Thursday, 18 February 2016

My Twenty-Eighth 15/16 Game - Southend United vs Coventry City

Our home record was in tatters, we were 6 points off leaders Burton whom has 2 games in hand and 4 points off second placed Walsall who had just the single game in hand, we were in desperate need of a win to try and keep up with them, but our defensive crisis was bad, we only had one fit centre back in Peter Ramage, who had last played for a club in India, and the other player we were using in that position was Chris Stokes who can do a job but isn't perfect.

 Before the game even began we were hit with bad news, Adam Armstrong and Jacob Murphy were both ruled out with injury, already our chances of winning were dealt a massive blow. Number one goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook began the game in goal, Ricketts, Stokes, Ramage and Haynes made up the back four, John Fleck missed out through suspension so Bigirimana started alongside Vincelot in the holding midfield positions. Jim O'Brien, Joe Cole and debut making Stephen Hunt played in attacking midfield with Marcus Tudgay as the lone striker.

 The game began with a chance for the Sky Blues, out of nothing Jim O'Brien from 30 yards out took a shot which forced a good save from David Bentley who tipped over the bar. A poor piece of defending just minutes later saw Sam Ricketts blast the ball at an attacker chasing him down, somehow it ended up in the path of Jack Payne who took it past the last defender and smashed into the far corner to put Southend 1-0 up.

 Sam Ricketts was the culprit again when he was caught out of position on a Southend counter attack, a ball was very easily played through to Tyrone Barnett who slotted past Charles-Cook to make it 2-0 just half an hour in, very poor, minutes later and O'Brien's deflected shot hit the outside of th post but that was the best chance at a goal we had all half. Going into half time something needed to change, and we tried something. Marcus Tudgay was subbed off, supposedly because of an injury, in favour of James Maddison and Joe Cole was moved to the striker position.

 Early on the second half, former Sky Blue man Gary Deegan tripped Maddison and got sent off, given his second yellow card. This would be a lot sweeter had we not been 2 goals down by this point, however, we had a chance to get back into the game. Maddison had a chance which went just round the post, we made subs as well in an attempt to come back. Ruben Lameiras came on for Ryan Haynes and Marc-Antoine Fortune replaced Romain Vincelot.

 We were caught short at the back, Lameiras gave the ball away cheaply and Southend countered, Barnett sprinted past the entire defence and was brought down in the box by Charles-Cook who picked up a yellow. It was Barnett who stepped up to take the resulting penalty and scored. 3-0 Southend. Sky Blues fans were beginning to seep out the exits with 20 minutes still to play. Both Cole and Fortune had chances in the remainder but it was no use, the game ended 3 goals to 0.

 No excuses, we were awful, the future without players like Armstrong and Murphy looks bleak, the defence definitely needs tightening for starters. Hopefully we can get our act together in 'A View From The Stands' 29, a home match to Scunthorpe United. Perhaps one of the biggest matches of the season due to the league standings.

My Man Of The Match - Jim O'Brien - Similarly to Maddison against Burton, he was the best of a bad bunch, almost scoring on a couple of occasions, good old Super Jim, getting his second award of the season.

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