Saturday, 21 May 2016

My Forty-Eighth 15/16 Game - Oldham Athletic vs Coventry City

 45 league games, all of it, had led us here, Oldham Athletic on the final day, the only thing we would be playing for today however was pride. We have picked up our form in recent games to prevent a bottom half finish. As for where it's possible for us to finish, a win here and Millwall beating Gillingham would mean we finish 8th, our joint best finish in any league since dropping out of the Premier Leagur back in 2001. But could we do this with such a different team?

Starting XI

Vincelot Stephens Harries Hunt
              Fleck Bigirimana
                Rose Lameiras
            Thomas Armstrong



A couple of things to note about the team facing Oldham, Cian Harries made his first senior start for the Sky Blues, I was really happy to see this as he is one of the best prospects we have and deserves a chance, this is also the case with Ben Stevenson who made the bench. Dion Kelly-Evans also got his chance on the bench, maybe he could make it onto the pitch at some point.

 Early on Charles-Cook was forced into a couple of saves by the Oldham attack, whilst Stephens had the chance to put us 1-0 up but stabbed just right of the goal. The biggest chance of the half came when a ball was hoofed into the box from the right side. The resulting header meant Charles-Cook had to save to his top right corner and tip over the bar.

 Towards the end of the half we pressed on a bit more, Adam Armstrong rounded the keeper but couldn't get past the last defender. Then George Thomas missed a chance from about 6 yards, in fairness to him it was a tough chance to take, whatever way you look at it, it was the last action of the half.

 Around 10 minutes in to the second half and Vincelot had 2 bites at the cherry to try and stick it in the back of the net but Coleman pulled off an incredible double save before it was hoofed out for another corner. The Frenchman got his revenge just seconds later, he flicked the ball passed Coleman into the back post corner from the resulting corner. The breakthrough had finally been made, thankfully, it was for us.

 Then just 7 minutes later, Jacob Murphy slipped the ball through to Armstrong, he sprinted through and turned the defender. It was a heart in mouth moment, we wanted that goal to go in so much, he struck on his weak foot to the near post and saw it steam past Coleman. We all leapt up in jubilation, we weren't just celebrating the goal because it put us 2-0 up, we were celebrating it for Adam Armstrong. That 20th goal had been coming for absolutely ages, he deserved it so much so was fitting he did it in front of the Sky Blue Army on the final day. He celebrated it just as much if not more than we did.

 Armstrong's goal was a nice end to the game, and the season. It's been great to follow city around this season home and away, I just can't believe I won't be able to do it again for another 3 months. I'm not done just yet however, my season review is already out and I will still be going to a couple more matches before the season ends just yet. So look out for that! 'A View From The Stands' will live on through the summer.

 My Man Of The Match - Cian Harries - I think it's great to see a star for the future team perform so well on his début for us. He was solid in defence, even ruined the defence of the opposition with one through ball. I can't wait to see him in the side next season and for many years to come. Obviously with this being his first match it is his first award and the last one to be given out this season.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Coventry City 15/16 Season Review - One Hell Of A Campaign

I find it hard to believe that it has been 9 months since that first ball was kicked against Wigan Athletic, it only feels like yesterday that Adam Armstrong knocked 2 in against the league favourites to leave us Coventry fans shocked to our foundations. In this season review I will be discussing the ups and downs of such an incredible season for the Sky Blues. Whether it be demolishing teams, getting demolished, being robbed or robbing teams, the 15/16 season for us had it all. So let's take a trip down memory lane to begin with...


      Coventry City 2-0 Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet League One - 8/8/15
Armstrong (15,62)

     Rochdale 1-1 Coventry City - Capital One Cup - 11/8/15

Mcdermott (45)    Tudgay (84)
(Rochdale win 5-3 on penalties)

      Millwall 0-4 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One 15/8/15
                             Armstrong (6,24)
                             Lameiras (19)
                             O'Brien (80)

      Coventry City 3-2 Crewe Alexandra - Sky Bet League One 18/8/15
       Fleck (14)               Inman (31)
       Armstrong (51)       Haber (53)
        O'Brien (83)

        Walsall 2-1 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 22/8/15
      Forde (40)     Murphy (56)
 Bradshaw (52)

      Coventry City 2-2 Southend United - Sky Bet League One - 31/8/15
        Johnson (34)         Hunt (36)
        Ricketts (72)         Mooney (41' pen)

  August was a great month when you really think about it, 10 points out of a possible 15 is something I certainly wouldn't have expected at the start, although I was slightly disappointed we got knocked out of the League Cup in such a manner, as well as dropping 2 points against then relegation candidates Southend. But you can't not look at our wins against Wigan and especially Millwall, that 4-0 away win was potentially the best away day all season, Armstrong's 35-yard chip goal shall forever be in my memories. Our only loss came against the then top of the league team Walsall, as for us, we stood in fifth place after the first month, I certainly would have taken that at the start of August.


     Burton Albion 1-2 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 6/9/15
     Martin (11' OG)     Tudgay (20)
                                    Vincelot (56)

 Scunthorpe United 1-0 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 12/9/15
     Madden (79)

       Coventry City 1-0 Chesterfield - Sky Bet League One - 19/9/15
       Armstrong (50)

                      Bury 2-1 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 26/9/15
           Clarke (19,51)   Johnson (62)

  September wasn't as good of a month, for the first time we didn't score in a game, but 2 wins and 2 losses isn't too awful. The Bury result seemed like a slight kick in the teeth, Leon Clarke getting both goals was a tough pill to take, especially as he dived for the penalty. Scunthorpe also wasn't the best of results by any stretch of the imagination. Our home form was great, but our away form was still quite a concern. We had however moved into fourth place by the end of September thanks to other results, although I couldn't help feeling it could have been a lot better if we had have taken chances that were on a plate to us.


     Coventry City 3-0 Shrewsbury Town - Sky Bet League One - 3/10/15
     Armstrong (26, 65)
      Fortuné (45+1' pen)

     Yeovil Town 0-0 Coventry City - Johnstone's Paint Trophy - 6/10/15
      Yeovil win 4-3 on penalties.

      Fleetwood Town 0-1 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 10/10/15
                                          Wood (90' OG')

 Coventry City 0-0 Blackpool - Sky Bet League One - 17/10/15

   Rochdale 0-0 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 20/10/15

  Swindon Town 2-2 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 24/10/15
     Gladwin (85)         Vincelot (66)
  Ajose (90+2'pen)      Tudgay (81)

 Coventry City 3-2 Peterborough United - Sky Bet League One -31/10/15
Vincelot (56)           Anderson (15)
Armstrong (80, 87)  Oztumer (36)

 October was perhaps my favourite month of the entire season, many things happened to make this a great month. That last minute Richard Wood own goal to win at Fleetwood was incredible, the way George Thomas knocked it past the last defender, how Chris Maxwell fumbled the ball on to Wood and how he chested it into his own net will always be up there in my favourite moments of the season. The signing of ex-England international Joe Cole was also something to behold, his capture just proves we are still a big club, even if it was only on loan to begin with.

  Battering Shrewsbury was a great sight to see off the back of a bad loss at Bury, but if there was one thing that could top all of the events in October was on the very last day. Coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at the Ricoh was insane for our first win in four, it seems to be something that always happens against Peterborough. We ended October in fourth place, four points off top of the league, but we had a very important game in hand to play yet. 


              Coventry City 4-3 Barnsley - Sky Bet League One - 3/11/15
            Kent (3)                   Mawson (48)
  Armstrong (18, 52)            Scowen (54, 90+6 pen)
            Cole (60)

   Coventry City 1-2 Northampton Town - FA Cup - 7/11/15 
     Murphy (10)         Diamond (5)
                                   Richards (18)
   Colchester United 1-3 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 14/11/15
           Bonne (17)         Murphy (32,40)
                                      Fortune (49)

   Coventry City 4-1 Gillingham - Sky Bet League One - 21/11/15
Murphy (34,41,44)   Dack (63)

 Bradford City 0-0 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 24/11/15

 Coventry City 2-2 Doncaster Rovers - Sky Bet League One - 28/11/15
 Armstrong (30)        Tyson (52,72)
         Fleck (59) 

Well the one huge talking point of November was the 4-1 win over Gillingham to take us top of the league, this was when I first thought "My god, we could actually be doing this" as we went unbeaten in the league once again. One thing that was annoying me however was how we were dropping points in games we should really be winning, Doncaster was yet another example of this. Unfortunately we made it 3/3 in the game of being knocked out in the first round of every single cup competition thanks to our 2-1 loss against Northampton. If I had to pick a moment of the month other than the Gillingham match it would probably have to be Joe Cole's free kick on his home début. At the end of November we proudly stood top of the pile for the first time since the start of the season.


Sheffield United 1-0 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 13/12/15
         Sharp (79)

Coventry City 1-1 Oldham Athletic - Sky Bet League One -19/12/15
    Martin (49)        Philliskirk (90+3)

Coventry City 1-0 Port Vale - Sky Bet League One - 26/12/15
Maddison (80)

Chesterfield 1-1 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 28/12/15
 Novak (38)       Maddison (89)

Not as many games this month, but 1 win, 2 draws, 1 loss isn't the best of records when you're trying to mount a promotion bid. At Sheffield United however, we were completely, absolutely, unequivocally robbed. It was the biggest smash and grab I have ever seen in all my years of watching Coventry. December did have some good moments however, both of Maddison's goals, especially the one at Chesterfield caused pandemonium in the stands. But we didn't show enough concentration when we conceded the last minute goal through Danny Philliskirk. So a lot of points dropped in December and we came out in fourth place, still a very respectable position but not as good as when we came in.


 Crewe Alexandra 0-5 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 2/1/16
                                     Armstrong (11, 30 pen, 45)
                                     Murphy (27, 85)

Coventry City 1-1 Walsall - Sky Bet League One - 12/1/16
    Stokes (34)       Bradshaw (81)

Coventry City 0-2 Burton Albion - Sky Bet League One - 16/1/16
                              Butcher (49)
                              Beavon (72)

   Southend United 3-0 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 23/1/16
      Payne (24)
Barnett (31, 68 pen)

       Coventry City 1-2 Scunthorpe United - Sky Bet League One - 30/1/16
 Armstrong (85 pen)     Hopper (9)
                                      Wallace (62)

 A month that started so perfectly by beating Crewe 5-0 turned so sour so quickly, we drew 1-1 with Walsall in a huge promotion match which we probably should have won. This put lots of pressure on us to beat Burton, Southend and Scunthorpe. We failed to beat all 3 of them, gaining only four points from January out of a possible fifteen. In a month that we could have gone top, we finished it in 5th, a whole 9 points off of Burton Albion in first. Seventh was becoming increasingly scary as the gap had closed to only 6 points. We needed to pick up results in February.


Port Vale 1-1 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 7/2/16
Kelly (84)       Murphy (42)

     Coventry City 6-0 Bury - Sky Bet League One - 13/2/16
            Stokes (4)
          Cargill (12)
     Maddison (16)
            Fleck (43)
Armstrong (68,70)

   Coventry City 1-2 Fleetwood Town - Sky Bet League One - 27/2/16
        Tudgay (75)      Burns (56)
                                  Ball (83)

  I really thought we had turned a corner when we got a hard fought draw at Vale park, one of the hardest places to go to and get points in the league, and when we absolutely obliterated Bury at home 6-0. That was potentially one of the best matches all season. But then to come out in the very next match and lose to Fleetwood, and of all people Steven Pressley, my high hopes came crashing down to earth once more, this upcoming March would make or break our season, but by the end of February we were down to 6th, just one point clear of Bradford.

    Barnsley 2-0 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 1/3/16
Roberts (10)
Fletcher (60)

   Coventry City 0-1 Rochdale - Sky Bet League One - 5/3/16 
                                 Henderson (89' pen)

  Shrewsbury Town 2-1 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 8/3/16
   Kaikai (9)                    Martin (4)
   Whalley (39)

  Blackpool 0-1 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 12/3/16
                           Fortune (26)

  Coventry City 0-0 Swindon Town - Sky Bet League One - 19/3/16

 Peterborough United 3-1 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 25/3/16
 Bostwick (45)                  Cole (65)
Angol (61)
Beautyman (69)

Coventry City 0-1 Colchester United - Sky Bet League One - 29/3/16
                               Massey (18)

 In short, March broke our season, once again I thought we had turned a corner when we beat Blackpool and very unluckily drew 0-0 with Swindon, but Coventry City ceased to disappoint me once more with the consecutive losses against Peterborough and Colchester which crushed any hope of a top 6 finish. We were now a whole 8 points off of 6th placed Bradford, all we could do now was just hope for a top half finish.


Gillingham 0-0 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 2/4/16

Wigan Athletic 1-0 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 9/4/16
  Grigg (57)

 Coventry City 2-1 Millwall - Sky Bet League One - 16/4/16
    Fleck (61)          Webster (19)
 Tudgay (70)

 Coventry City 1-0 Bradford City - Sky Bet League One - 19/4/16
  Rose (59)              

Doncaster Rovers 2-0 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 23/4/16
             Rowe (21)
        Williams (32)

Coventry City 3-1 Sheffield United - Sky Bet League One - 30/4/16
       Fortune (4)      Sharp (58' pen)
           Rose (8)
  Lameiras (87)

Oldham Athletic 0-2 Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - 8/5/16
                                    Vincelot (74)
                                    Armstrong (81)

 If we discount the Doncaster result as a one off shocker, April and May helped us restore some pride to guide us to a solid 8th place. Wins against Millwall and Bradford were highly unexpected but were welcomed with opening arms. A couple of incredible goals came out in April, which leads me on to the highly anticipated 'A View From The Stands' awards ceremony for the 2015/2016 season. 

Player Of The Season - Nominees:

Adam Armstrong

20 goals from the on-loan Newcastle man is obviously going to catch the eye of anyone who looks at our squad. For me personally, he has accumulated four MOTM awards:

Wigan Athletic (Home)
Millwall (Away)
Shrewsbury Town (Home)
Crewe Alexandra (Away)

I was probably being harsh giving Arma only the four awards, early on, I thought I may have to limit him to stop him running away with it. In terms of individual performances, Adam would win it hands down, but this award looks for consistency across the full season, which he lacks due to just 4 goals since January. Will this be enough to get him the award?

Reice Charles-Cook

 Remember back in October when Cook got his chance in the squad due to Burge's illness? Well he took that chance with two massive goalkeeping hands and never looked back, he also managed to accumulate 4 awards:

Fleetwood Town (Away)
Port Vale (Home)
Port Vale (Away)
Bradford City (Home)

 That away match against Port Vale was just a prime example of Cook's abilities, he played out of his skin that match. 'That' save from the deflected free kick will always go down in my memories. He has come along way since that 'flappy' keeper some people saw back in December time. After signing a new contract I will hope to see him at the Sky Blues for a number of years, but the question right now is will he get the award for this season.

Chris Stokes

 Up until his injury against Blackpool, Stokesy started every single match we played, and didn't look like slowing down. Since signing from Forest Green of all teams he's managed to burst into the squad, also picking up four awards.

Swindon Town (Away)
Walsall (Home)
Scunthorpe United (Home)
Fleetwood Town (Home)

 If there's one thing that Stokes has so far that the other two do not, it is consistency across the season. In all of our downfall since Christmas, Stokes' improvement has been a silver lining, sometimes he could be accused of going missing on some occasions. I would disagree with this personally, but due to his injury, does this put Chris out of contention for player of the season?

Player Of The Season - Winner:

Chris Stokes!

That's right, all season it has come down to this, that left back Pressley brought in from the non-league has done it! I am glad he's had his contract extended by another year as we get another whole season of this wisdom. Who knows, he may even be the next Jamie Vardy and might break into the England squad in a couple of years time! That may be going a bit far, but you can't deny he deserves it, long live the king, long live the Stokes!

Signing Of The Season - Nominees:

Adam Armstrong

Once again it comes back to the 20 goals he scored, I will always look out for Armstrong in the coming years to see how one of the best prospects in the country does in his career. But this loan deal from Newcastle may go down as a stroke of genius from boss Tony Mowbray, lets just hope he can pull another signing like this out of the bag for next year.

 Jacob Murphy

Another loanee, this time from Norwich, I will also have fond memories thanks to Jacob, especially his hat trick against Gillingham to send us top of the league back in November, ah how times have changed since then. He also contributed a lot to the team, 10 goals from midfield is nothing to turn your nose up at, as well as a hatful of assists alongside that.

Joe Cole

 First as a loan and then on a free transfer, what a signing this was. He didn't produce the fireworks everyone was expecting, but he certainly did a job on and off the field. If we're talking about fond memories of the season, then you need to look no further than his free kick against Barnsley on his home debut. What a strike, and what a signing he was, I really do hope he does come back in October like he says he might. He still provides vital experience for the evergrowing list of young players we are adding to the books.

Romain Vincelot

Our first cash buy for a couple of years, and a solid buy at that, his partnership with official player of the season John Fleck proved to be crucial in the centre of midfield. We were certainly a better team when the Frenchman was playing, even if he did go under the radar at times, I only gave him one award all season, he definitely deserves some recognition for all his work!

Signing Of The Season - Winner:

Adam Armstrong!

Can you really compete with this? I would be being harsh if I didn't give him an award for his (I'm going to say it again) 20 goals. It's just a shame he'll be returning to Newcastle, good luck in the future Adam, one day you'll be banging goals in for England!

Goal Of The Season - Nominees

I'm not going to go in to detail about each individual goal because let's face it, you've probably seen them all on repeat, well I certainly have anyway!

Adam Armstrong vs Millwall - 35 Yard Chip

Jacob Murphy vs Walsall - Two Touch Top Corner

Adam Armstrong vs Peterborough - Chop Turn Far Post

Joe Cole vs Barnsley - Debut Free Kick

John Fleck vs Bury - 30 Yard Bottom Corner

John Fleck vs Millwall - 30 Yard Top Corner 

Andy Rose vs Barnsley - 25 Yard Volley Bar And In

Goal Of The Season - Winner

John Fleck vs Millwall - 30 Yard Top Corner 

There were many contenders, Fleck is known for his screamers, so I suppose it is only fitting that one of them wins the goal of the season. This one wasn't like the rest however, normally he smashes it with his laces but on this occasion he side footed it perfectly in to the top corner, way out of the goalkeepers reach. A worthy winner of a not so prestigious award.  

Unsung Hero - Winner:

Aaron Martin - I will go into more detail in a minute, but why oh why did we not offer him a new contract? He's been very solid all season, especially since he's had to put up with many different centre back partners. The reason I'm giving him unsung hero is because he rarely gets any recognition for his work in defence, I even saw him as potential captain material one day. But obviously that is not to be, I would also put Romain Vincelot in as a close second place.

Overall Verdict - Is 8th good enough?

 I saw something very interesting the other day, it was the idea that season expectations can be changed. My expectations in August were mid-table, so I would have taken eighth at the start of the season. However, if you had asked me what my season expectations were on November 22nd I would have said automatic promotion, or at the very least play offs. So going by that I am disappointed with how we threw what we had away like that. 

 I'm trying to look into this in as positive a light as possible, if you compare the final days from the end of the 14/15 season to the 15/16 season then it will make it look slightly better. This time last year we had to go to Crawley on the final day and win to stay in the third tier of English football. Compare that to this season and we went to Oldham, playing for pride and won 2-0 with ease. Personally I would call that progress. 

 Next season I shall return to what I said here to see if we improve yet again, hopefully this time it leads us into a top 6 spot for the first time in 47 years. 

Contract Decisions - Did Mowbray make the right choices?

I like how Tony has shifted all of the unneeded deadwood such as Thomas, Henderson, Hunt, Ramage and Fortune, those I can get behind. One player I am surprised to see offered a new contract is Sam Ricketts, towards the end of the season he showed clear signs of deterioration. He didn't even look like he wanted to be on the pitch. But it is looking quite likely the captain will see out his career with the Sky Blues.

 I would have liked to have seen more of Martin Lorentszon but Mowbray must have thought he didn't adapt well enough to the English game to deserve a new deal, so I can also agree with this decision. Jim O'Brien I would have loved to have stayed but if he doesn't want to stay then he doesn't want to stay. There's nothing we can do to change that. Marcus Tudgay I am glad we have offered a new deal to, he scores goals when given a chance, so the obvious thing to do is give him that chance.

 Younger players like Ivor Lawton and both Kelly-Evans' being given contracts is a no brainer, we have good prospects so why not utilise them. I am wary about Lawton's leg break but he has assured everyone he will be back better than ever when he returns around September time. Finally, the two players I am not sure on the decisions have been made are Reda Johnson and Aaron Martin. Reda being released I can almost understand why, but apparently he's allowed to train with us to see if he gets a new contract, fingers crossed he pulls through. As for Aaron Martin, I am shocked as to why he's not been given a new deal, he has made brilliant progress this season, forcing himself into the starting line up. 

 So in conclusion, the 15/16 season has given us Coventry fans a mixture of feelings, from delight and elation, to anger and fury. One thing I can say is that this has easily been my best and favourite year supporting the Sky Blues. From kicking things across a room in anger after losing to Sheffield United to getting back at 22:30 after Blackpool away, I am glad that this is how I've spent my year and I wouldn't swap it for anything. I look forward to doing exactly the same thing again next year!

Thursday, 12 May 2016

My Forty-Seventh 15/16 Game - Coventry City vs Sheffield United

 I am proud to say I have been to the Ricoh for all 25 of the matches it's hosted this season, my highlight probably being the 3-2 comeback against Peterborough, or the 6-0 demolishing of Bury. What a way it would to end our topsy turvey season here by beating Sheffield United and crushing their promotion dreams in the process, but we would have to do that with a slightly different squad to usual.

Starting XI

Vincelot Martin Stephens Hunt
                 Rose Fleck
    Fortuné G Thomas Armstrong


Phillips (69)
Lameiras (78)
Jones (65)

 Many talking points from this squad selection, firstly, George Thomas starting in a front three formation is quite new. Another youth player made the bench in the form of Cian Harries, it's about time he got a chance. From what I've seen of him he is a very good centre back prospect for the future. Jodi Jones returned from illness to make it onto the bench. Finally, Stephen Hunt made a rare appearance at left-back due to Ricketts' injury which rules him out for the two remaining games.

  The Sky Blues started the match in the best possible way, Armstrong burst down the left to try and get his 20th goal, Armstrong struck from 25 yards out, the ball deflected off the backside of Marc-Antoine Fortuné. The keeper was left stranded as the ball found its way into the bottom left corner. The perfect start in the last home game, hopefully we could build on this.

  Build on this we did, from a failed corner attempt Joe Cole found himself with the ball on the right wing, he then proceeded to cut in, then with a killer pass which split open the Blades' defence which found Andy Rose who finished wonderfully in the top corner, astonishingly, it was 2-0 after just 8 minutes had been played, I was in shock.

 Now I don't really want to say we took our foot off the gas, but we did, so closed out the half two goals to the good. I was happy about this for more reason than one, one of those being that we really owed Sheffield United after their daylight robbery at Brammall Lane with Billy Sharp's shoulder getting their goal. This was why we needed to hold out for the 3 points in the remaining 45 minutes.

 Almost on the hour mark, the Blades got themselves a counter attack, after an alleged foul on Fortuné they all proceeded to dart into our half, then on the six yard box line Stephens put a foot in to prevent Sharp from scoring. In my opinion he got the ball, but the half-hearted appeal was enough for the referee to award the penalty. Who else but Billy Sharp stepped up, he rocketed it right down the middle, as Charles-Cook dived out of the way. 2-1.

 Then, after then introduction of Jodi Jones we tried pushing for the decisive goal. He was 2 on 1 with Ruben Lameiras with just minutes to go. He perhaps selfishly decided to shoot, this turned out to be the wrong choice as it was struck straight at the keeper. Jones learnt from this however, after winning the ball back deep in the Sheffield half he squared the ball to the edge of the box. A lovely flick on from Phillips put it into the path of Lameiras once again who fooled the keeper, sending him the wrong way by making it 3-1 with a left footed strike into the bottom left corner.

  This was how the game ended, a nice way to sign off our home season, all we needed now is 3 points to accumulate our highest EVER points tally since the 3 points for a win rule was introduced. We would be given a chance for those 3 points at Oldham away in the final day of the season, which will be the next 'A View From The Stands', the final one of the season.

 My Man Of The Match - John Fleck - How I hope this man stays at Coventry next season, one of the best players we've had for a good few years. This is his third award of the season, maybe an award at Oldham will put him in with a shout of player of the season award.

My Forty-Sixth 15/16 Game - Doncaster Rovers vs Coventry City

 St George's Day, 6 points off play offs with 3 matches to go. Unlikely, but we still have to believe! Doncaster could be relegated if we beat them and results elsewhere went against them, which would be a nice touch, as evil as that sounds! But we still were mathematically in with a shout so couldn't throw youngsters in the squad just yet.

Starting XI:

Ricketts Stephens Martin Phillips
               Vincelot Fleck
          Jones Rose Murphy


Gadzhev (58)
Maddison (69)
Tudgay (58)

 Andy Rose starting in a central attacking midfield position is a new sight, but at least we are keeping an eye for the future in some ways as he has a contract until June 2017 and has been referred to as a key figure for next season by Tony Mowbray. Gadzhev found himself on the bench, maybe he could make his debut here as he also might play a part next season. Armstrong still however was stuck on 19 goals, he's been searching so hard for his 20th, could today be the day?

 The Sky Blues started out fairly brightly, Ricketts managed to get down the left wing and put a ball in to Armstrong. 12 yards out and he needed to hit it first time to be in with a chance of making it 1-0. He did this, but defenders were quick to nullify his attack by blocking the ball as soon as he struck it. One of John Fleck's famous 30 yarder a was smothered by the goalkeeper, we needed to be taking our chances.

 Inevitably, this came back to bite us, Gary McSheffrey of all people played the ball into the box for Tommy Rowe to nod in absolutely unmarked in the area. Poor defending, once again, from a set piece. Jacob Murphy almost mirrored Ricketts' earlier work by going down the left, Armstrong's shot this time was saved by the keepers leg. Our mild attempts at attacks were punished once again when Nathan Tyson played the ball into Andy Williams for yet another free header to make it 2-0 to the side in the relegation zones. Abysmal scenes going into half time.

 Even in the second half we showed no desire to try and overturn the deficit, our three subs bringing on Tudgay, Gadzhev for his debut and Maddison didn't seem to work. I don't have much to talk about for the second period, Doncaster shut up shop and we didn't seem to care anymore. This, along with Southend away, was the worst I have seen us play all season, we were absolutely shocking. I genuinely have no words to describe my disappointment.

 Well there was one thing that this defeat told us, it is finally mathematically impossible for the Sky Blues to make it into the playoffs, part of me is relieved, now we can go into Sheffield United and Oldham playing the likes of George Thomas and Cian Harries, players that will be involved next year. That Sheffield United game will be the next 'A View From The Stands' the last home game and the penultimate match of the season.

My Man Of The Match - Andy Rose - I might as well have picked a name out of a hat, someone has to win the award so I'll give it to Rose for his tireless effort when he has played since joining in January. This is his first award of the season. At least he managed to get on the scoreboard.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

My Forty-Fifth 15/16 Game - Coventry City vs Bradford City

Three days after our unlikely 2-1 victory over Millwall we faced up to yet another promotion pushing team, Bradford. Once again, they were backed by a rather impressive following, especially for a Tuesday night. A few murmurs had been whispered around fans that a win here and results going our way could potentially put us back into the race for play offs. I on the other hand wasn't getting so carried away.

Starting XI

Phillips Martin Stephens Ricketts
             Vincelot Fleck
  Lameiras Maddison Cole


Bigirimana (59)
Rose (59)
Tudgay (70)

 A solid team to field, in October, this would be a team to look out for, now however. Teams know how to deal with it so it is less effective as a force. Jodi Jones missed out through illness once again, and Cole on the wing worried me slightly, we seemed to be rolling back the years to his Chelsea days with this move, but then again, what other choices do we have?

  As predicted, this game, much like at Valley Parade, was low scoring and if there were a goal it would be smash and grab. We just had to be the team to grab it. Both sides had first half chances, the Bantams with a pass across goal that couldn't get the tap in it needed. Ours came on the stroke of half time (Funny how that works) when Ruben Lameiras evaded the tackles of 2 defenders but was eventually brought down in the area. At the time, this looked stone wall, as plain as you like, but looking back on highlights he did make it look a tad theatrical.

 We then made a couple of substitutions, bringing on Bigirimana and Rose for Lamieras and Cole. At the time these seemed like stupid subs. But I was instantly proven wrong, 11 seconds later in fact. A free kick from inside the Coventry half was hoofed forward, poorly cleared to Andy Rose 25 yards out. With his first touch of the match, he struck beautifully on the volley, the ball crashed off the underside of the bar over the line and then finally into the roof of the net. A contender for goal of the season from the man on a free from Seattle Sounders.

 A ball was then played over the top for Bradford, the man who played Billy Clarke in was offside but this didn't matter as the forward spooned wide anyway. Charles-Cook was then almost beaten by a looping header but did well to get back and get a hand to it. We then made our final substitution, Marcus Tudgay replaced James Maddison in a somewhat surprsing switch, but I was happy to see we weren't shutting up shop.

 Frustrations were beginning to show for the Bradford players, with 8 minutes remaining, Steve Davies was sent off for lashing out and kicking Jack Stephens in the back of the leg. This resulted in a straight red for violent conduct. Some say it's harder to play against 10 men, but we proved that theory wrong against Millwall as we came from behind after the red card. But this time it was different, we were in a winning position. Could we still hang on?

 Those were a very nervy last few minutes, Bradford got themselves a couple of free kicks on the edge of the box, the first, Charles-Cook caught to his right. The second however, was a lot closer to the goal. Deep into injury time, Lee Evans took this one a lot different to the first, this time down to Charles-Cook's left, It was a heart in mouth moment, but the young keeper managed to get his hand to it. Fans celebrated it like a goal as Bigirimana smashed clear. 3 more minutes of the 7 given were then played out for a brilliant 1-0 win.
  This 3 points sparked some Coventry fans into a frenzy, these think that as results have gone our way once again, we still have the opportunity to make the play offs. 6 points off with 9 available, personally, I believe it's very unlikely we will. But let's remain positive because why not? The next 'A View From The Stands' will be our away trip to all but relegated Doncaster. Hopefully we can find a win at the Keepmoat!

 My Man Of The Match - Reice Charles-Cook - All hail the cookie monster, a very solid performance, he's come a long way this season so hopefully he will press on in the coming years. This takes him level for Player of the season on four awards completely out of nowhere. He's joked he's like to overtake Steve Ogrizovic's 600+ appearances, maybe one day that could become a reality!

Monday, 2 May 2016

My Forty-Fourth 15/16 Game - Coventry City vs Millwall

 Once more if we cast our minds back to the reverse fixture, potentially the best performance of the season at The Den, winning 4-0. Now however, we are in mid-table and Millwall are pushing for play offs and were backed by a big following, which would have been a lot more had they not got such a bad reputation in the world of football. But I suppose that is their own fault. So the match was heavily policed.

Phillips Martin Stephens Ricketts
              Fleck Vincelot
     Rose      Cole      Lameiras


Lorentszon (85)
Maddison (36)
Tudgay (55)

 An interesting selection, Jodi Jones being away due to an illness was met with the return of Andy Rose, very different players but both can play on the right effectively. Armstrong however was back to playing as a lone striker, I wasn't sure what to make of it, was this a step in the right or wrong direction. Only time would tell, Lameiras' reintroduction was something I was happy about as well.

  From the off, Millwall were attacking very strongly, from a Shane Ferguson corner Byron Webster's bullet header left Charles-Cook stranded as it almost tore apart the net. Unfortunately our recent performances couldn't carry forward to stop us going 1-0 down after just 20 minutes. The Sky Blues thought they had the equaliser in the form of Joe Cole with a flick onto the post, he poked home the rebound which sparked celebrations amongst the home fans, These were muted however with the sight of the offside flag on the far side. This was met with some amusement from the travelling Millwall fans.

  Then, Shaun Williams handed Coventry a chance to get back into the game on the half hour mark when he headbutted Ruben Lameiras and got an instant red card. With an hour still to play, the question on everyone's lips was, could the Sky Blues take advantage of the extra man to potentially come back and win the game? Only time would tell. We couldn't however get anything before half time.

 In the second half we came out fighting from the off, clearly trying to make the most of the extra man. We even brought off Ricketts for striker Marcus Tudgay in a bid to get the equaliser. The breakthrough was finally made in the 61st minute, Aaron Phillips laid off to John Fleck and with an effort from 35 yards it found the top corner. This not only was a stunner of a strike, but also won Sky Sports Goal of The Day to level the match.

  Fleck once again went on a good run just 9 minutes later, he played the ball into Armstrong whom with his first touch lobbed the defence perfectly into the path of Marcus Tudgay, he lunged forward to get a foot on it which took it past the keeper putting the Sky Blues a goal to the good. Fans got their own back on Millwall after the earlier incident by running over to the segregation point, police had to get involved to prevent fan disturbance.

 Thus began very nervous 20 minutes for the Sky Blues, we corrected the earlier attacking substitution, bringing on Lorentszon for Ruben Lameiras. Millwall had chances which Charles-Cook dealt with accordingly, and we managed to hold out for a very hard fought and much needed 3 points. This is our first win in 6 matches.

 A sort of win we had been needing for a while, now the aim has to be top 10 since play offs is pretty much down the drain. But on we go to our next match and the next 'A View From The Stands' which is a home tie against another side pushing for promotion, Bradford City. Hopefully we can get another 3 points to add to our final season tally.

 My Man Of The Match - John Fleck - That goal alone should be enough for him to receive the award, but he also had a great game with passing up, setting up the move for Tudgay's goal. This, remarkably, is only his second award of the season. Hopefully Tony Mowbray will work some magic to make the Scot stay.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

My Forty-Third 15/16 Game - Wigan Athletic vs Coventry City

If we cast our minds back to the reverse fixture on the opening day of the season, we went in as underdogs but came out 2-0 victors and looked like serious contenders for promotion in the league once we'd got a few more wins under our belt. Here we were with 6 games to go and all that promise was gone, we were heading towards yet another mediocre mid-table finish. But we had to give the Latics our best effort if we were to have a go at getting 6 points out of them for the season.

Phillips Martin Stephens Ricketts
            Bigirimana Fleck
       Armstrong Tudgay

Cole (54)
Murphy (63)
Fortune (63)

  I'm not exactly sure what formation we played but it looked something like that, Armstrong and Tudgay is a good partnership up top but they haven't had enough minutes together to show this. Gadzhev made it into the squad for the first time, which is a good sign for next season when other players undoubtedly leave. Darius Henderson however seems to have been completely worked out of the side which is a good sight to see.

  The first passage of play in the game came for Fleck, his 20-yard effort forced a very good save out of veteran goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen down to his left. Good early signs. We very nearly made the breakthrough once again when Jodi Jones made it round the back of the defence and his shot nearly went in but equally nearly made it into the path of Vincelot. Recent tactic changes were really paying off.

 Wigan are top of the league and top for a reason however, so hit back, a nice passage of play put Charles-Cook to work just before the break. In the second half however something was different, for the first 10 minutes we were under the kosh, just not attacking. You could sense what was coming as we were under so much pressure, and sure enough, after Cole's substitution, Will Grigg stabbed home a cross into the roof of the net. 1-0 Wigan.

  It then got worse for the Sky Blues when John Fleck put in a reckless challenge in the area but the attacking Wigan player did go down very late, but who knows. The resulting penalty was something I hadn't seen in so long, Charles-Cook guessed right and saved it! Coventry City kept a penalty out, it must be a miracle. Unfortunately however, we couldn't take control of the game using this momentum so unfortunately it ended 1-0 to the home side.

 Poor result, but once again, positive signs from the match. Forgetting the loss, a very good away day, the fans at half time were incredible to say the least. Still, on we go, as we near the end of the season the next 'A View From The Stands' will be at home to Millwall, maybe, just maybe, we can get back to winning ways.

 My Man Of The Match - Aaron Phillips - The right back has had a quiet season but keeping Wildschut out for most of the game is enough to get him an award this time around. This is his first award of the season, and most likely his only one, but thank you Aaron, and well done for making it on the 'scoreboard' this season.