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!

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