What is always important in supporting a football club is to keep an eye on the youth squad every now and again, so when I saw the youth squad were in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup against Arsenal and the game was being shown at the Ricoh Arena, I had to get myself down there to support the team.
After a whole ticket fiasco outside the ground, we made inside to see the game already 5 minutes played. Fortunately, we hadn't missed any big events of the match. I was interested to see how the likes of the highly praised Bassala Sambou and Jak Hickman were going to perform. On the other hand, Arsenal had players with Premier League experience in Bielik and Reine-Adelaide.
It was Hickman who opened the scoring, surprisingly putting the Sky Blues ahead mid way through the half. Tyrell Robinson equalised for the visitors when he beat the offside trap of the City defence to slot past former Arsenal youth prospect Corey Addai to make it 1-1. This took the match into half time.
In the second period, Reine-Adelaide shot which was cleared off the line magnificently, this was the closest that either team could get as extra time beckoned. Both teams were clearly putting their all into going for this game, it could have gone either way, so when Arsenal made it 2-1 from the kick off of the second period of extra time, it could have been heartbreak for the Sky Blues.
This could have been too much for such young players to handle, that could have been it, but no. In the 121st minute, a ball was played to Hendricks on the left wing, he turned his man, played it into who else but Sambou to make it 2-2 in injury time. There were scenes of jubilation from not only the city players but the fans as well, all 11 players, 7 subs and a selection of about 50 Sky Blues fans, including myself, were all taking part in a massive pile on. You could see by the faces of the players how much it meant, but the job was far from done, the game went to penalties.
The first miss of the shootout was Dan Smith for Coventry but Keto saved to his right, Ben Sheaf missed for the Gunners, as did Adelaide. With the chance to win it, Whitmore stepped up with the chance to win it but once again the keeper saving to his right. Decisively, Hendricks missed the final penalty to send Arsenal to the Quarter Finals of the FA youth cup.
A valiant effort from the Sky Blues, a great run which was ultimately brought to a halt by a lottery, there was many things to be proud of. The next 'A View From The Stands' could be one of 2 things, a non-Coventry game or another thing I have planned, stay tuned.
My Man Of The Match - Bassala Sambou - That last minute goal alone is enough to win him the award single-handedly, I can't quite explain it, but the joy felt for a goal in an Under 18s match was something special, I will count this towards the leader board, so congratulations Bassala on your first and possibly only award of the season.