Wednesday, 11 January 2017

My Forty-Second 16/17 Game - Coventry City vs Brighton and Hove Albion u23s

When you think about it, being 3 wins from Wembley with only League One, League Two and Category 1 academy teams in our way seems very doable. The first step to the arch came tonight against Brighton's academy in front of a glamorous 2,085 crowd.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Charles-Cook

Kelly-Evans
Harries
Stokes
Haynes

Jones
Gadzhev
Bigirimana
Lameiras

Thomas
Beavon

Coventry City Substitutes:

Burge
Finch
Stevenson
Maycock
Rose
Reilly
Tudgay

 At last, the long awaited return of Chris Stokes, albeit for just the one half of a Checkatrade Trophy match that no one really cares about. It's the sign of things to come, but if Ryan Haynes keeps playing the way he is then Stokes could have some serious competition. Today though, he started in centre back given how short we were defensively, even Jack Finch managed to make it on to the bench.

 What I did like though is that Russell Slade is giving this competition some thought, playing a fairly strong team with Beavon as captain even though he's played 70 minutes in a Coventry shirt. Lameiras and Jones finally had their chance to shine given the pressure was off. Stevenson on the bench sparking even more rumours we were keeping him safe before he goes to Brentford.

First Half

I'm going to be brief because it's not the most interesting of matches. Although saying that it was a great performance for the 1/16th full Ricoh Arena. We dominated right from the off, having half chances all throughout the first half. The young Brighton keeper was having an astonishing game to say the least, we saw this when Lameiras' volley was saved from point blank range.

 Robert Sanchez was keeping everything out. his best save of the match came half an hour in when the ball came out to Bigirimana from a corner and his first time volley was tipped round the post. Eventually our dominance paid off 4 minutes before the break when Lameiras beat his man to the cross and flick it into the far corner.

Second Half

Chris Stokes' return was cut short as he made way for Jack Finch, easing him back is exactly what needs to be done. But we carried on pressuring the young Southern side, just 5 minutes in we doubled our lead when Jodi Jones' clever run down the right led to him playing the ball into George Thomas for him to get his second goal of the competition.

Captain Beavon was replaced by Tudgay so we can save him for the crucial league match on Saturday against Chesterfield. Adding another twist in the never ending Stevenson tale, he entered the field of play with 15 minutes remaining to take the place of Vladimir Gadzhev. Slade has confirmed since that we have rejected more than one bid for the midfielder, so maybe, just maybe, he'll stay for the rest of the season.

 The game was beginning to drown out, that was until the 89th minute when Ryan Haynes cut in on to his right and failed to be closed down. He bent an effort off the far post, on to the other post, and then in. If the win wasn't ensured before, it was by now. We're through to the quarter finals of the Checkatrade Trophy, not the most prestigious of things to say.

 We are in with a serious chance of winning this tournament, provided we don't get screwed in the draw, by getting Bradford away or something along those lines. A nice home draw to Swansea u21s or Yeovil will do nicely. Before we can talk about that though, we must look forward to Chesterfield on Saturday. An absolute must win, no doubt.

My Man of the Match - Jodi Jones - It could have been a number of people being completely honest, but Jodi just edges it for me. This is his third reward of the season if I'm not mistaken, hopefully he gets his chance in the league and takes it with two hands.


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