of quality which Morecambe have needed for a while in the middle. He was out for a couple of games through suspension and we really did miss him, he really is a vital part of our team. Also Stockton on his day can be an absolute quality player but he is very inconsistent and the same goes for Barry Roche, our goalkeeper who can either be one of the best keepers in the league or also one of the worst" 

Me - "Following on from that, is there anyone you know of from the Coventry side that you are "scared" of facing?

JS - "I wouldn't necessarily say scared of but Sordell on his day can be a quality player"

Me - "Do you have any betting tips for Tuesday? (First Goalscorer, Over/Under goals etc.) "

JS - "Depending on what team we set out, personally I'd say it's got to be Cole Stockton (First Goalscorer) or as the players call him 'Cole the goal' "

Me - "What would be your score prediction, do you see it going to Extra Time and potentially further?"

JS - "I would say we are either going to either lose 2-1 or draw, take it to extra time and win it. We did a similar thing in a game against Rotherham early in the season"

Betting Tip

From the Morecambe point of view Cole Stockton is going to be first goalscorer which on Ladbrokes is priced at 8/1 (£2 returns £18)

 My sensible pick for the bet is Kyel Reid for first goalscorer at 13/2, as we saw at Gillingham away, he has the ability to pull it out of the bag when needed. (£2 returns £15)

My slightly less sensible bet is in keeping with my first bet as well as my score prediction, so if it comes in I'll rake in the make-believe money. Kyel Reid to score first, Coventry to win 2-0 at 33/1. (£2 returns £66)

Prediction

My prediction as I've just said is a 2-0 victory with Reid and Sordell to get the goals. Jacob as I've also said thinks that it will be a 1-1 and Morecambe to win in ET or 2-1 Coventry.

Finally look out for my report tomorrow night after the match when we will have hopefully secured a Second Round tie.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

My Twenty-Seventh 16/17 Game - Coventry City vs Scunthorpe United

  First things first, I did go to England vs Scotland last night but to stop the page being cluttered I will upload it on Monday. Now be prepared for not your usual report as well as a hefty slice of bitterness today because I am fuming with what I saw out there today, more so than when we got slaughtered by Norwich in the cup. Considering we lost 6-1 that night, that is saying something!

 It's that bad I had to wait a day to write it, if I'd have done it when I first got back then you would have got so much worse than what you're about to read. To see some anger at the result then look on my Twitter "@youngHandsey" If you're a Scunthorpe fan reading this then I'd grab some popcorn, I have a feeling you're going to enjoy this...

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Sterry
Turnbull
Willis
Page

Stevenson
Bigirimana
Rose

Sordell
Agyei
Wright

Coventry City Substitutes:

Charles-Cook
Harries
Gadzhev
Reid
Jones
Lameiras
Tudgay

 We have three strikers and three wingers right? So surely instead of playing all three of the strikers we should have Jones and/or Lameiras on the wing, because whilst Agyei and Wright are decent players, they aren't wingers. Sordell has played there and done alright but surely he'll be more effective in his natural position up top? I'm really liking our midfield three at the moment of Stevenson, Rose and Bigi. I dare say I even prefer it to the Fleck/Vincelot partnership of last season.

First Half

 The first half was a very defensive battle, but personally I think the Sky Blues edged it. Scunthorpe had the first big chance of the game 10 minutes in however when a deflected cross flew straight to Paddy Madden. Luckily Lee Burge was there to pull off a fantastic point blank save to keep the scores level.

 Andre Wright was fed the ball by Agyei just 5 minutes later and had 2 chances to put us in the lead, both had the same result though, blocked. The best chance of the half came when Agyei shook off his marker to cut inside, he opened up his body well but his shot ballooned over the bar. Right on the stroke of half time Sordell was allowed to run at the Scunny defence, his 20 yard attempt was pushed around the post.


Second Half

 Now the second half was when I started to get angry, it all started around the 56th minute, we'd really been putting the visitors under the knife and it didn't seem like long before we would make it 1-0. That was until Madden lumped the ball into the box for league top goalscorer Josh Morris to stab into the roof of the net. Obviously I wasn't best pleased that we had conceded but still knew there was plenty of time to come back into the game.

 Then it just seemed like every single decision was going the way of Scunthorpe, they were going down ridiculously easy, and so called PREMIER LEAGUE referee Jonathan Moss was buying everything they were doing. Take Jamie Sterry for one, he was three yards away from Luke Williams when he went down but Moss still gave it as a foul. He obviously couldn't have been used to the physicality of League One football.

 Credit where credits due, the defence we were trying to break down was solid. We ended up bringing on Reid, Jones and Lameiras for Wright, Agyei and Rose to try and attack them via pace. However one of the most ridiculous things I've seen supporting Coventry City was playing Lameiras as a lone striker for about 20 minutes when we had Sordell on the wing. I have no clue what that was all about but it evidently wasn't working.

  We brought the pacy players on to try and run at the tired full backs but we just reverted to a 4-2-4 playing long ball. Which blatantly won't work when you have Ruben Lameiras and Jodi Jones up front. But we kept at it though, weirdly our best chance of the half was a diving header by Jamie Sterry which forced a good save. Lameiras also had a chance which trickled past the post but we just couldn't get the goal despite slaughtering them in the second half, so it finished Coventry City 0-1 Scunthorpe United and Jonathan Moss,

  I'm still quite annoyed with what happened but as I'm stupid, I'll keep going every week. Next up we have Morecambe at home on Tuesday night in the FA Cup 1st Round replay. The winner gets a tie at either Cambridge or Dover. If we turn up then we have a great chance of making it to Round 3 with only National League and League Two teams standing in our way. I think most City fans would give their first born to see us get Villa away or indeed at home.

My Man of the Match - Jordan Turnbull - The fact he was even in a postion where he was nearly sent off is ridiculous. His yellow card wasn't a bookable offence, however the one where he was nearly sent off probably was. That just shows how bad Jonathan Moss was, either way, Scunthorpe may have defended well, but Turnbull kept them out single handedly a couple of times himself. This is his first reward since joining from Southampton on a 3-year deal.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

My Twenty-Fifth 16/17 Game - Wycombe Wanderers vs Coventry City

 The Checkatrade Trophy is a great chance to rest the first team and play some youth, especially as the Sky Blues and our opponents tonight Wycombe Wanderers were both through before a ball was even kicked. The winner however would get a home draw in the next round with the draw tomorrow morning. This meant a lot to me as I didn't exactly fancy a trip to Carrow Road to see us play Norwich u23s.

Coventry City Starting XI

Charles-Cook

Di. Kelly-Evans
Turnbull
Finch
Harries
Sterry

Maycock
Rose

Thomas
McBean
Lamieras

Coventry City Substitues:

Addai
Haynes
Page
Bigirimana
Jones
Spence
Agyei

Annoyingly the EFL regulations say that we need 5 players that started our previous fixture to play once again tonight, meaning Kelly-Evans, Turnbull, Sterry, Rose and Lameiras kept their spot. McBean got his first full start for the club after making his debut on Sunday. Another striker whom is scoring for fun in the u23s George Thomas got his first start in a long time.

First Half

 It's interesting when you can hear most of what the players say, although I do think the 257 City fans that made the trip did make some decent noise. It didn't seem to be giving the players too much encouragement as the first half an hour was quite dull. It was on that mark though that the first chance of the game came. Rubén Lameiras pounced on a defensive error which put him through on goal, he took it a fraction too wide and sent it agonisingly past the post.

  We were immediately punished however as Stephen McGill's deflected 20-yard shot was just out of reach of Charles-Cook into the bottom corner. Thomas had an attempt smothered by Brown, we were very, VERY, lucky to not be down by two at half time when RCC got fingertips on to Thompsons shot, it was just about enough to carry it on to the inside of the post. It sped across the line to skim the other post and then come out.

Second Half

 Venus obviously wanted something to change for the second half, and rightly so, because he made a triple change at the break. Ryan Haynes replaced Jamie Sterry, Jodi Jones replaced Rubén Lameiras and finally Gael Bigirimana came on for Andy Rose. Haynes didn't have the instant impact I wanted as he gift-wrapped a goal to Wycombe as his pass back to Charles-Cook was way too short so Kashket could steal it, round the keeper and cooly tap in to the back of the net.

 Haynesy wasn't phased at all by his mistake as he instantly hit back with a goal, the CCFC Twitter likened it to Sterry's at the weekend. I would agree with that, he struck it sweetly on his weaker foot in to the far corner. A great way to redeem yourself, and even better so, 3 minutes later, he doubled his tally! Jodi Jones appeared to have misplaced a cross but instead it found Haynes, he squeezed it under Brown and into the back of the net.

 The goal could be taken away from Haynes and given to George Thomas, it looked like however he just watched it in to the net rather than getting the goal for himself. Who'd have though it, within 14 minutes of coming on Ryan Haynes got two goals and an assist (kind of). Just another 3 minutes later we completed an astonishing comeback. Jodi got the assist once again, he beat the last man and squared it to George Thomas who scored his first professional goal, and potentially the easiest he'll ever score with a one-yard out tap in.

 We took our foot off the gas a bit from here, I'll tell you something though, Wycombes keeper wasn't taking his time with goal kicks as much as he was when The Chairboys were 2-0 down. But we still had one more goal left in us, Jodi Jones hit yet another cross over to Ryan Haynes who pulled it back to Bigi. He sent the keeper the wrong way making it 4-2. Incredibly, he is in his third spell with the Sky Blues but that was his first ever goal for us.

 Unfortunately the game finished before we could see Gareth Ainsworth introduce himself into the game, that just shows how much of a farce the competition is when a manager puts himself on the bench. But we topped our group with 9 points out of 9 so I won't complain. This means we get the holy grail of a home tie in the next round which will be drawn tomorrow morning at 10am.

 A great comeback to celebrate my twenty-fifth game of the football season, as for the 26th, well well well, it's a big one. On Friday night I'll be heading to Wembley to see England face Scotland. Then Coventry vs top of the league Scunthorpe the day after, I'm not sure which is a more star studded tie. Either way, I can't wait for either fixture, it'll definitely be my incentive to get through the rest of the week.

My Man of the Match - Jodi Jones - He may have only played the second half but when he came on he changed the game by tearing the Wycombe defence a new one. 2 assists and a key pass in 3 of the 4 goals. That's got to win it for him surely? I do believe this is his first award of the season, I've slated Jodi recently but he really pulled out all the stops tonight.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Wycombe Wanderers (A) - Preview

  Tonight we head to Wycombe Wanderers in the Checkatrade Trophy in a game, I'm not going to beat about the bush, means close to absolutely nothing. The only thing at stake is which team will take the top of the group spot and earn themselves a home tie in the next round, something I'm not too bothered about at the end of the day but I can see why some people are. Both teams have won both group games against Northampton and West Ham u23s respectively so it'll be interesting to see which side comes out on top.

Predicted Coventry City Side:

Burge

Sterry
Ricketts
Harries
Page

Stevenson
Bigirimana
Maycock

Wright
McBean
Lameiras

 To comply with regulations we need to start 5 players which played our last fixture which was the 1-1 draw in the FA Cup with Morecambe. So to make sure we do this I have included Burge, Sterry, Stevenson, Wright and Lameiras whom all were in the Starting line up at The Globe Arena. I still believe that we can come away with a win with that side, McBean and Maycock could get vital experience should they be in the team.

The Opposition

 In the league Wycombe aren't doing too well, the last time they won was on October 1st, 1-0 at home to Exeter. Last time out though they managed to get the better of high flying Portsmouth in the FA Cup with Adebayo 'The Beast' Akinfenwa being the hero with his late winner to make sure they came out 2-1 victors. This set them up with an away tie at Chesterfield, a league above but if their current form is anything to go by then The Chairboys have a great chance.

Opposition Fan's View

I caught up with Wycombe Wanderers fan Kenan Motlagh and asked him a few questions about he thought about the game ahead:

Me - "What are your opinions on the Checkatrade Trophy? Will you be attending the match?"

KM - "No but I wouldn't consider it boycotting as I've rarely attended games in this tournament before the format changed anyway, I would have preferred it if they added non league teams rather than under 23 Premier League sides though"

Me - "Fair play, I'd agree. What do you think you think your chances are against us?

KM - "Can't really call it, we're coming off the back of a good win in the FA Cup but I'd expect a lot of changes for both teams. 1-1 for me with Coventry to win on pens" 

Me - "You say you'd expect a lot of changes? Who are your key players and do you expect them to be rested? Is there anyone that is unavailable for the fixture through either injury or suspension?

KM - "I expect Hayes, Cowan-Hall, Akinfenwa, O'Nein and Jacobson to be rested. Muller has been a long term absentee but could play a part tomorrow, De Havilland is suspended. I  would watch out for Kashket tomorrow, decent bet for first goalscorer"

Thanks to Kenan for helping out with getting another point of view before the game.

Betting Tip

 From the Wycombe fan's point of view he thinks that Scott Kashket first goalscorer at 11/1 is a good bet so that is tip number one. (£2 returns £24)

 My tip however is Jack McBean to be the man who nets first in the game at 15/2. I think that is a decent shout as it is fairly likely he'll get his first start and if his u23 form is anything to go by then this is a dead cert. (£2 returns £17)

 My outside chance is a scorecast, bare with me on this, it's 0-0 late on and we get a corner. Cian Harries is a big lad so rises highest to nod it straight in the top corner and it finishes 1-0. To recap, Cian Harries to score first and the Sky Blues to win 1-0 at 225/1... (£2 returns £452)

Prediction

I think we'll nick this game to top the group, whether it be Jack McBean or Cian Harries whom scores it, I think we'll get the 3 points in a 1-0 victory.

Look out for my report after the match tonight, just so everyone is aware, I fully back the B team boycott and am only going to the game because it is a new ground. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

My Twenty-Fourth 16/17 Game - Morecambe vs Coventry City

  Since Mark Venus took over as caretaker boss we have found a serious upturn in form in the league. We are now 18th, very much in a cluster of teams which could be described as the 'chasing pack'. Just 2 points separate us and Walsall who sit in 12th position. For the next few days though we turn our attentions to other competitions. On Wednesday we go to Wycombe in the Checkatrade Trophy, today though we travelled to Morecambe to start our FA Cup journey.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Di. Kelly-Evans
Willis
Turnbull
Sterry

Lamieras
Stevenson
Rose
Reid

Sordell
Wright

Coventry City Substitutes:

Charles-Cook
Ricketts
Harries
Maycock
Jones
Tudgay
McBean

  A good opportunity to rotate the squad for the cup but I was happy to see Venus wasn't taking it too far, a couple of tweaks here and there is good. Like giving Dion Kelly-Evans a start along with Jack McBean finally getting a go on the bench after weeks and weeks of people pleading for Venus to give him a go. I fully expect the same to happen on Wednesday with it being a conpletely pointless game.

First Half

  I'm not going to lie here, we deserved to lose the match today. If it weren't for Burge and Willis putting in an absolutely outstanding shift then we most likely would have done. As soon as the first whistle blew Morecambe were on top, Burge had to make 2 great saves in just the first 10 minutes to deny the Shrimps from going a goal ahead. One of which was an outstanding one where he was quick off his line to close the angles for Cole Stockton to shoot.

 We appeared to get a slight grip to the game after this manic first 10/15 minutes, but we weren't offering much up front, so Morecambe's chances kept coming. Albeit not as frequent as the first period. Saying that though, they had 2 clear cut chances within the space of 3 minutes. Murphy tried to catch out Burge, he was on his toes though and came across to his near post well to get the faintest of touches helping the ball onto the post.

  Not learning from our mistakes, we let them go though again, from the right win they cut it back to about 12 yards out. Burge was in no mans land, it looked a certain goal. Instead though, the skipper Jordan Willis got his leg in front of the shot to deny Morecambe once more. When half time came it felt like a relief, we had been battered.

Second Half

 I was really hoping Venus would switch it up in an attempt to fix whatever mess came out for the first half. I got my wish though, Jack McBean got his eagerly anticipated first appearencd in the first team since joining on loan from LA Galaxy. He very nearly had an instant impact, a scrappy piece of defending left him 2 yards out with the ball in the air...

 I say in the air, it was at the most unfortunate height where he could neither head it in nor get a very good connection on to it. He opted to use his head but he could only weakly nod it at a defender. In the same attack though the ball came out to Sordell from 20 yards, but his rocket like shot took a deflection on to the bar.

  We managed to survive being destroyed for 45 minutes in the first half without conceding, but looked like scoring as soon as we came out for the second half. This most likely meant that we let our defensive guard down, because we failed to defend a corner leaving Dean Winnard with a simple finish. It had been coming all match so I wasn't surprised to see us finally concede.

 The Sky Blues had one or two half chances after going a goal down, Andre Wright was played through on the left, (Wright on the left, someone had to...) but he could only stab Lameiras' ball into the arms of Roche. Even if it was from a tight angle he really should have done better with what he was given.

 We then got our lifeline in the form of our makeshift left-back Jamie Sterry, he cut on to his preferred right foot from 20 yards and curled one off the post into the far corner. You could strongly argue that it wasn't deserved but the score was 1-1. A few minutes later we took off Wright and gave a first senior appearence to academy graduate Callum Maycock.

 For the remainder we perhaps edged it slightly going by possession but we didn't really create much, and after 5 minutes of additional time at the end the final whistle was blown. I didn't exactly want a replay to begin with but given how shocking we were I will take it. I suppose even if we lose its better than going out to Worcester and Northampton like in previous years.

 I'll look out for the Second Round Draw whenever it is, just so I know what we have to play for when we do the reverse fixture at the Ricoh. As for the next match though, I am marking my quarter-century of games this season with a trip to Wycombe in the Checkatrade trophy. A match which means literally nothing. I don't know why I do it either...

My Man of the Match - Lee Burge - Burgey has to get it again for me. He was instrumental in us getting to the point where we can replay the fixture. I have given Burge a fair share of stick but he continues to prove me wrong with great performances. This one gets him his second award in as many games.



Tuesday, 1 November 2016

My Twenty-Third 16/17 Game - Coventry City vs Chesterfield

 I remember at the start of November in 2015 we had a crucial game in hand, much like we did tonight against Chesterfield. There were 2 differences between the fixture today and the one against Barnsley. A certain man named Joe Cole scored a free kick that night to take us up into third spot. That seems a distant memory now as we sit in 19th position.

 I'm being harsh saying that though as our performances have picked up recently, a big point at Walsall where we probably should have won being our last match. Looking at Chesterfield though, pre-match they had lost 6 on the bounce in all competitions. This meant that we went in as favourites but had to guard against complacency, because it was massive that we were able to get 3 points.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Sterry
Willis
Turnbull
Page

Jones
Stevenson
Bigirimana
Reid

Agyei
Tudgay

Coventry City Substitutes:

Charles-Cook
Ricketts
Maycock
Rose
Lameiras
Wright
Sordell

 When I first saw the team news I thought Venus was having a laugh, he ditched the working 4-3-3 in favour of the 4-4-2 formation. Also, why had Sordell been dropped for Tudgay? I haven't seen him perform since we played Rugby Town of all teams in pre-season. They were hardly league one standard. I was just hoping that it would all work out in the end because as I've said before, it's very important that we won.

First Half

 Before the match there was a minutes applause for the late Brian Hill who died recently, to this day he still remains the youngest ever CCFC goalscorer. RIP. The first chance of the game came for Gael Bigirimana 6 minutes in, Jones laid it to him, he flicked it up and on the half-volley shinned about a yard past the post. Every great player has a weakness, Bigi's happens to be shooting.

 The ninth minute marked a protest aimed at Joy Seppala of SISU. This minute was chosen due to it being 9 years of "hell" since SISU took over. Being completely honest it didn't work in any way shape or form, not many people got involved so it didn't have even half the effect that people wanted. But then again it was barely advertised at all.

 Back to the football with the only clear cut chance of the half, Chesterfield broke and Burge pulled out a great save to stop Ched Evans from scoring, Jordan Willis perhaps went one up on the City keeper by blocking the rebound to keep it at level scores. We really needed to wake up because it just wasn't happening for us, we would have been losing at this point had the opposition been better than what Chesterfield are. The rest of the half was just both teams hoofing it back and forth to one
another not really creating anything.

Second Half

 The dire play carried on for the first section of the second half, so Mark Venus did what he needed to do. On 66 minutes we made a double substitution, Tudgay and Jones came off after pretty poor
matches, on came Rose and Lameiras. My wishes came true as we went back to the 4-3-3, and like magic, it had an instant impact. From a corner there was a pinball situation in the box, it was bouncing back and forth across the box.

 Eventaully, Turnbull at the corner of the 6 yard box couldn't get a shot away so squared it to none other than the captain, leader, legend Jordan Willis who stabbed it home. I was very happy we were able to make the substitutions count by going 1-0 up. With 15 minutes left to play Sordell entered the field when replacing Agyei.

 We sealed the win with 9 minutes remaining, Page went on a decent run down the left wing and cut back to Andy Rose, the midfielder smashed it in from 12 yards. Game, set and match Coventry City you would think. As this Chesterfield side offered nothing whatsoever you couldn't see them clawing 2 back in 9 minutes.

 Saying that they did nearly head one top bins with a couple of minutes remaining but it skimmed the post on its way wide. Not that it mattered to the result, but Lewis Page picked up a second yellow card in injury time to be sent off. A bit of a silly thing to do when the game is all but won. This does open the door for Ryan Haynes to step up though in the game against Morecambe on Sunday. Bigirimana will also miss out because he has accumulated 5 yellow cards so far this season.

  Not the best performance for the first hour but from then on in the quality really showed to ensure we came away with another 3 points. It may only take us up to 18th position, but this league is so tight that we are only 2 points away from 12th and only 5 off play offs. Anything can happen, but for now we turn our attentions to Morecambe in the FA Cup. I may potentially do a neutral game on Saturday as we have a rare day off. We shall have to see.

My Man of the Match - Lee Burge - I was shocked that we started playing him over Charles-Cook again, but so far I have been proven wrong as he has bagged a couple of clean sheets in good performances. Tonight was no different, he controlled his box perfectly and pulled out a couple of word class saves, all which count towards him winning his first award of the season.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

My Twenty-Second 16/17 Game - Walsall vs Coventry City

 If we dismiss the Charlton defeat as a one off, our form has been great recently. We have turned the Ricoh Arena into a fortress as we are unbeaten there in 14 matches in all competitions, our best home run since 1977. Despite this though, we are still in the relegation zones. However a win against Walsall and then another in our game in hand against Chesterfield on Tuesday could put us in the top half of the table.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Sterry
Willis
Turnbull
Page

Stevenson
Bigirimana
Rose

Lameiras
Sordell
Agyei

Coventry City Substitutes:

Charles-Cook
Ricketts
Maycock
Reid
Jones
Wright
Tudgay

Interestingly Gadzhev was nowhere to be seen in the squad, instead youngster Callum Maycock filled in on the bench. Unless he's injured I can only imagine something has gone on behind closed doors between him and Venus meaning he has been dropped. Either way, I'm glad that our midfield 3 is what it is. Andy Rose returning has come at the perfect time now that McCann is injured for the next 3-4 weeks.

First Half

  The first half an hour was a fairly dull affair, we had a couple of half chances however. Lameiras cut in from the right wing and from just outside the box he curled one just round the post in the first 10 minutes. Gael Bigirimana also had an attempt on the volley from distance but spooned it wide instead.

 Even though it wasn't the most spectacular half of football I've ever seen, it would be a fair assessment to say that we were the better side. It looked however as if the match would be going into the break goalless, that was until Sordell went on a run down the right wing and played it into Andy Rose whom on the volley struck it beyond Etheridge.

 On the stroke of half time we had a big shout for a penalty turned down, Bigirimana ran through and had to take it to the byline. He was in a race with Etheridge to the ball and won, Etheridge, (Controversial opinion coming up) went in with his feet and brought Bigi to the ground. Now I don't want to be biased and if when the highlights come out I am proved wrong then I will happily eat humble pie, but to me it looked like a stone wall penalty. Not only was it not given however, but the Burundi international was booked for simulation also.

Second Half

 We carried on our pressure in the second half, Agyei megged the last defender with a 20 yard shot, Etheridge didn't see it until late so did well to push it past the post. We had a reality check with 35 minutes to go. Lee Burge made a great save to deny Morris, and the rebound was spooned wide. We should have used this as a wake up call to be more careful defensively, unfortunately for us though, we did not.

  I'm being harsh with how I'm talking about the defensive regarding their goal, to be fair to them, it was a great goal. It reminded me of Jack Wilshire's against Norwich a couple of years ago. Quick passes and flicks so before anyone could do anything Oztumer had stuck it past Burge to get the Saddlers an equaliser.

 Not taking anything from the goal, it's quite upsetting that it sprang from Ben Stevenson being brought down the edge of the box in a blatant foul which wasn't given. What's more annoying is, the goal could be put down to Venus for taking Andy Rose off for Jodi Jones and moving to a 4-2-4 when we were 1-0. I understand we don't want to rush him back after a couple of months out but it seemed as soon as that decision was made our control of the game was taken away.

 Walsall could have stolen it late on when Kinsella spooned it wide in the dying seconds, luckily he didn't. It should have been 3 points, could have been 0 points, but it turned out to be a share of the spoils. I'd have taken a point pre-match so I'm not too disappointed with the result. Next up we have our crucial game in hand against Chesterfield where 3 points could put us right in the middle of the chasing pack, I look forwards to it.

My Man of The Match - Jordan Willis - On his 100th appearance for the club, the skipper had another great performance for the second week in a row. Although saying that, had Andy Rose played the full 90 minutes then he probably would have got it. Either way, the captain leader legend has his second award of the season.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

My Twenty-First 16/17 Game - Coventry City vs Rochdale

 Before I begin let me get a couple of things straight, I respect each and every one of you that boycotted the match today. I only went in because it would be pointless for me not to, having a season ticket means you will be counted on the attendance whether you go or not. However at this point I can say I won't give a penny more to SISU, nothing purchased in the ground. As for the march, I missed my train getting in to Coventry so I couldn't attend. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to go with all my heart but unfortunately wasn't able to. Now we have that out of the way on to the match we go.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Sterry
Willis
Turnbull
Page

Stevenson
Bigirimana
McCann

Agyei
Sordell
Lameiras

Coventry City Substitutes:

Charles-Cook
Ricketts
Rose
Jones
Reid
Wright
Tudgay

 An unchanged side from the one that beat Oxford on Tuesday night, I hoped Ben Stevenson could have another performance like that one because he was unbelievable. One thing that is different is the return of Andy Rose to the bench, but with ouAgyr midfield playing so well lately, who would you put him in for? The only real option is McCann as he leaves for America at the start of January and you'd want a more permanent side wouldn't you. Rochdale before Tuesday had won 7 on the bounce so certainly weren't going to be pushovers, meaning this side would have to be at their very best if they wanted to come away with 3 points.

First Half

 Rochdale were the better side for most of the 90 minutes, they went through after 5 minutes via Henderson. It took an incredible block by Jordan Willis to stop us going down 1-0 early on. Chris McCann had to go off through injury a bit later and was replaced by Kyel Reid, meaning we went switched to a 4-2-4 formation which seemed to work.

  Agyei should have put us into the lead when he turned the last defender and was 1 on 1 with the keeper, he side footed it on to the post. He could have been put down badly by this, instead, when Lameiras beat his man down the right wing and slotted it across the box he poked it under Lillis. Aside from Turnbull being booked, not much else happened for the remainder of the first half.

Second Half

 For a lot of the second half it looked as if it were only a matter of time before Rochdale equalised. They had a chance 8 minutes in when Henderson again was denied a goal, this time it was Bigirimana who headed it off the line. The pressure continued, Lund struck just wide from 20 yards on the half volley. Henderson carried on causing our defence problems, with 7 minutes remaining he nodded over the bar.

  Rochdale were throwing everything forward, it looked like they were going to get that levelling goal. That was until on the counter, Lewis Page was running down the left wing, he beat his man and squared it to Andre Wright whom had lost his marker. He stretched out to stab it in the bottom right corner, putting us 2 ahead and sealing the victory.

  A game we probably didn't deserve to win, but did. We took our chances whereas the Dale didn't, it's as simple as that. Previously we wouldn't have had the mentality to get the points here, so I'm glad we managed it. Roll on what was once cringily dubbed the "M6 El Clasico" which will be my 22nd match of the season.

 My Man of the Match - Jordan Willis - He came through the academy, making his debut at age 17. 5 years later he is now captain as a 22 year old. Today though he managed to do everything right, he was a vital part of keeping the clean sheet. This is his first award of the season, hopefully of many more to come.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

My Twentieth 16/17 Game - Coventry City vs Oxford United

  Charlton away angered a lot of people, the dire performance turned the dial up on the SISU protests higher than it has been in a long time. Especially after Tim Fisher's comments about how the fans need to stop, as well as hinting that since there is no solution to the Ricoh situation and that we might move out of Coventry once again. Mid-table Oxford were the visitors today however backed by over 2,000 fans, it certainly wasn't going to be an easy match.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Sterry
Willis
Turnbull
Page

Stevenson
Bigirimana
McCann

Lameiras
Sordell
Agyei

Coventry City Substitutes:

Charles-Cook
Ricketts
Gadzhev
Jones
Reid
Wright
Tudgay

 It looks as if Burge has retaken his spot as first team goalkeeper for us, I'm still not sure about him, he did however have a good performance today not to give any spoilers. We made one change from the side on Saturday which got battered by Charlton, by swapping Agyei in for Wright.

First Half

 We nearly took the lead within the first 2 minutes when Gael Bigirimana drove a cross in to Sordell who hit it first time and Eastwood made a great stop to keep it out. The Sky Blues dominated the first 25 minutes so it was to no surprise that we made a breakthrough, the surprise was how the goal came. From 25 yards, Ben Stevenson teed himself up as he wasn't being closed down to shoot and let fly into the top corner.

 We seemed to ease off slightly as the break came nearer, it looked as though half time would be coming with the score at 1-0 to the Sky Blues. Then we launched one forward looking to run the clock down, Sordell chased the last defender down, I don't think he realised how lose the striker was getting. Whatever happened, there was a mix up in communication, the last defender nodded it past his own keeper. Sordell ran past the pair of them and scored the easiest goal of his career with the tap in. A nice 2 goal cushion at the break is always better than one.

Second Half

 I don't know what it was, but we took our foot off the gas a bit for the second half. We did defend well though, however it didn't make for good entertainment, there aren't very many talking points for the second 45. Chris Maguire had a free kick for Oxford, I think everyone in the stands had their heart in their mouth, well, those who remember when he came on loan to us and scored 2 free kicks in 1 match away at MK Dons then was immediately recalled. Burge displayed his great reflexes by pushing it round the post.

  Marcus Tudgay and Kyel Reid replaced Daniel Agyei and Ruben Lameiras respectively in an attempt to try and see out the game. It looked like it was working, until 2 minutes in to injury time when Cov kid Dan Crowley picked out the bottom corner from 18 yards. 2-1. Part of me really thought we would bottle it after this, but we managed to fend off the Oxford advances to hold on for a crucial 3 points.

 The win lifts us off bottom of the table, we're now in 23rd, not the best but better than before, remember we still have that game in hand against Chesterfield which has yet to be rearranged. As for the next match, I will be attending the game against Rochdale on Saturday, some people may frown on that but I've paid for a season ticket so it's not worth not going. I do respect everyone that is boycotting though and hope you are successful.

 My Man of the Match - Ben Stevenson - What a player he is turning out to be, an incredible performance was capped off with an absolute thunderbolt of a strike into the top corner. Him and Gael could be the future of the Coventry midfield, unless the inevitable happens and SISU cash in on the opportunity. I hope this doesn't happen once again though. This is his third award of the season, one behind Bigi.

 

Saturday, 15 October 2016

My Nineteenth 16/17 Game - Charlton Athletic vs Coventry City

 2 weeks from my last Coventry game, we've had international call ups, boycotted EFL Trophy matches, and even a trip to Slovenia since our first win of the season against Port Vale. Now it was very important that we would carry on our form and put everything in to getting 3 points against fellow strugglers in Charlton.

 Before I get on to the match however, we need to address something that happened beforehand. For a couple of weeks now a supporters group from Charlton "CARD - Coalition Against Roland Dutchalet" had teamed up with "Fighting the Jimmy Hill Way Alliance" to make football history in a joint protest between both sets of fans.

It went perfectly, there was a huge turnout, a couple thousand Charlton and near 1k Coventry paraded through the streets of South East London chanting, pleading with both respective owners Roland Dutchalet and SISU.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Sterry
Turnbull
Willis
Page

Stevenson
Bigirimana
McCann

Wright
Sordell
Lameiras

Coventry City Substitutes:

Charles-Cook
Ricketts
Gadzhev
Jones
Reid
Agyei
Tudgay

 The big thing that you could see was the inclusion of Burge even though Charles-Cook is back to fitness. I don't rate Burge and neither do most other fans from what I've seen. Lameiras finally having a chance to shine is something I've been looking for for a while, so I was glad to see him making the starting eleven.


First Half

 As soon as the first whistle was blown, the entire pitch was pelted with rubber pigs. I'm sure that you'll have seen it on every social media possible but the game was stopped for 7 minutes thanks to both sets of fans lobbing these small little pigs from all angles of The Valley. The entire match was filled with unity, togetherness aimed at SISU and Roland Dutchalet.

 I'm not going to go into too much detail about the match, mainly because I don't think I can live through it all again. Basically, Page got injured early on so Ricketts came on in his place. Ruben Lameiras had a crack from 25 yards and hit the inside of the post, it trickled back out which was met by our agonising groans.

 As if by magic, Charlton went straight up the other end, hoofed the ball over the top to 5 yards offside Holmes. He poked right past Burge, we were 1-0 down, perhaps undeservedly. This took the game in to half time after a fairly dull 15 minutes, the Addicks did look to be on top as the goal completely took it out of us.

Second Half

 We nearly equalised very early on in the second half, a bit of a pinball defensive situation mean that Rudd pulled off a great save to stop an embarrassing own goal. Ademola Lookman and Josh Magennis went on to add late goals to Charlton's tally to make the game finish 3-0. Both goals were at the fault of Ricketts as well as Burge.

 I apologise that this report is so short, I just can't deal with it any more. But all in all, the day was good, for any Charlton fans reading this I would like to thank all of your fans for everything you did for us today and I hope we returned the favour with our help and also it would be great to see as many of you as possible at the Ricoh in March.

Tuesday night against Oxford is already my 20th match this season which is sad to think about. The FA Cup draw on Monday could give us a good away day for the start of November. Braintree, Plymouth and Pompey are just a few I would love due to one reason or another.

My Man of the Match - Ben Stevenson - He played very well today did our Ben, one of the silver linings in this awful situation is that he's just signed a new 4 year deal with the Sky Blues. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe he's already got an award, so this brings him to 2. Hopefully he'll clock up a few ore in the next few years. Should we still be a club that is...

Saturday, 8 October 2016

CCFC Where Are They Now #3 - Michael Mifsud

 Last week marked 9 years since "that" night in Manchester which every Coventry City fan over the age of about 12 will have some sort of memory of. To this day it remains my favourite ever away day, or favourite football match I've ever been to for that matter, you know what, I'm going to say it. The best day of my life. So I thought that the best way to celebrate the occasion was to look at the man who ran the show that night, Michael Mifsud.

 He started his footballing career in his home country of Malta where he broke through the Silemma Wanderers academy as a 16-year old in 1997. He quickly looked like something special considering what Malta are used to and this showed in his 4 years at Silemma with 60 goals in 80 games. In 1999 he even managed to bag a trial with Manchester United, obviously nothing came of it though but this did nothing to his confidence as he kept banging them in in the Maltese Premier League.

  Being in hot goalscoring form it wasn't long before his first call up for Malta, and he made his debut against Albania on the 10th of February 2000. This also alerted clubs abroad to his talent, so in the summer of 2001 he signed for Kaiserslauten. He made a good impression in the B team in the German third tier but the Bundesliga first team seemed like it was a step too far as in 21 appearances he only scored twice. This led to his release in January 2005.

 To try and get first team football again he came back to Silemma Wanderers in the January on a deal until the end of the 04/05 season. Once again he showed Malta his talent by bagging 8 in 12 to help Wanderers to the Premier League title. His next move was to Lillestrom in Norway when his Silemma contract expired.

 In the 2006 season, he got 11 goals in 19 matches leaving him as Lillestrom's top goalscorer and was voted the best foreign player in the Norweigan Premier League. Mifsud made it clear that he wanted a move to one of the big countries in Europe, so he was angered when Lillestrom turned down an offer from the Coventry City in Summer 2006.

 However his contract expired at the end of that year so given his desire to move he declined a new contract offer and instead was snapped up by Micky Adams and the Sky Blues on January 10th 2007 on a two-and-a-half-year deal. Adams was sacked just 2 days after the signing of Mifsud and replaced by Iain Dowie.

 He scored a couple before the end of 06/07 against Plymouth and Barnsley respectively, then again on the first day of the 07/08 season against Barnsley. His goal against Sheffield Wednesday won goal of the season for us. We were top of the league when "that" draw came out. Manchester United away, against the Malta interntationals boyhood club. (Glory Supporting at its finest)

 We all know the story of what happened next, he ran the Champions of England ragged and had Gerard Pique in his pocket for 90 minutes. His 2 goals at Old Trafford that night led to one Spanish paper referring to him as 'Il Messi Di Malta', which translates to 'The Messi of Malta'. He really continued to excel and had 15 goals in all competitions by the turn of the year, he was close to 20 by the end of the season.

  You may say this is unrelated, I think it has something to do with it. But I saw the Oasis film Supersonic last week, (Bare with me) and Liam Gallagher said that it was nice they ended at their show at Knebworth in 1995 because it all went downhill afterwards and that they could have done a sequel about the fall of Oasis. I think this is the same with Mifsud but obviously not on the same scale, I wish I could end here when he's just had a great season with Coventry and the best experience of his life against Manchester United, but I can't.

  We were in financial trouble so tried to offload some assets, Mifsud being one of them. We accepted an undisclosed bid from Bristol City, he was packed up and ready to leave until right at the last minute when he decided he wanted more money from the South West club. Long story short, Gary Johnson told him where to go and the transfer was called off.

 After this he never really made it back properly into the Coventry side so was subsequently loaned out to Barnsley in February 2009. He only got 2 goals here so when June 2009 came Chris Coleman announced we would be letting him go. After this he spent a few months unattached to a club yet still made it into the Malta squad every time, this just proves how good he was compared to anything they'd seen in that country.

  Eventually in 2010 he returned to Malta for Valetta, where he somewhat reignited his areer with 7 in 7 but still left at the end of the 09/10 season. Once again he was left without a club for a number of months despite there being interest from America, England and of course Malta amongst other places. Qormi in Malta were the club that eventually got him to put pen to paper back in 2011. It was another brief but definitely prolific spell with 7 goals in 5 games.

 Upon the end of his deal he returned to Valetta on a four year deal. He got 30 goals in just under 60 games in his 2 years which is something you definitely don't turn your nose up at. I say 2 years because in June 2013 he left to move abroad, to Melbourne Heart in Australia more specifically. At the age of 32 he was beginning to win down in his career, and this showed with his football, scoring just the one goal in his season down under.

  In 2014 he returned to where it all began with Silemma Wanderers in Malta, as I've mentioned his age hindered him at this point. He only got 5 in 32, which is nothing compared to what he did in his 4 years between 97 and 01. By this point Wikipedia got bored talking about his career but what I can tell you is that remarkably he is still playing. For none other than Valetta in his third spell there. He still has 2 years left on his contract which should take him to 2018, should he still be playing by that point he will be 37 years of age.

 Throughout this career he managed to accumulate 40 goals in 113 matches for Malta. MALTA. Imagine having better than a 1 in 3 ratio for a country with a population of 450,000 which until 1974 was part of the British empire. Depending on where you're reading this, coincidentally England vs Malta is tonight and Mifsud might make an appearance at Wembley so keep an eye out watching the match.

 The moral of the story here is, whilst you should always reach for the stars, you should also remember to keep your head and not get too big for your boots. Normal match reports resume next week with Charlton away. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

My Seventeenth 16/17 Game - Port Vale vs Coventry City

 Andre Wright spared our blushes on Wednesday night by equalising in the 94th minute but really it's not good enough. Things wouldn't get any easier though as we made the trip to Stoke-on-Trent to see our no win in 10 side play unbeaten at home and 5th placed Vale. I obviously wasn't expecting much, but maybe, just maybe, the managerial change of Mowbray could be the difference.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Sterry
Turnbull
Willis
Page

Stevenson
Bigirimana
McCann

Wright
Sordell
Agyei

Coventry City Substitutes:

Addai
Ricketts
Harries
Gadzhev
Lameiras
Jones
Tudgay

 The one obvious difference between recent weeks and now is the absence of Reice Charles-Cook. He must have been injured because I don't see why caretaker boss Mark Venus would drop him from the squad completely. Kyel Reid also missed out through injury, in his place came Daniel Agyei. Andre Wright came in for Tudgay who's form recently has been poor to say the least.

First Half

Before I begin, can I say that today was the best away day I've been to all season. There were 604 of us there and no one stopped singing for all of the 90 minutes. Even at half time the scenes were incredible. Both sides had a bit of early pressure, but the first real chance came in the 20th minute. Gael Bigirimana had a free kick to the left on the goal, he whipped it in for Turnbull to flick past the post.

 It was around the point of Agyei's disallowed goal for an earlier foul that someone pointed out to me that Tim Fisher was sat in a box to the right of the Sky Blues fans. It's fair to say he got absolutely abused by the Sky Blues faithful, and rightly so in my opinion. SISU have ruined us so it's only fair he takes a bit of stick himself.

 Almost immediately after being booked, Sordell put the Sky Blues 1-0 up. After a big Sky Blues attack in the box, all seemed finished as a Vale centre-back won the ball and looked to clear. Out of nowhere though Bigirimana stole the ball from his feet and fed it in to Sordell whom slotted it past Alnwick to get his third goal in five games. Alex Jones had a half chance but the Sky Blues went in to half time leading 1-0.

Second Half

 We got very lucky to not have Vale equalise just a minute in to the second half with Willis clearing a chance off the line. Things went a a bit dry until 25 minutes to go, a miscommunication at the back meant a goal kick was gifted straight to Agyei on the edge of the box. He sprinted forward but Alnwick recovered well from his mistake very well to stop his side conceding a second.

 Even though we were playing well, I could see the inevitable bottle coming. Which is why I was astonished to see Chris McCann double our lead on the 73rd minute after Agyei fed him through by smashing it into the roof of the net. The scenes in the stands were real, we were beginning to believe that we were taking 3 points home with us.

  Lameiras replaced Agyei and Tudgay came on for Sordell in the final 10 minutes of the match to see out the game. Both left to a sea of applause. I almost cried when the board went up to say 6 minutes of added time were to be played, even though we were 2 goals up, as a Coventry fan I was by no means assuming we had won the game. And if it weren't for Sterry's last ditch tackle to stop Vale scoring as soon as the board went up, I am certain we wouldn't have held on. The important bit though, we did.

 Our first 3 points of the season, I lost my voice, we beat a team in the play offs and abused Tim Fisher. A great away day, I just hopes this turns in to a run. I'm most likely going to be going to the Ricoh on Tuesday to see us play Northampton in the EFL Cup. Which will be my Eighteenth game this season. I'm only going for the report may I add, I believe fully in the B Team boycott.

My Man of the Match - Marvin Sordell - I was doubted for getting "that" shirt. People said they didn't like him, some poeple still don't but whatever way you look at it, Marvin has 3 goals in the past 5 games and is doing everything else right too. He made perfect passes as well as runs today. I just hope his form continues so I can carry on being smug. This is his second award in 2 games.