Wednesday, 8 February 2017

My Forty-Eighth 16/17 Game - Coventry City vs Wycombe Wanderers

I'm seriously going to struggle putting the events of tonight into words, I'm shocked to my core. We came into the game against League Two Wycombe as underdogs which sounds ridiculous, but they are in extremely good form in the league which compared to us leaves us praying for something to happen.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Charles-Cook

Kelly-Evans
Harries
Turnbull
Haynes

Thomas
Reilly
Rose
Reid

Beavon
Tudgay

Coventry City Substitutes:

Burge
Finch
Bigirimana
Gadzhev
Stevenson
Lameiras
Jones

Seeing this made me ache inside, George Thomas ahead of Jones even though he's played exceptionally throughout the tournament. Tudgay in there yet again, but I'm not here to complain. If you want to see complaining then look at any of the other reports I've done this season.

First Half

 We got off to the perfect start, Thomas won it back in a dangerous area and cut back to Beavon, he swivelled and with the help of an enormous deflection took it into the back of the net. There were mental scenes in the crowd, a purple flare went off and people were falling over everywhere. People really were in shock that we were within touching distance of Wembley.

On the 20 minute mark we really started to believe it was possible, Kyel Reid went on a brilliant run down the left wing and played a peach of a ball into George Thomas who calmly chested it down and on the half volley smashed it in to the roof of the net. This time the scenes were just people with their hands on their hands going "Oh my god, we're actually going to do it"

Close to the half time break Ryan Haynes could only flick a cross put in towards the back post but Myles Weston skied it from 6 yards out. A 2-0 lead at the break would be very comfortable for most sides but when you're a fan of Coventry City you know never to accept you'll be going to Wembley until you're on the pitch celebrating, in fact I still can't quite believe it now.

Second Half

Both teams made a substitution at the break, we brought on Jodi Jones in place of Beavon whilst the visitors replied by bringing on the beast himself. One of the 2 players I feared most from Wycombe came on in the form of Adebayo Akinfenwa, the other, Scott Kashket, entered the field 8 minutes into the second period.

Akinfenwa doesn't get his nickname for no reason, and we saw that throughout the second half, he bullied Harries and Turnbull off the ball at every single opportunity and that proved when he got one back by toe poking into the roof of the net on the 55th minute. This sparked 2 things, the defensive minded substitution of Jack Finch replacing Kyel Reid and also the longest 35 minutes of my entire life.

The minutes ticked down like hours, and seconds like minutes, it was unbearable. We had to cope with wave after wave of attack, every time narrowly escaping via a Charles-Cook punch away. Eventually after what seemed like years the board for additional time went up, it had been a fairly stopless second half so we weren't expecting much. 6 whole minutes was what the fourth official went up with.

I almost collapsed, we were all waiting down the front ready to celebrate getting the home of English football, but to think we had to carry on waiting to see our fate was painful. The minutes ticked by slower than ever. But eventually, it happened. The referee's sharp blow on the whistle finally came and was instantly met with the biggest roar for 30 years.

All the stress, all the pain, all of the suffering was released by a massive pitch invasion. I hurt my leg scrambling over the barrier and avoiding stewards, I even managed to make an appearance on Sky during George Thomas' post match interview. Celebrating with the players, holding up Jodi Jones and singing his name made us forget all of our problems for a split second.

Now if, and it's a big if, we have some form of bottle, we could try and use this as a springboard to propel us up the table. We need to take it one game at a time, starting with Oldham away on Saturday, a massive game if we have any hope of survival. In fairness, they all are as long as we keep fighting until the game is won.

My Man of the Match - George Thomas - He may not be able to score in the league but given the moment he gave us all with the second goal, he is exempt from criticism for the rest of his life. I do believe I gave him an award all the way back in pre season at Newport.

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