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:
Coventry City Substitutes:
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.
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.
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.