Saturday, 22 April 2017

My Sixty-Fifth 16/17 Game - Coventry City vs Walsall

Today would be the last time that many Coventry fans set foot in the Ricoh Arena due to a boycott next season. Personally I have absolutely no idea what I'll be doing. Hopefully Joy Seppalla, Gary Hoffman and the mystery other businessmen make it easy for myself and a very large group of fans who are NOPM and on the fence. What people have to do is respect others opinions so we don't divide as a fan base even more than we already are.

To sign off at the Ricoh with a win would make this horrendous season ever so slightly more bearable. To say that there was nothing to play for for either side was a fair assessment, unless you count the potential to overtake Chesterfield to move into 23rd. That's how depressing the season has gotten.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Charles-Cook

Foley
Willis
Turnbull
Stokes

Gadzhev
Bigirimana

G Thomas
Lameiras
Jones

Tudgay

Coventry City Substitutes:

Burge
Rawson
Kelly-Evans
Shipley
Reid
K Thomas
Folivi

We have some youth on the pitch, but to balance it out Robins threw in the "retirement home" players like Tudgay and Foley instead of Kelly-Evans and maybe Kwame Thomas. On the plus side, no loan players started the fixture. Michael Folivi is still looking for an elusive appearance, part of me hopes he is given the last 30 seconds of Scunthorpe away, and scores the winner.

First Half

Much like in recent home matches, we started out on top, we had most of the possession and were making Walsall play our game. The first real chance came 10 minutes in when a Lameiras chance fell to Kevin Foley of all people, the right back isn't known for his shooting so stabbed straight at MacGivallray. Good early signs however.

Pressure is all well and good but when you're not converting it into any serious chances then it's worthless. Jones had a couple of decent chances down the left wing to put in some good crosses but both were far too deep. It's no secret that us Coventry fans don't like short corners, mainly because we groan every time we see a forward steaming towards the flag.

It was no different a few minutes before the break, but this occasion was very much different. Lameiras performed some great ball control to get past O'Connor and laid tried to have a shot but it was blocked away to the edge of the box. It only got as far as George Thomas though and on the side foot he struck the ball sweetly into the bottom corner, in off the post.

He could've made it two in two when Lameiras  again helped him out by playing him through one on one. The keeper however made himself big, forcing Thomas to put his chance wide of the mark. This was the final chance before the referee blew his whistle to signal half time, the Sky Blues took in a fairly comfortable 1-0 lead.

Half Time - Coventry City 1-0 Walsall

Second Half

Walsall had a reality check at half time and realised they were losing to bottom of the league so brought on Oztumer and Dobson. The former recently made it into the PFA League One team of the year and scored the equaliser at the Bank's back in October so must be alright. For the first section of the second period we weren't playing badly, we just didn't control the game as well and Walsall were getting back into it.

Off the pitch the atmospher was beginning to get slightly more tense, a Coventry fan was ejected for singing anti-Walsall chanting which is incredibly harsh whilst a couple of visitors were removed for a reason I am unaware of. Police and stewards were lining up at the front in anticipation of something happening in protest to the owners.

Tudgay had a half volley on the hour mark which he sent high and wide. Ten minutes later and an already booked Eoghan O'Connell brought down Thomas. Almost immediately he was given his marching orders. Chris Stokes was forced off through injury and was replaced by Rawson, he slotted in at centre back with Turnbull moving to the left back position.

This was followed by our final two substitutions, Foley left the field for Kelly-Evans and Gadzhev came off to be replaced by Jordan Shipley, who made his senior debut. Another product from the youth academy to make the step up to the senior side in recent times. They saw out the game well for a good 3 points. We're also no longer bottom of the league if you want to take the positives out of this season.

Full Time - Coventry City 1-0 Walsall

If we can come away from Scunthorpe with a win I'll be happy, not that it means much, everyone likes to see their team win... Fingers crossed Gary Hoffman can get closer to a takeover of the Sky Blues so I can sleep at night knowing I won't get lynched for buying a season ticket. Next Saturday I'm off to Fulham however which will help when trying to get to seventy games.

My Man of the Match - Vladimir Gadzhev - Considering he's been dreadful since joining, Vlad was brilliant today and finally looked like fitting the bill of the new Fleck. It's a shame it was a whole year too late. This is his second award of the season. I think the other was in pre-season to put things into perspective.

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