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
Coventry City Substitues:
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.
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.
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.