Tuesday, 3 January 2017

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

 I'm not sure if it's sad or impressive that I've managed to reach 40 games at the turn of the year, personally I'm going to go with the latter and say that it illustrates my passion for the Sky Blues and the beautiful game. Now it's been a very busy 2 days since our last fixture, Marvin Sordell has moved to Burton (I'm struggling to cope) and we have replaced him with 3 players in the form of Nathan Clarke, Stuart Beavon and Callum Reilly.

 Given that Sordell was our top goalscorer it's a massive gamble but I have respect for Slade as it's something that needs to be done when you're in the position that we are. I'm liking Slade so far but I didn't expect him to be a miracle worker and for the side to gel in just a day, I was expecting us to get nothing out of the match as pessimistic as it sounds.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Sterry
Clarke
Turnbull
Haynes

Thomas
Rose
Reilly
Reid

Beavon
Tudgay

Coventry City Substitutes:

Charles-Cook
Kelly-Evans
Gadzhev
Bigirimana
Stevenson
Lameiras
Jones

 All 3 newbies were involved in the first 11 today, interestingly Lewis Page wasn't involved at all so Ryan Haynes came in. In fact the only loan other than Reilly whom was in the squad was Jamie Sterry, that says it all about Slade's intentions with what to with the loans. Might I add I agree with him that the only one I would have kept is Sterry.

First Half

 One thing that hit me in the first 20 minutes was a sense of shock about how well organised the pretty much completely new look City side was, especially against a team in 2nd place battling for promotion. However we did have a brief scare when Sammy Ameobi's grass cutter from 20 yards skimmed the post to Burge's right. We also had a half chance however when Beavon turned the last defender and on his weaker foot dragged it wide.

 Beavon was at it again on the right flank, he muscled off his marker, shimmied past another defender and put in a beautiful cross to Kyel Reid on the back post, he headed it back across goal where Tudgay was waiting to nod in and score his 100th professional goal. It was an all round wonderful goal, Kyel Reid got the assist but all the work must be credited to Beavon.

 I wasn't too sure what Burton fans meant when they say, he won't get as many goals as you'd hope but he'll do all the work for a lot of them, now I do, it was a magnificent piece of play. This goal came just 8 minutes before half time, I had no problem with us sitting back and taking the lead into the break as long as it wasn't the tone for the second half.

Second Half

 Bolton very much picked up their game and I could see us conceding unless we kicked on and tried for a second, unfortunately, we didn't do that. On the 67th minute Haynes made a poor error of judgement, the ball was lumped over the top in an attempt to find Gary Madine, it was going miles past him but Haynes had a firm grip on his shirt.

Madine knew he wasn't getting there and went down very easily, but the blame still has to go down to the City left back, you can't do that in those areas, the outcome will always be the same. The penalty was given, and up stepped substitute Zach Clough who sent the keeper the wrong way to put us back to square one. Now that we had conceded I really thought that Wanderers would take charge and get a second to defeat us, how wrong I was.

  Ryan Haynes didn't let his mistake get to him and went on an incredible run, I think he's managed to get past four men before he laid it off to Beavon. From about 20 yards he opened his body up and let fly, Alnwick was rooted to his spot as the balled flashed past him into the bottom corner. Almost instantly, we managed to retake the lead which was met with the Coventry fans going into raptures.

 Now Bolton were throwing lots of pressure at us, and we were failing to counter it with enough attacks. We had caught them out however when Tudgay and Thomas were facing one defender with 15 minutes remaining ready to kill off the game, Tudgay laid it off to Thomas who slotted in under Alnwick, only to be pulled back for offside. Now I for one can't confirm as I was on the other side of the stadium but I heard from someone on twitter who was in line with it that it was onside and there was no question. I'll let you ponder on that.

 In the 91st minute something called 'WhistleGate' begun. Bolton kept on attacking and we kept dealing with it, but when they pulled a ball across the pitch there was a sharp blow on a whistle in the crowd which Lameiras and Reilly appeared to mistake for that of the referee's so understandably stopped even though Reilly could have easily picked up the ball had he known.

 The visitors however kept playing and one 'Classic Parkinson' ball into the box later it fell to Clayton, who's deflected shot found the bottom corner. This broke me, that's 3 out of our last 4 games that we have conceded in the 89th minute or later to drop crucial points. Had we seen those games out we would be well clear of the relegation zones.

 That's football I suppose, sometimes it plays out against you. What I will take out of today is though, if we play like that every game for the rest of the season there is absolutely no way that we are going down. We aren't playing until next Tuesday which is against Brighton u23s in the Checkatrade Trophy, I can barely contain my excitement. Before that though I'm off to Watford on Saturday to tick off another ground for the 92. I might report on it but I'm not sure, given how my consistency with neutral games has been lately it's pot luck.

My Man of the Match - Stuart Beavon - Considering it was his debut and he signed for us yesterday he had an astonishing match. Making all the right runs, passes and even contributing a goal. Hopefully he can pick up a few awards because 2 of the front runners are Sordell and Stevenson. One of which is gone and the other heavily rumoured to be on his way out, it'd be a bit awkward if no one overtook them on 4.

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