When an "away" game is closer to your home than a home game, it is a very weird feeling, which is what I experienced as my favourite side faced my local side at Butlin Road, a place I regularly play football in sight of at the nearby Astro Turf pitches. But as for my affiliation with the club itself, it goes no further than a Football Manager save I eventually give up on (Currently I have them in 3rd place in the Conference North and still going strong), or as far as knowing a couple of players in the side. But enough about me and down to business, this is the third friendly the Sky Blues have taken part in, after beating Nuneaton 2-1 10 days previous, then travelling to Austria for a training camp where we faced local side SK Sturm Graz and narrowly lost 3-2 against the former Champions League side.
That is not a bad result in the slightest but we would be looking to give other players a chance rather than our nailed on senior squad as it is against some part timers in the eighth tier. Even when the fixture was announced it was clearly advertised that we would be sending a "Coventry City XI." My pre-match squad prediction was a mix of U18s and U21s as well as the veteran duo of Marcus Tudgay and Sam Ricketts to keep them in check,
Coventry City Starting XI:
Coventry City Substitutes:
I wasn't too far off with my prediction, it was just the absence of Ricketts I got wrong. this meant that Tudgay led the line as the most senior member and one of only 2 players in the starting eleven above the age of 20. We had some impact subs if needs be but unfortunately Jodi Jones had to miss out as he picked up an injury during the warm up but has insured it was just a precaution and that he should be back very soon. Youngsters or not, this side should be able to beat eighth tier Rugby with only 1 player I've heard of; 35 goal a season striker on my football manager save David Kolodynski.
We got off to a nightmare start when a defensive mishap put Kolodynski through on goal to slot past Charles-Cook putting the home side a goal to the good. I couldn't help but think the experienced head of Sam Ricketts would have really helped out in this sort of situation. It took us another 10 minutes to have a real attempt on goal and that came in the form of George Thomas going through and the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant point blank save to keep Rugby in the lead.
Another 6 minutes later and we did manage to equalise, Kyle Spence got the goal when he slotted directly through Connor's legs from the middle of the box. Only a minute later the game was stopped for a water break, believe me, they needed it as the game was played in the sweltering heat of 32 degrees. There was one each half about midway through even though it was an evening kick off. Back in business and Thomas tested the keeper once again from 18 yards, he made a diving save and pushed it out to his left.
Reice Charles-Cook had to make a great save to tip over a Kolodynski header 10 minutes before half time. I'm not sure who it was who played the pass but it was a sensational one to put Thomas one on one with the keeper having beaten the offside trap. Under immense pressure having only the keeper to beat he kept his cool and completed the second nutmeg goal of the night. I would say normality had been resumed as aside from their two Kolodynski attempts we were easily the better team.
From the off the second half was dull, the changes didn't really seem to do much. The only thing I can think of was the obscene amount of offside decisions we had go against us throughout that second period. It really was that bad. But after a few more substitutions, sidewards passes and a water break the game finished. Our second 2-1 victory of pre-season. We now have to go onto our next fixture against Newport County, I will be making the trip to Wales to report as always on 'A View From The Stands'.
My Man Of The Match - George Thomas - If it weren't for the great game that Rugby goalkeeper Connor had then George would have a hat trick, instead he walked away with just the one goal. I really hope he can press on in this upcoming season as he is one of the best youth prospects at the club.