Saturday, 31 December 2016

My Thirty-Ninth 16/17 Game - Peterborough United vs Coventry City

 Ok, yet another game where when writing the I have to try and not cry on to my keyboard, but for completely different reasons to usual. I wasn't at Bristol Rovers (The first match I've missed in months) so can't comment on the performance but from what I hear it was exactly like it usually is. Dire. It's unfair to blame Russell Slade, he should be judged on whether he's a successful manager or not after January.

Coventry City Starting XI:





Coventry City Substitutes


I heard a rumour pre-match that Sordell would be off to Burton Albion, the team selection almost confirmed it. Every single game he's available for selection he starts, yet this time he was on the bench. Plus Stevenson is rumoured to be on his way out to either Brentford or Wolves depending on whoever puts in the better offer. I'm not sure how I'll cope with the loss of my personal favourite "Sordellinho". I suppose I'll have to take it as a surprise but I can't say it's going to be pretty.

 First Half

In the first half something very strange was going on, Coventry City were performing quite well in a game of football. That paid off when the ball fell pleasantly to Jordan Willis in the 6 yard box after a corner and he poked it past McGee to give the Sky Blue faithful a feeling that had not been experienced in so long. Joy.

 It was a mix of jubilation and pure shock, everyone expected us to go in to the match and get battered, instead we found ourselves 1-0 up. Either way we all very much enjoyed it to say the least. Still looking to get his first career league goal, George Thomas set himself up well and bent an effort towards the far corner which forced a good stop out of McGee.

 Going into the break, it was obvious we were the better team, although there were few clear cut chances we were dictating the pace of the game by controlling possession and forcing Posh to work for the ball rather than vise-versa. For the first time in almost 3 months I went in at the half time break feeling happy.

Second Half

Due to a knock he picked up in the first period, Lewis Page had to be taken off before the second half could commence and was replaced by Dion Kelly-Evans who took up the unnatural position of left-back. Both sides had half chances here and there in the early stages of the second half but nothing was worth shouting about.

 In a bid to give the game a bit more attacking flair, we brought on Jodi Jones for George Thomas on the right. This was a clever change because we had noticed how Kyel Reid's pace had been troubling the Peterborough right back so we thought that we duplicate this by adding Jones in to the equation on the other flank.

 It seemed to work almost instantly, Jones was twisting and turning, running their left back ragged. But unfortunately their quick fix to being destroyed down the wings was very effective, they fouled them. Taking it in turns, the hosts were fouling the pair to stop them proceeding any further. A bit of shirt pulling here, a body check there. I even saw a flying elbow hit Reidy in the face and go unpunished.

 The referees lenience seemed to work in their favour, we couldn't really catch a break, so we ditched the "control the game" policy and reverted back to backs against wall, pray that we don't concede. Peterborough are obviously a good side so they spotted this tactic being used and saw their opportunity. To put it lightly, they started to throw the kitchen sink at us.

I'll credit our defence, for once, and will say that they were doing a good job of keeping them at bay. Although I had a feeling deep down that it wouldn't be enough, we really needed to try and get a second goal. Which I thought we were trying to do when Sordell replaced Tudgay in what could be his last game for the club, that wasn't to be though, he ended up playing a kind of centre midfield role.

 Marcus Maddison was proving a real problem for us, Coulthirst was on the end of one of his crosses but flicked the ball into the arms of Burge. Then Maddison himself stabbed wide, our defensive grip seemed to be slipping away from us, especially when Burge's one hand low down save kept Bostwick out in injury time.

 We had gotten through the worst of it, we were sealing out the game. Or so we thought... We were playing it safe and punted it forward to Sordell. Bostwick was all over his back, plain free kick clear as day. For some reason he didn't give it, then the inevitable happened. Marcus Maddison received the ball on the right wing, sprinted forward, lumped a cross into who else but Bostwick. Unmarked, he got his head round it and equalised.

 It gave us all heartbreak, we all thought that we weren't going to get anything out of the match. But we were devastated to get only one. It's weird how things work out isn't it? Either way, if we're looking at it from a "What would you have wanted pre-match?" perspective then I'm happy with a 1-1 draw.

Still, on to the next fixture we go, against 2nd placed Bolton. Apparently we'll have 3 players in the team by then, one of which has been confirmed to be Nathan Clarke from Bradford. He seems like exactly what we need at this current moment in time. Stuart Beavon is apparently another joining as part of a swap deal with Sordell. We'll have to see what occurs in the next few days, all before game 40 of my football season.

My Man of the Match - Kyel Reid - Aside from being completely taken out on a few occasions and taking an elbow to the nose, Reidy had an excellent game on the left. Hopefully he can turn his inconsistency into some more good performances like today. This is his second award of the season.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

CCFC Loans - Stick or Twist

 Coventry City are in a dark state both on and off the field, unless something drastic changes we will be relegated to the fourth tier of English football. Even saying those words makes me feel sick, either way, the incoming manager, whoever he may be, has a MASSIVE job on his hands which requires immediate work. The first thing he will do will try to stop SISU getting their grubby paws on Ben Stevenson which will be a hard task that I'm not sure he'll manage.

 The second thing will be to look at our current loans and decide in the week or two between him arriving and the loans expiring, who gets a deal until the end of the season and who should be sent back to their parent club with the hope that we get someone better in. This post is purely my opinion on who deserves to stay and who doesn't. I was going to do something similar last season but what would have been the point? Tony Mowbray acquired so well that I would have kept every single one of them.

Lewis Page

 West Ham fans were angry that they had let Page go out on loan which is always a positive sign, we needed left back cover as Stokes had been ruled out for a few months with a knee injury. He looked like the right man to fill his shoes, but he just hasn't lived up to those expectations. I was never Ryan Haynes' biggest fan as he was more of a winger than a full back, he could attack very well but not defend too well. Page on the other hand can do neither.

  Just every time you see him go on a run down the left flank you know what the outcome will be, and it's the same every time, he gets tackled and then caught out with Turnbull having to cover for him. I still astounds me that we play a loanee over someone who is a Coventry fan, has come through the youth academy and is a lets face it, better player.

 We've played him 4 times this season, once in the league, once in the Capital One Cup, once in the Checkatrade Trophy and once in the FA Cup. In that time he's scored 3 goals, how amazing is that? A left back, has scored 3 goals in 4 appearances. Yet we STILL play Page over him, this is my final comparison, Page sarcastically cheered Coventry fans at Gillingham. Haynes wouldn't do that because he plays for the shirt, just look at the delight on his face from scoring his second at Wycombe. In fact we haven't lost a game when he's been on the field. (Won 3 Drawn 1)

In summary, with Haynes playing well whenever he gets a chance and Stokes being back to full fitness in the new year, there really is no need to keep Page until the end of the season when the funds could be spent on a new centre back for example. I may sound like a hate campaign towards the West Ham man but he really doesn't look like he cares about Coventry City Football Club.

Daniel Agyei

 When he was brought in as our number 9 and scored in the first 20 minutes of his debut people were treating him like a god, comparing him to Adam Armstrong already. They were suggesting he could single handedly get us the goals to keep us up and I'll admit, at Valley Parade he did look like a handful. But it looks to me that it has all gotten to his head. He never goes for the simple pass, he always looks for the spectacular, which is probably why he's only got 4 goals for the season.

 Like I said, there is potential for a very good player there but he's not what we need at this current point in time. Plus only 1 of those 4 goals have come in a win, he has a lot less of an effect than if we played Sordell in his natural position of striker. He really hasn't reached the "Armstrong" heights that we so desperately need, I'm not saying he's a bad player, I'm just saying we need a lot more given our current situation. Potentially go back in for Hepburn-Murphy that we tried for on Deadline Day, or even poach a high end Premier League u21 striker. Something has to change at the very least.

Jamie Sterry

 We seem to have a good relationship with Newcastle, they've loaned us Armstrong, Bigirimana, given us Bigirimana on a free and now have loaned us Sterry. Sterry is a decent right back, I still don't think we should have let go of Aaron Phillips in the summer but he seems to have been replaced well. Unlike Page he can defend and is a decent weapon to have in the locker on the attack, as we saw with his goal at Morecambe in the cup.

  Funnily enough his goal came when playing left back which in the couple of matches he's been drafted in there he's been poor. To be fair to him it's not his fault when he's forced to play out of position. He cares, he tries, and to give a spoiler on the remaining couple of loans, is the only one I would keep until the end of the season. He isn't perfect, but our problems don't lie at right back. Keep him here until the end of the season would be my advice.

Andre Wright

 I've already mentioned our failed attempt to get Rushian Hepburn-Murphy in on Deadline Day, and it would appear that when that deal fell through the general thinking was "Oh no, there's only 2 hours until the deadline shuts. What teams are close?" "West Brom boss?" "That'll do." That's how we ended up with Andre Wright, he literally was the definition of panic signing.

 This has been displayed in his performances, but in fairness Venus plays him on the wing. Either way, he also isn't what we need at this point in time so I would suggest letting him go and having a punt on someone else.

Jack McBean

 If we're contributing to his wages then he can go back to LA, if we're not then we might as well keep him for the u23s. He's doing well there but can't cut it in the first team, but if he's enjoying football here in England then we might as well let him stay here in England. As long as we don't keep him to play in the first team then anything is fine by me.

I'm not going to include Chris McCann, he is going to America whatever happens so we have no chance to keep him either way, whatever my opinion may be. It's horrible that we're even in this position but we have to make the best out of a bad situation, which in our case happens to be with the loan market. Sometimes you get lucky and hit the jackpot with Armstrong, Murphy, Kent, Cole and Turner. Other times you get Agyei, Wright, Page, Sterry and McBean.

  I'm not attending Bristol Rovers away on Boxing Day as much as it pains me to say, but I "should" be going to my next match on the 27th of December and reporting on it. Derby County vs Birmingham City, I'm also getting very close to 50 grounds out of the 92, Derby will take it to 48. Then I'm scheduled to go to Watford vs Burton in the FA Cup on January 7th. My 50th is to be decided as of yet.

Friday, 16 December 2016

An Eventful Few Days...

 I last wrote on Coventry City after our 1-0 Checkatrade Trophy victory over Crawley Town, since then we were battered in the league once more by Southend. Once again I couldn't bring myself to write on it as in my opinion there might as well be no report than one which I don't enjoy writing. This post is mainly on the protests of yesterdays match and Tim Fisher's interviews as opposed to a usual match report.

This is also the 100th post I have done since I started 'A View From The Stands' last August, so in typical fashion I'm going to be celebrating by talking about my pain as a Coventry City fan. *Puts out bunting* Nothing changes. But just quickly, Billy Sharp scored (Cook probably should have saved it) Daniel Agyei's equaliser was one of the luckiest goals I've ever seen looping the keeper.

 Then a couple of minutes before the game ended about 100 Coventry fans interrupted the game by strategically going on the pitch the way the police least expected it, via the empty North Stand. I'm not going to say whether or not I was involved due to obvious reasons but I can say I thought it was marvellous, the fact SISU shelled out to hire more stewarding and police only for it to happen anyway.

  The fact we got huge amounts of media coverage as well as the fact SISU getting a fine is a big result I'd say. I honestly was beginning to believe that this club was on the ropes with a lot of the fans not caring but now I can honestly say that I have never been more proud to be a Coventry City fan. Once the stewards finally managed to get everyone off Sheffield United got a winner through Sharp and it kicked off a tad with the fans.

 That brings me to another thing, if Sheffield United were to be in our position I wouldn't bat an eyelid. They are a vile set of people. Speaking off the record I'm glad that one bloke got completely decked by a City fan. I'm sure them of all people would now what it would be like to face problems given the whole 'Third Party' players thing involving Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano both going to West Ham. Instead they were singing 'Pro-Sisu' songs and tried to fight us. I even saw one spit in the face of a man who was with his child. Very classy. They've very much gone down in my estimations.

  Today as you would expect the respective media channels were all over the pitch invasion so Tim Fisher spoke to Jim White on talkSPORT to try and limit the damage done by supporters. But he just blamed the fact we conceded late on the supporters, as well as trying to shift all the other problems on to us as well. That appeared to be the theme on both talkSPORT and on the BBC Coventry and Warwikshire phone in. That in itself is absolutely astonishing.

 He said that we have killed the deal with the Butts Park Arena, and tried to guilt trip everyone saying "The ball boys and girls were crying". I'm sure that was a complete lie, all the ones I saw were loving it, one even hugged me! But it's just another case of Fisher talking complete rubbish. Along with that apparently we're turning away new potential managers.

He avoided reasonable questions and if I here "Break even business" one more time I'll flip. He says the less people there are the more he'll cut the budget. He also says SISU don't want to lose money so have to break even every year. Put it this way, we are doomed every year whatever happens, so why not bleed them dry so hard it's physically impossible for them to break even. Get them fines, boycott home games from 17/18. Maybe, just maybe, it'll put pressure on SISU to sell.

 As for the next post I do it'll either be Walsall vs Bradford tomorrow or a post regarding my 'Top 10 CCFC Away Days'. It could even be both to make up for the fact I won't be going to Bristol Rovers. In fact here's the Christmas schedule:

17th December: Bradford vs Walsall (Report dependant on match experience)
21st/22nd December: Top 10 CCFC Away Days
27th December: Derby vs Birmingham
31st December: Peterborough vs Coventry
2nd January: Coventry vs Bolton

I most likely won't stick to that but I suppose we'll have to see. Thank you for reading my 100 posts, I'm surprised I've even got here given my attention span! Here's to another 100!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

My Thirty-Fourth 16/17 Game - Coventry City vs Crawley Town

 Right, I have a bit of explaining to do. The last match report I did was the 1-0 defeat to Bolton, my thirtieth game of the season. You'll notice this is the thirty-fourth. This is because I was so disenheartened after the MK Dons and Cambridge United defeats in the league and the cup that I couldn't even bring myself to report on them. That may sound lazy of me but it's the truth for which I apologise.

  You'll notice there is still one game left to be accounted for, well that was last night when I went to see my local side Rugby Town get smashed 3-0 by Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Birmingham Senior Cup. Be honest, would you read a report on that? Anyway, it's not the most glamourous of comeback fixtures, but even though I have a chest infection I pulled myself down to the Ricoh to see if we could overcome the mighty Crawley Town in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Coventry City Starting XI:



G Thomas


Coventry City Substitutes


 What myself and a lot of other Conventry fans couldn't work out is, what on earth is Venus doing here? We couldn't tell what formation he was playing, was Jones a wing back or was Bigirimana playing full back? No one could tell, I took a punt on a 4-4-2 with George Thomas playing on the left. A very weird selection from the underfire caretaker boss.

First Half

 It soon became evident that even though Bigirimana was next on the team sheet after Charles-Cook that he was playing in the centre with Rose at full back. In fairness unless he plays u23 right-back Jacob Whitmore he has no other options in that position with Sterry and Kelly-Evans both being out. I wasn't too bothered with tonight, obviously I still want us to win but I'd rather we stayed up than put our focus into this trophy.

  As I've said it's not exactly the most glamorous of fixtures, and the quality of football certainly adhered to that idea. It was a dull affair. We dominated possession but that failed to result in a clear cut chance. Sordell curled a half chance around the post from 18 yards but soon redeemed himself close to the half hour mark. George Thomas ran down the right wing (I thought he was meant to be playing on the left...) fed the ball into Sordell who poked under Beeney making it 1-0.

 Honestly, that was the last real action of the half, it looked as if Crawley didn't really want to go through because they weren't even trying. To be fair I don't blame them, but even then we were below par but were still ahead at the break. All thanks to Marvin Sordell's 7th goal of the season, albeit 3 were in the cup.

Second Half

 We made our odd team even odder when we decided to sub Lewis Page off for Callum Maycock, meaning we had 2 defenders on the pitch and 2 centre midfielders at both full back positions. The way I'm saying it makes it seem like a miracle we managed to keep a clean sheet. Adi Yussuf tried to stop that from happening however when he went through on goal but Charles-Cook made himself big to pull out a tremendous save.

 Our second and third substitutions saw Tudgay and Gadzhev brought into the fold. But really the match just fizzled out. We sat back, Crawley were barely even attempting to get back into the game which meant it was just sideways passes in the end. It finished as a nice and routine 1-0 victory, although it has forced me to question why I got back at 11:45 at the hands of a boring Checkatrade Trophy match. That's the Coventry City effect I suppose.

 The draw for Round 3 occurs tomorrow at 11:30 am, let's hope for a home tie because I don't fancy going to Swansea u23s away on a Tuesday night. As for my next match, it'll be Southend away on Saturday. I hate being the pessimist but I really can't see us coming out with much given our recent form...

My Man of the Match (MK Dons) - Ben Stevenson - Until he decided to two foot someone he was the best player on the pitch.

My Man of the Match (Cambridge) - Marvin Sordell - He seemed like the only one who tried.

My Man of the Match (Crawley) - Reice Charles-Cook - The goalkeeper made one or two key saves to keep our clean sheet as well as commanding his box very well. I'm not too sure how many awards he's got so far this season but I think this is the first, I'll certainly sort out the tally at some point.