Tuesday, 22 November 2016

My Thirtieth 16/17 Game - Bolton Wanderers vs Coventry City

 The real question about tonight is, was I mad or loyal for going? I'm going to go for mad personally based on Oxford at the weekend, I still believe that was the worst I have ever seen us play. I also thought pre-match that it could get a whole lot worse as Bolton are second in the league, even more reason why we it could have been really embarrassing for us. In fact I was so confident that we wouldn't win tonight I tweeted:

"If we beat Bolton then I will buy everyone who RT's this a Twix and I'll shave my head."

 I was being deadly serious when I said this, but would it come true? You'll have to read on and see, but I for one was so sure it wouldn't happen.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Sterry
Willis
Turnbull
Harries
Page

Stevenson
Bigirmana

Agyei
Sordell
Reid

Coventry City Substitutes:

Charles-Cook
Maycock
Gadzhev
Lameiras
Jones
Wright
McBean

I didn't blame Venus for reverting back to the 5 at the back. I'm glad to see McBean getting a chance in the league, albeit from the bench. I would have taken a point at kick off, but I've already made my feelings known what I thought would happen. I wanted us to go down with dignity, to play better than Saturday. But anything would be an improvement on what occurred at the weekend...

First Half

 It would be a test to see how long we would be able to keep them out for, Burge made an outstanding save in the early minutes. Vela cut it back to Madine who from about 2 yards looked destined to score but the City keeper came across brilliantly to push it around the post. He wasn't there 4 minutes later though to pick up the pieces from Jordan Willis' mistake. He failed to win a header so Clough was through and dinked Burge. With a helpful flick off the post it was 1-0 to the hosts.

 I got the feeling that it could be a rough night for us at this point but in typical Phil Parkinson fashion they started to sit back a bit from this point onwards. Agyei, Reid and Sordell all had half chances, but none of them were really clear cut. Bolton's defence was exceptional, they were blocking everything, should we even get in a position to shoot in the first place.

 All things aside, Bolton were the side that got closest to scoring this side of half time. Poor defending meant that the ball trickled through to Clough on his own. I was certain he'd bury it but instead he bottled it and shot right into Burge's arms. We got let off, but we were certainly getting back into the game.

Second Half

 It's depressing to say but I wasn't too disenheartened to be a goal down at half time, we had actually played some decent football. It was even possible that if we kept pressing that we could nick a point, or maybe even all 3. Wishful thinking but football is a funny old game. Immediately in the second period we looked the better side, a thorn in our side though was Bolton's defending. That accompanied with the fact Sordell was forced to play on the right wing for a large portion of the game.

 We had a brief scare on the hour mark where Burge was called into action on 2 more occasions, once from Sammy Ameobi to his left. Then once more from Zach Clough's free kick on to the post, he was seriously having an exceptional game between the sticks. We made a positive double change as this happened, we ditched the 5 back by taking Harried off for Lameiras, as well as Agyei coming off for Jones.

These two genuinely looked like the game changers as soon as the came on, Jodi had an attempt with 20 minutes remaining as he set it up on his left to have a dig. Alnwick did well considering he saw it late to scramble across and tip it round the post. The other sub Rubén Lamieras had an attempt
cleared off the line by Wilson.

 Jordan Turnbull of all people had one of the best chances yet, completely unmarked from a corner he  had a free header to try and get the equaliser but instead he headed it right onto Beevers' head, either way it was going about a yard wide. He's a big lad so you'd expect him to get that on target. As a last ditch attempt to get a goal, Jack McBean replaced Kyel Reid, who was an unsung hero for the night. I was surprised to see someone make their league debut instead of him getting the last 10 minutes.

 However much we tried, we just couldn't get the ball in the net. Then... deep in injury time the ball came to Gael Bigirmana 25 yards out. He had a free run to take it to the edge of the box, he coiled his right peg back ready to blast it in the top corner. But then you remember it's Gael Bigirmana who can do it all, except shoot, so it went about 2 yards wide.

 Our last chance of the game, we came away from the Macron with no points on a day we probably should have shared the spoils. I'm not angry compared to the Scunthorpe match though as Bolton looked like a very good side capable of promotion. Hopefully we channel this to MK Dons at home on Saturday to get back on track. Which as always I'll be attending and reporting on.

My Man of the Match - Lee Burge - Yet again Burge gets the award, it's getting ridiculous how good he's been recently, him and Bigirmana look to be in a two horse race for the player of the season award at this point in time, but there's still a long way to go. We're not even halfway yet, still enough time for a complete collapse, or a promotion push... Thanks for reading 👍🏻

Sunday, 20 November 2016

My Twenty-Ninth 16/17 Game - Oxford United vs Coventry City

 Don't think I'm getting sloppy writing these as this is out on the Sunday, because I'm not. For the second week in a row it's out on the day after so I have a chance to reign myself in and not be too angry writing it. Scunthorpe last week got me riled up, as did Oxford away yesterday, this time though for a completely different reason. 

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge 

Sterry
Willis
Turnbull
Page

Stevenson
Bigirimana
Gadzhev

Lameiras
Sordell
Wright

Coventry City Substitutes:

Charles-Cook
Harries
Maycock
Jones
Reid
Agyei 
Tudgay

 On paper, that side looks quite good, Rose missed out through injury but we managed to cope without him for 6 weeks so it's not too big of a deal to see Gadzhev come into the side. I was dismayed to see Wright start instead of either Jones or Reid given how poor he was last time out. But I really hoped we would be able to get back on track today against a side we overcame 2-1 last month.

First Half

 As I said, we look good on paper, but the game is played on grass, as we saw from start to finish. We were dreadful for the full 90 minutes, the first 5 minutes were horrific, we were lucky to hold the scores level for 7 minutes. No one closed down Hemmings, he had a clear run through and very easily slotted it under Lee Burge. 

 The pressure wasn't stopping, they had chance after chance after chance. They doubled their lead on the half hour mark, Hemmings once again had the opportunity but it was saved by Lee Burge right into Sterry and then in the back of the net. It was quite a lucky goal but you couldn't say it wasn't deserved, 2-0.

 Then only 4 minutes later Lewis Page came steaming in with a pointless tackle to give away a penalty, Chris Maguire (Yep, that Chris Maguire) sent Burge the wrong way from 12 yards. It could've been 4 if not for the Coventry academy keeper. He came off his line quickly and became big to deny Hemmings. 

Wright had a half hearted shot which Eastwood collected easily but it was met with sarcastic cheers from the Sky Blue Army as if we'd scored followed up with chants of "We had a shot." But really it went into half time as an awful performance with Oxford 3-0 up.

Second Half

 Bizarrely we didn't make an impact sub of Jodi Jones or Kyel Reid, instead our saviour was centre back Cian Harries who replaced Stevenson. We nearly scored an actual goal when Page pulled back to Lameiras who's attempt was blocked. Our one effort didn't help us though as on the hour mark Turnbull failed to clear it but gave it to Alex MacDonald who smashed it past Burge into the net.

  Even now we made ridiculous substitutions, Gadzhev came off for Maycock and Lameiras for Tudgay. The game went a bit dead until the 11 minutes of injury time thanks to Wes Thomas and Joe Skarz being forced off for the hosts. Sterry was brought down in the box, Tudgay stepped up and got a consolation which triggered the sarcastic chants again such as "We're gonna win 5-4" or "We're gonna win the league" but obviously there was no time and the game finished 4-1.

 In my years of watching Coventry City, that was easily the worst I have ever seen us play. It was horrific, there were only 2 players who I say put in an above abysmal performance, I'll get onto that in a minute. What added insult to injury was how Willis was the only player who came out and said anything after the match on social media. 

His girlfriend on the other hand had a fair amount to say for herself, referring to the City fans as "Gobby glory hunters". If she wants to explain how a team who haven't had a smidgen of glory for 30 years and spend their hard earned money on seeing 11 players not performing week in week out then she can be my guest. If we don't come every week and pay his wages then she doesn't get her money for her wag lifestyle. She is the definition of ungrateful.

Anyway, that's the end of that rant. I may be completely mad but my next match will be on Tuesday night against Bolton Wanderers, but if we got slaughtered here then I fear for us there. But hopefully they'll mark my thirtieth match by pulling something astonishing out of the bag. Unlikely but you never know...

My Man of the Match - Lee Burge - It's very hard to pick a man of the match from that side and you may question the fact I chose the goalkeeper whom conceded 4 but the fact of the matter is it could've been a whole lot worse than it was. This is his third award of the season I believe, the other two came under better circumstances. 

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

My Twenty-Eighth 16/17 Game - Coventry City vs Morecambe

It's always been said "The magic of the FA Cup", where David can face Goliath and beat him thanks to a dodgy tuft of grass or a two footed ankle breaker. In recent years we've been on the receiving end of a few shocks ourselves against the likes of Worcester City or Northampton Town whilst they were not only in League 2 but also in financial turmoil. You don't however quite imagine it to be a 2,175 attendance in a replay against Morecambe which costs £15 to get in...

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Sterry
Willis
Turnbull
Harries
Haynes

Bigirimana
Gadzhev

Jones
Sordell
Reid

Coventry City Substitutes:

Charles-Cook
Stevenson
Rose
G Thomas
Wright
Lameiras
Tudgay

First Half

 We started pretty horrifically being completely honest, it just looked like we assumed they were going to roll over and let us batter them. Obviously though they came to win, which we saw when Dian Winnard poke one under Burge from the edge of the six yard box after a free kick. A very poor start for our standards if we wanted to face either Dover or Cambridge in the second round.

 However this goal knocked us into shape and we turned up the dial on attacks, Reid blasted one from about 35 yards when Bigi laid it off to him however it was right into the arms of Roche. Gael himself had a crack but Roche once again denied the equaliser, this time by tipping it round the post. Jodi Jones struck wide on the half hour mark, I was beginning to get the feeling it would be 'one of those nights.'

  I was proven completely wrong however when Sordell beat his man and put the ball beyond the keepers reach in the bottom corner from a solid 18 yards. All of this came from a City counter attack following on from a Morecambe corner, proving that our pace up front can ruin defences at times. We nearly made it 2 before half time when the goalscorer laid off Jones, he took it on his stronger foot but smacked it wide. You really have to be doing well from these sorts of positions in the box.

Second Half

 The half time substitution saw skipper Jordan Willis come off for Andy Rose, displaying that we were switching back to our trusty old faithful 4-3-3. After 15 minutes off high pressure we took the lead for the first time in the game through the man himself Marvin Sordell. Extremely similarly to his first goal, he took it onto his right and guided the ball into the far corner.

 Now that we were in the lead we toned it down slightly, which is a shame because in my opinion we could have done them 3 or 4-1, I can see why though, because now that Barkhuizen has gone, they didn't offer much up top. Stevenson replaced Gadzhev after he picked up a slight knock, to me he didn't at all prove he should be one of the 3 starting centre midfielders in the time he played. For me it still has to be Stevenson, Bigirimana and Rose. They were key in seeing out the result tonight.

  I didn't feel nervous in the slightest in the 6 minutes of injury time because we were playing such composed football, a nice sight to see. Jodi Jones made way for George Thomas just before added time again, he didn't have any time to do anything because before you could say cupset the full time whistle was blown.

 We'll have to wait until Thursday to see whether it'll be Cambridge or Dover we face in Round Two but we do know a few things. It's on Sunday the 4th of December. It'll be on TV. Finally, I'll be there reporting it like always. Next match though is against Oxford on Saturday in front of a sell out capacity of 1,500 Sky Blue Army. I can't wait.

My Man of the Match - Marvin Sordell - A nice and cheeky brace for big Marv tonight, he continues to give me the right to pull a smug face given I have backed him all season. Let's not play down the quality of the goals either, lets pray he sees this third award of the season (Highly Unlikely) as motivation and continues scoring goals. This puts him level second place with Willis and Stevenson I believe, both behind Bigirimana on 4.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Morecambe (H) - Preview

 Tomorrow night is the reverse fixture for the FA Cup First Round tie between Coventry City and Morecambe. In the original tie we got a 1-1 draw at The Globe Arena, we were lucky to even get that being completely honest, it was a dire performance. Even though we hit the bar we were completely dominated for most of the match. It took a Jamie Sterry 20 yard finesse shot in off the post for us to even get to this position at the Ricoh.

 What makes it even more important for us to win tonight is due to the events of Saturday. We battered Scunthorpe but still managed to lose 1-0. It's much like what happened last season against Burton when we should have won but ended up losing thanks to 2 goals on the counter. We all know what happened from there on in, we collapsed due to poor confidence.

 What I'm trying to say is, we don't want a repeat of that because a collapse this time would be a lot more drastic as we don't have the early form to sustain league position. So it's extremely important to not let it get to us and get back on track with wins, starting tomorrow and carrying on away at Oxford on Saturday. Adding to that I'd really like a cup run and the winner faces a trip to either Cambridge United or Dover Athletic, I fancy our chances against either.

Predicted Coventry City Side:

Burge

Sterry
Harries
Ricketts
Haynes

Stevenson
Bigirimana
Maycock

Jones
Sordell
Reid

A strong side with a few players still rested, both centre backs need resting in my opinion, especially Turnbull as he looked tired on Saturday and got close to being sent off. Saying that he did put in a great performance so it works both ways. I'll be gutted if Haynes doesn't make it in, especially as Page is ineligible for selection. Our attack could ruin League 2 opposition, if we play that 3 then we have the perfect combination of pace and strength.

The Opposition

 On the pitch Morecambe are doing pretty much bang average sitting in 14th, they are either doing well or poorly depending on which way you look at it, being 2 points off play offs but 4 off relegation. That could all change soon though as the news broke today that key player Tom Barkhuizen has cancelled his contract so that the players wages can be paid, I'll go into more detail in just a second.

Opposition Fans View

 I spoke to Shrimps fan Jacob Swindlehurst to see what his take was on the match ahead as well as the off pitch antics going on at the club.

Me - "First things first, this is a replay of the original fixture. Did you go to the original game? If so, how do you think you fared against League One opposition such as ourselves?"

JS - "Yes I was there. I feel we played well all things considered e,g home form, players and staff wages not being paid. We started off strong with some good chances early on but didn't take them which was the underlying tone for the game, just not being able to take our chances. We then let you (Coventry) back into it and we had a good even game with both sides looking dangerous on the attack. I feel both teams could have won or lost and also I definitely didn't see the gap of League 1 and 2 in quality."

Me - "Personally I think you should have beaten us and we are lucky to even be in this position. You mentioned about staff/players wages not being paid. What exactly is happening behind the scenes for people who wouldn't usually know?"

JS - "It depends how you look at it, if you had said to me 'would you take a draw' before the game then I would have said 'I'll take anything less than a 2-0 loss' haha. Basically, we have new owners who recently purchased the club. We were told as fans there will be funds available to fund things such as transfers which we haven't had the luxury of having before so obviously everyone got 100% behind them. Then when the news came out that the players hadn't been paid it went all a bit crazy really on the fan forums and everybody seemed to get their pitchforks out straight away. Then news started to break that a player whom featured against you, Tom Barkhuizen, easily our best player was leaving by mutual consent and everybody went a little bit crazzier, we believe he is going to Preston, (The questions were asked before the news was confirmed) and they have paid us to terminate his contract so we could then use the extra money to pay our players and staff because legally after two weeks they an walk away so it was a kind of last ditch effort. The fans have not yet been told very much and it has been kept on the down low which is very worrying for us."

Me - "That does sound very worrying, but is there anyone that is unavailable through suspension or injury? Or who are your key players whom could be the difference between a loss and a win?"

JS - "There isn't anybody missing due to suspension or injury that I know of. The key player I would definitely say has to be Michael Rose, he is a centre midfielder who just controls the play, he just has that little bit of quality which Morecambe have needed for a while in the middle. He was out for a couple of games through suspension and we really did miss him, he really is a vital part of our team. Also Stockton on his day can be an absolute quality player but he is very inconsistent and the same goes for Barry Roche, our goalkeeper who can either be one of the best keepers in the league or also one of the worst" 

Me - "Following on from that, is there anyone you know of from the Coventry side that you are "scared" of facing?

JS - "I wouldn't necessarily say scared of but Sordell on his day can be a quality player"

Me - "Do you have any betting tips for Tuesday? (First Goalscorer, Over/Under goals etc.) "

JS - "Depending on what team we set out, personally I'd say it's got to be Cole Stockton (First Goalscorer) or as the players call him 'Cole the goal' "

Me - "What would be your score prediction, do you see it going to Extra Time and potentially further?"

JS - "I would say we are either going to either lose 2-1 or draw, take it to extra time and win it. We did a similar thing in a game against Rotherham early in the season"

Betting Tip

From the Morecambe point of view Cole Stockton is going to be first goalscorer which on Ladbrokes is priced at 8/1 (£2 returns £18)

 My sensible pick for the bet is Kyel Reid for first goalscorer at 13/2, as we saw at Gillingham away, he has the ability to pull it out of the bag when needed. (£2 returns £15)

My slightly less sensible bet is in keeping with my first bet as well as my score prediction, so if it comes in I'll rake in the make-believe money. Kyel Reid to score first, Coventry to win 2-0 at 33/1. (£2 returns £66)

Prediction

My prediction as I've just said is a 2-0 victory with Reid and Sordell to get the goals. Jacob as I've also said thinks that it will be a 1-1 and Morecambe to win in ET or 2-1 Coventry.

Finally look out for my report tomorrow night after the match when we will have hopefully secured a Second Round tie.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

My Twenty-Seventh 16/17 Game - Coventry City vs Scunthorpe United

  First things first, I did go to England vs Scotland last night but to stop the page being cluttered I will upload it on Monday. Now be prepared for not your usual report as well as a hefty slice of bitterness today because I am fuming with what I saw out there today, more so than when we got slaughtered by Norwich in the cup. Considering we lost 6-1 that night, that is saying something!

 It's that bad I had to wait a day to write it, if I'd have done it when I first got back then you would have got so much worse than what you're about to read. To see some anger at the result then look on my Twitter "@youngHandsey" If you're a Scunthorpe fan reading this then I'd grab some popcorn, I have a feeling you're going to enjoy this...

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Sterry
Turnbull
Willis
Page

Stevenson
Bigirimana
Rose

Sordell
Agyei
Wright

Coventry City Substitutes:

Charles-Cook
Harries
Gadzhev
Reid
Jones
Lameiras
Tudgay

 We have three strikers and three wingers right? So surely instead of playing all three of the strikers we should have Jones and/or Lameiras on the wing, because whilst Agyei and Wright are decent players, they aren't wingers. Sordell has played there and done alright but surely he'll be more effective in his natural position up top? I'm really liking our midfield three at the moment of Stevenson, Rose and Bigi. I dare say I even prefer it to the Fleck/Vincelot partnership of last season.

First Half

 The first half was a very defensive battle, but personally I think the Sky Blues edged it. Scunthorpe had the first big chance of the game 10 minutes in however when a deflected cross flew straight to Paddy Madden. Luckily Lee Burge was there to pull off a fantastic point blank save to keep the scores level.

 Andre Wright was fed the ball by Agyei just 5 minutes later and had 2 chances to put us in the lead, both had the same result though, blocked. The best chance of the half came when Agyei shook off his marker to cut inside, he opened up his body well but his shot ballooned over the bar. Right on the stroke of half time Sordell was allowed to run at the Scunny defence, his 20 yard attempt was pushed around the post.


Second Half

 Now the second half was when I started to get angry, it all started around the 56th minute, we'd really been putting the visitors under the knife and it didn't seem like long before we would make it 1-0. That was until Madden lumped the ball into the box for league top goalscorer Josh Morris to stab into the roof of the net. Obviously I wasn't best pleased that we had conceded but still knew there was plenty of time to come back into the game.

 Then it just seemed like every single decision was going the way of Scunthorpe, they were going down ridiculously easy, and so called PREMIER LEAGUE referee Jonathan Moss was buying everything they were doing. Take Jamie Sterry for one, he was three yards away from Luke Williams when he went down but Moss still gave it as a foul. He obviously couldn't have been used to the physicality of League One football.

 Credit where credits due, the defence we were trying to break down was solid. We ended up bringing on Reid, Jones and Lameiras for Wright, Agyei and Rose to try and attack them via pace. However one of the most ridiculous things I've seen supporting Coventry City was playing Lameiras as a lone striker for about 20 minutes when we had Sordell on the wing. I have no clue what that was all about but it evidently wasn't working.

  We brought the pacy players on to try and run at the tired full backs but we just reverted to a 4-2-4 playing long ball. Which blatantly won't work when you have Ruben Lameiras and Jodi Jones up front. But we kept at it though, weirdly our best chance of the half was a diving header by Jamie Sterry which forced a good save. Lameiras also had a chance which trickled past the post but we just couldn't get the goal despite slaughtering them in the second half, so it finished Coventry City 0-1 Scunthorpe United and Jonathan Moss,

  I'm still quite annoyed with what happened but as I'm stupid, I'll keep going every week. Next up we have Morecambe at home on Tuesday night in the FA Cup 1st Round replay. The winner gets a tie at either Cambridge or Dover. If we turn up then we have a great chance of making it to Round 3 with only National League and League Two teams standing in our way. I think most City fans would give their first born to see us get Villa away or indeed at home.

My Man of the Match - Jordan Turnbull - The fact he was even in a postion where he was nearly sent off is ridiculous. His yellow card wasn't a bookable offence, however the one where he was nearly sent off probably was. That just shows how bad Jonathan Moss was, either way, Scunthorpe may have defended well, but Turnbull kept them out single handedly a couple of times himself. This is his first reward since joining from Southampton on a 3-year deal.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

My Twenty-Fifth 16/17 Game - Wycombe Wanderers vs Coventry City

 The Checkatrade Trophy is a great chance to rest the first team and play some youth, especially as the Sky Blues and our opponents tonight Wycombe Wanderers were both through before a ball was even kicked. The winner however would get a home draw in the next round with the draw tomorrow morning. This meant a lot to me as I didn't exactly fancy a trip to Carrow Road to see us play Norwich u23s.

Coventry City Starting XI

Charles-Cook

Di. Kelly-Evans
Turnbull
Finch
Harries
Sterry

Maycock
Rose

Thomas
McBean
Lamieras

Coventry City Substitues:

Addai
Haynes
Page
Bigirimana
Jones
Spence
Agyei

Annoyingly the EFL regulations say that we need 5 players that started our previous fixture to play once again tonight, meaning Kelly-Evans, Turnbull, Sterry, Rose and Lameiras kept their spot. McBean got his first full start for the club after making his debut on Sunday. Another striker whom is scoring for fun in the u23s George Thomas got his first start in a long time.

First Half

 It's interesting when you can hear most of what the players say, although I do think the 257 City fans that made the trip did make some decent noise. It didn't seem to be giving the players too much encouragement as the first half an hour was quite dull. It was on that mark though that the first chance of the game came. Rubén Lameiras pounced on a defensive error which put him through on goal, he took it a fraction too wide and sent it agonisingly past the post.

  We were immediately punished however as Stephen McGill's deflected 20-yard shot was just out of reach of Charles-Cook into the bottom corner. Thomas had an attempt smothered by Brown, we were very, VERY, lucky to not be down by two at half time when RCC got fingertips on to Thompsons shot, it was just about enough to carry it on to the inside of the post. It sped across the line to skim the other post and then come out.

Second Half

 Venus obviously wanted something to change for the second half, and rightly so, because he made a triple change at the break. Ryan Haynes replaced Jamie Sterry, Jodi Jones replaced Rubén Lameiras and finally Gael Bigirimana came on for Andy Rose. Haynes didn't have the instant impact I wanted as he gift-wrapped a goal to Wycombe as his pass back to Charles-Cook was way too short so Kashket could steal it, round the keeper and cooly tap in to the back of the net.

 Haynesy wasn't phased at all by his mistake as he instantly hit back with a goal, the CCFC Twitter likened it to Sterry's at the weekend. I would agree with that, he struck it sweetly on his weaker foot in to the far corner. A great way to redeem yourself, and even better so, 3 minutes later, he doubled his tally! Jodi Jones appeared to have misplaced a cross but instead it found Haynes, he squeezed it under Brown and into the back of the net.

 The goal could be taken away from Haynes and given to George Thomas, it looked like however he just watched it in to the net rather than getting the goal for himself. Who'd have though it, within 14 minutes of coming on Ryan Haynes got two goals and an assist (kind of). Just another 3 minutes later we completed an astonishing comeback. Jodi got the assist once again, he beat the last man and squared it to George Thomas who scored his first professional goal, and potentially the easiest he'll ever score with a one-yard out tap in.

 We took our foot off the gas a bit from here, I'll tell you something though, Wycombes keeper wasn't taking his time with goal kicks as much as he was when The Chairboys were 2-0 down. But we still had one more goal left in us, Jodi Jones hit yet another cross over to Ryan Haynes who pulled it back to Bigi. He sent the keeper the wrong way making it 4-2. Incredibly, he is in his third spell with the Sky Blues but that was his first ever goal for us.

 Unfortunately the game finished before we could see Gareth Ainsworth introduce himself into the game, that just shows how much of a farce the competition is when a manager puts himself on the bench. But we topped our group with 9 points out of 9 so I won't complain. This means we get the holy grail of a home tie in the next round which will be drawn tomorrow morning at 10am.

 A great comeback to celebrate my twenty-fifth game of the football season, as for the 26th, well well well, it's a big one. On Friday night I'll be heading to Wembley to see England face Scotland. Then Coventry vs top of the league Scunthorpe the day after, I'm not sure which is a more star studded tie. Either way, I can't wait for either fixture, it'll definitely be my incentive to get through the rest of the week.

My Man of the Match - Jodi Jones - He may have only played the second half but when he came on he changed the game by tearing the Wycombe defence a new one. 2 assists and a key pass in 3 of the 4 goals. That's got to win it for him surely? I do believe this is his first award of the season, I've slated Jodi recently but he really pulled out all the stops tonight.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Wycombe Wanderers (A) - Preview

  Tonight we head to Wycombe Wanderers in the Checkatrade Trophy in a game, I'm not going to beat about the bush, means close to absolutely nothing. The only thing at stake is which team will take the top of the group spot and earn themselves a home tie in the next round, something I'm not too bothered about at the end of the day but I can see why some people are. Both teams have won both group games against Northampton and West Ham u23s respectively so it'll be interesting to see which side comes out on top.

Predicted Coventry City Side:

Burge

Sterry
Ricketts
Harries
Page

Stevenson
Bigirimana
Maycock

Wright
McBean
Lameiras

 To comply with regulations we need to start 5 players which played our last fixture which was the 1-1 draw in the FA Cup with Morecambe. So to make sure we do this I have included Burge, Sterry, Stevenson, Wright and Lameiras whom all were in the Starting line up at The Globe Arena. I still believe that we can come away with a win with that side, McBean and Maycock could get vital experience should they be in the team.

The Opposition

 In the league Wycombe aren't doing too well, the last time they won was on October 1st, 1-0 at home to Exeter. Last time out though they managed to get the better of high flying Portsmouth in the FA Cup with Adebayo 'The Beast' Akinfenwa being the hero with his late winner to make sure they came out 2-1 victors. This set them up with an away tie at Chesterfield, a league above but if their current form is anything to go by then The Chairboys have a great chance.

Opposition Fan's View

I caught up with Wycombe Wanderers fan Kenan Motlagh and asked him a few questions about he thought about the game ahead:

Me - "What are your opinions on the Checkatrade Trophy? Will you be attending the match?"

KM - "No but I wouldn't consider it boycotting as I've rarely attended games in this tournament before the format changed anyway, I would have preferred it if they added non league teams rather than under 23 Premier League sides though"

Me - "Fair play, I'd agree. What do you think you think your chances are against us?

KM - "Can't really call it, we're coming off the back of a good win in the FA Cup but I'd expect a lot of changes for both teams. 1-1 for me with Coventry to win on pens" 

Me - "You say you'd expect a lot of changes? Who are your key players and do you expect them to be rested? Is there anyone that is unavailable for the fixture through either injury or suspension?

KM - "I expect Hayes, Cowan-Hall, Akinfenwa, O'Nein and Jacobson to be rested. Muller has been a long term absentee but could play a part tomorrow, De Havilland is suspended. I  would watch out for Kashket tomorrow, decent bet for first goalscorer"

Thanks to Kenan for helping out with getting another point of view before the game.

Betting Tip

 From the Wycombe fan's point of view he thinks that Scott Kashket first goalscorer at 11/1 is a good bet so that is tip number one. (£2 returns £24)

 My tip however is Jack McBean to be the man who nets first in the game at 15/2. I think that is a decent shout as it is fairly likely he'll get his first start and if his u23 form is anything to go by then this is a dead cert. (£2 returns £17)

 My outside chance is a scorecast, bare with me on this, it's 0-0 late on and we get a corner. Cian Harries is a big lad so rises highest to nod it straight in the top corner and it finishes 1-0. To recap, Cian Harries to score first and the Sky Blues to win 1-0 at 225/1... (£2 returns £452)

Prediction

I think we'll nick this game to top the group, whether it be Jack McBean or Cian Harries whom scores it, I think we'll get the 3 points in a 1-0 victory.

Look out for my report after the match tonight, just so everyone is aware, I fully back the B team boycott and am only going to the game because it is a new ground. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

My Twenty-Fourth 16/17 Game - Morecambe vs Coventry City

  Since Mark Venus took over as caretaker boss we have found a serious upturn in form in the league. We are now 18th, very much in a cluster of teams which could be described as the 'chasing pack'. Just 2 points separate us and Walsall who sit in 12th position. For the next few days though we turn our attentions to other competitions. On Wednesday we go to Wycombe in the Checkatrade Trophy, today though we travelled to Morecambe to start our FA Cup journey.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Di. Kelly-Evans
Willis
Turnbull
Sterry

Lamieras
Stevenson
Rose
Reid

Sordell
Wright

Coventry City Substitutes:

Charles-Cook
Ricketts
Harries
Maycock
Jones
Tudgay
McBean

  A good opportunity to rotate the squad for the cup but I was happy to see Venus wasn't taking it too far, a couple of tweaks here and there is good. Like giving Dion Kelly-Evans a start along with Jack McBean finally getting a go on the bench after weeks and weeks of people pleading for Venus to give him a go. I fully expect the same to happen on Wednesday with it being a conpletely pointless game.

First Half

  I'm not going to lie here, we deserved to lose the match today. If it weren't for Burge and Willis putting in an absolutely outstanding shift then we most likely would have done. As soon as the first whistle blew Morecambe were on top, Burge had to make 2 great saves in just the first 10 minutes to deny the Shrimps from going a goal ahead. One of which was an outstanding one where he was quick off his line to close the angles for Cole Stockton to shoot.

 We appeared to get a slight grip to the game after this manic first 10/15 minutes, but we weren't offering much up front, so Morecambe's chances kept coming. Albeit not as frequent as the first period. Saying that though, they had 2 clear cut chances within the space of 3 minutes. Murphy tried to catch out Burge, he was on his toes though and came across to his near post well to get the faintest of touches helping the ball onto the post.

  Not learning from our mistakes, we let them go though again, from the right win they cut it back to about 12 yards out. Burge was in no mans land, it looked a certain goal. Instead though, the skipper Jordan Willis got his leg in front of the shot to deny Morecambe once more. When half time came it felt like a relief, we had been battered.

Second Half

 I was really hoping Venus would switch it up in an attempt to fix whatever mess came out for the first half. I got my wish though, Jack McBean got his eagerly anticipated first appearencd in the first team since joining on loan from LA Galaxy. He very nearly had an instant impact, a scrappy piece of defending left him 2 yards out with the ball in the air...

 I say in the air, it was at the most unfortunate height where he could neither head it in nor get a very good connection on to it. He opted to use his head but he could only weakly nod it at a defender. In the same attack though the ball came out to Sordell from 20 yards, but his rocket like shot took a deflection on to the bar.

  We managed to survive being destroyed for 45 minutes in the first half without conceding, but looked like scoring as soon as we came out for the second half. This most likely meant that we let our defensive guard down, because we failed to defend a corner leaving Dean Winnard with a simple finish. It had been coming all match so I wasn't surprised to see us finally concede.

 The Sky Blues had one or two half chances after going a goal down, Andre Wright was played through on the left, (Wright on the left, someone had to...) but he could only stab Lameiras' ball into the arms of Roche. Even if it was from a tight angle he really should have done better with what he was given.

 We then got our lifeline in the form of our makeshift left-back Jamie Sterry, he cut on to his preferred right foot from 20 yards and curled one off the post into the far corner. You could strongly argue that it wasn't deserved but the score was 1-1. A few minutes later we took off Wright and gave a first senior appearence to academy graduate Callum Maycock.

 For the remainder we perhaps edged it slightly going by possession but we didn't really create much, and after 5 minutes of additional time at the end the final whistle was blown. I didn't exactly want a replay to begin with but given how shocking we were I will take it. I suppose even if we lose its better than going out to Worcester and Northampton like in previous years.

 I'll look out for the Second Round Draw whenever it is, just so I know what we have to play for when we do the reverse fixture at the Ricoh. As for the next match though, I am marking my quarter-century of games this season with a trip to Wycombe in the Checkatrade trophy. A match which means literally nothing. I don't know why I do it either...

My Man of the Match - Lee Burge - Burgey has to get it again for me. He was instrumental in us getting to the point where we can replay the fixture. I have given Burge a fair share of stick but he continues to prove me wrong with great performances. This one gets him his second award in as many games.



Tuesday, 1 November 2016

My Twenty-Third 16/17 Game - Coventry City vs Chesterfield

 I remember at the start of November in 2015 we had a crucial game in hand, much like we did tonight against Chesterfield. There were 2 differences between the fixture today and the one against Barnsley. A certain man named Joe Cole scored a free kick that night to take us up into third spot. That seems a distant memory now as we sit in 19th position.

 I'm being harsh saying that though as our performances have picked up recently, a big point at Walsall where we probably should have won being our last match. Looking at Chesterfield though, pre-match they had lost 6 on the bounce in all competitions. This meant that we went in as favourites but had to guard against complacency, because it was massive that we were able to get 3 points.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Sterry
Willis
Turnbull
Page

Jones
Stevenson
Bigirimana
Reid

Agyei
Tudgay

Coventry City Substitutes:

Charles-Cook
Ricketts
Maycock
Rose
Lameiras
Wright
Sordell

 When I first saw the team news I thought Venus was having a laugh, he ditched the working 4-3-3 in favour of the 4-4-2 formation. Also, why had Sordell been dropped for Tudgay? I haven't seen him perform since we played Rugby Town of all teams in pre-season. They were hardly league one standard. I was just hoping that it would all work out in the end because as I've said before, it's very important that we won.

First Half

 Before the match there was a minutes applause for the late Brian Hill who died recently, to this day he still remains the youngest ever CCFC goalscorer. RIP. The first chance of the game came for Gael Bigirimana 6 minutes in, Jones laid it to him, he flicked it up and on the half-volley shinned about a yard past the post. Every great player has a weakness, Bigi's happens to be shooting.

 The ninth minute marked a protest aimed at Joy Seppala of SISU. This minute was chosen due to it being 9 years of "hell" since SISU took over. Being completely honest it didn't work in any way shape or form, not many people got involved so it didn't have even half the effect that people wanted. But then again it was barely advertised at all.

 Back to the football with the only clear cut chance of the half, Chesterfield broke and Burge pulled out a great save to stop Ched Evans from scoring, Jordan Willis perhaps went one up on the City keeper by blocking the rebound to keep it at level scores. We really needed to wake up because it just wasn't happening for us, we would have been losing at this point had the opposition been better than what Chesterfield are. The rest of the half was just both teams hoofing it back and forth to one
another not really creating anything.

Second Half

 The dire play carried on for the first section of the second half, so Mark Venus did what he needed to do. On 66 minutes we made a double substitution, Tudgay and Jones came off after pretty poor
matches, on came Rose and Lameiras. My wishes came true as we went back to the 4-3-3, and like magic, it had an instant impact. From a corner there was a pinball situation in the box, it was bouncing back and forth across the box.

 Eventaully, Turnbull at the corner of the 6 yard box couldn't get a shot away so squared it to none other than the captain, leader, legend Jordan Willis who stabbed it home. I was very happy we were able to make the substitutions count by going 1-0 up. With 15 minutes left to play Sordell entered the field when replacing Agyei.

 We sealed the win with 9 minutes remaining, Page went on a decent run down the left wing and cut back to Andy Rose, the midfielder smashed it in from 12 yards. Game, set and match Coventry City you would think. As this Chesterfield side offered nothing whatsoever you couldn't see them clawing 2 back in 9 minutes.

 Saying that they did nearly head one top bins with a couple of minutes remaining but it skimmed the post on its way wide. Not that it mattered to the result, but Lewis Page picked up a second yellow card in injury time to be sent off. A bit of a silly thing to do when the game is all but won. This does open the door for Ryan Haynes to step up though in the game against Morecambe on Sunday. Bigirimana will also miss out because he has accumulated 5 yellow cards so far this season.

  Not the best performance for the first hour but from then on in the quality really showed to ensure we came away with another 3 points. It may only take us up to 18th position, but this league is so tight that we are only 2 points away from 12th and only 5 off play offs. Anything can happen, but for now we turn our attentions to Morecambe in the FA Cup. I may potentially do a neutral game on Saturday as we have a rare day off. We shall have to see.

My Man of the Match - Lee Burge - I was shocked that we started playing him over Charles-Cook again, but so far I have been proven wrong as he has bagged a couple of clean sheets in good performances. Tonight was no different, he controlled his box perfectly and pulled out a couple of word class saves, all which count towards him winning his first award of the season.