Saturday, 9 July 2016

My First 16/17 Game - Nuneaton Town vs Coventry City

 After a two month wait since Oldham on the final day, Coventry City are finally back in business with our first pre-season match, the annual trip to Nuneaton Town. Personally I'd been looking forward to this one for absolutely ages to get a first look at the new Sky Blue side with no loans and pretty much down to bare bones. The loss of John Fleck to league rivals Sheffield United could really hit us hard going in to the new campaign so that's why it's crucial both Rose and Gadzhev step up to the plate. We are also looking forward to seeing whether Marvin Sordell, George Thomas or Kwame Thomas are able to emulate Adam Armstrong's heroics of last season. All of these question will be answered in the coming months, but Nuneaton was our first glimpse.

Coventry Starting XI:
Dev. Kelly-Evans

 Obviously in pre-season you need to get a good idea of who's going to start come August and gives a chance for players to impress, that is why so many youth players played, as well as us changing the entire squad at the break. Young players eager to impress would be Leahy, Whitmore, Maycock and Devon Kelly-Evans whom all played a part in the U21 set-up last season. We also had the experienced heads of Ricketts and Tudgay in there to keep the youngsters in check, with Ricketts telling the armband.

First Half:

Just 4 minutes into the game and the Sky Blues had a scare with a pinball machine situation in the box, Lee Burge had to pull out a wonderful save to scoop the ball off the line to keep the scores at 0-0. 3 minutes later Marcus Tudgay had a half chance from a corner but nodded wide, if there's one thing we do need to improve it is our set pieces, if Reda Johnson officially leaves then we have no aerial threat. However on the other hand a positive to take from our current squad is that we have very skilful and pacy wingers, we saw this when Ryan Haynes (A natural full back) made a run down the left side only to drag off to the right. It remained goalless.

 We then had our best chance of the half so far after 26 minutes when Lameiras cut down the right wing on to his left foot, opened his body up and let fly. The shot cannoned off the crossbar but the Sky Blues carried on pressing, but it was Nuneaton whom had the next chance with their number 8, I can't give names because they had none, shooting just wide. 7 minutes before the break and Haynes began to rip the Nuneaton right back to pieces once more, he left him for dead and laid the ball off to Rubén Lameiras, he made no mistake this time and stuck the ball in the top corner making it a long-awaited one goal lead to the Sky Blues.
                   CCFC fans turned up in great numbers to see their side face Nuneaton Town.

 On the stroke of half time Ryan Haynes went down the wing once again but this time slipped the ball straight to Devon Kelly-Evans, he was one on one with the keeper, he took his time very well and Cruyffed the keeper and tapped in to an open net doubling our lead. Going into half time with a 2-0 lead the new squad would have a good head start for the second period.

Second Half Coventry XI:
Dion Kelly-Evans
G Thomas

 11 new faces unless you count Devon's identical twin Dion but it was a similar situation to the first, with Harries, Stevenson, Shipley and George Thomas all playing having come through the youth academy. Jordan Willis played his first match in nearly a year after he got injured very early on, he took the armband for the second 45 minutes. Marvin Sordell made his first appearance and as the marquee signing so far everyone was very eager to see how he would get on and hoped he would bag a goal.
                         Marvin Sordell and George Thomas lined up in the second half in attack.
Second Half:

Sordell got involved almost straight away when from a corner he sliced over the bar. On the 68th minute Deneis Whitehouse headed from point-blank range but Charles-Cook pulled off a wonderful save to keep our 2-0 lead. But the keeper in full yellow could do nothing about the 25-yard half volley effort which zoomed past him to make the game interesting again and leave us with a slightly uncomfortable final 10 minutes but as it was a pre-season friendly the result doesn't mean to much.

 We carried on trying to go for a third goal however, George Thomas had a crack from 18 yards but shot straight down the keeper's throat. Then wth just 4 minutes remaining Marvin Sordell almost matched Lameiras' effort from the first half but this time hit the post instead of the bar. In his 45 minutes he played fairly well but will need some more time to prove himself before Swindon on the 6th of August. But his effort was the last action of the game as in our first pre-season friendly.

One thing I am slightly concerned about is the performance of John Fleck replacement Gadzhev, he clearly doesn't seem ready for the fierceness of the English game just yet, he needs a lot of work before we begin our campaign in less than a month, but aside from that it was a very promising win, but then again as I have said, pre-season means nothing when the real thing begins.

 I'm very glad to be back writing about Coventry and hope to do it just as much next season. I would love to say that the second 'A View From The Stands' will be against Saudi Araban side side Al Ettiifaq during our tour of Austria but it is very unlikely I will be making the trip over for obvious reasons. So due to that the actual second post will be our tie against Rugby Town at Butlin Road which will be a special one as it is against my home town club,

My Man Of The Match - Ryan Haynes - It's very hard to pick a man of the match when everyone played 45 minutes but during the first half he was a brilliant option down the left-wing providing the attacking options with ammunition, if he plays like that I can see him giving Chris Stokes a run for his money in the left-back position next season.

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