Sunday, 9 July 2017

My First 17/18 Game - Sutton United vs Coventry City

It's been a tough couple of months, a summer with no football, not even internationally, this is something no man should have to put himself through. But fortunately we've gotten through it together, mainly because Mark Robins has become a god in the transfer market, bringing in no less than 9 new faces ahead of the league two campaign. The bottom line of what I'm saying is, FOOTBALL IS BACK.

The first of many trips across the country in the next 12 months took us to Sutton United, a club which gave us wonders last season. Including a noble cup run and piegate. The opposition however was irrelevant, the key part is this was our first glimpse of the new look squad. The first opportunity to see how we're going to set out over the upcoming season.

Coventry City First Half Starting XI:

O'Brien

Di. Kelly-Evans
Hyam
Turnbull
Leahy

Finn
Trialist (Jordan Lussey)
Doyle (C)
Reid

McNulty
Beavon

By no stretch could this be described as our best eleven, we adopted a mix of youth, experience and new signings just to see how they would work. Four debutantes began the first half, Liam O'Brien, Dominic Hyam, Michael Doyle and Marc McNulty. Another three would start the second period, only two new additions didn't make the trip to south west London, Liam Kelly and Jack Grimmer.

It was also a window to look at trialist Jordan Lussey, and a couple of the youth players such as Finn and Leahy. Ultimately though, it's our first game of pre-season, so we shouldn't read much into the result whatever it would turn out to be as this is just a friendly and a chance to get the squad to gel.

First Half

Funnily enough, we started out the fixture on the back foot, O'Brien was called into action on one occasion where he parried well to the right. Overall he commanded his area very well, never flapping at a cross and always getting both hands wrapped around corner balls. Considering he was Portsmouth's second choice I was pleasantly surprised to see how well he performed.



Looking at the other end we were solid on the break, Beavon pressured a defender well to steal the ball in a very dangerous position but opted to pass instead of shoot. This ended up as the wrong decision a Kyel Reid couldn't get his effort on target. Considering they are apparently inches from the exit door, I can't understand why Reid and Turnbull were involved in the squad. I'm sure Robins has his reasoning but to me it doesn't make much sense.

Given the hype he brought when he was invited on trial, Jordan Lussey slightly disappointed with his wayward passes on more than occasion. Close to half time, Moses Emmanuel had a big chance to put Sutton in the lead but squandered the header from roughly 6 yards out.

Half Time - Sutton United 0 - 0 Coventry City

Coventry City Second Half Starting XI:

Charles-Cook

Dev. Kelly-Evans
Willis
McDonald
Haynes

Jones
Shipley
Stevenson
Vincenti

Trialist (Greg Moorhouse)
Biamou

I would say out of the two squads this was the strongest, only three players made their first appearances, McDonald, Vincenti and Biamou, all of which come with promise. Maxime Biamou returned to Sutton with a solid reputation and was welcomed by fans, omething you rarely see in football these days. A touch of class from the National League club.

Second Half

We seemed more attacking and a whole heap more confident with this squad out, which showed as Shipley had a shot saved from 20 yards. New signing Peter Vincenti however had the best opportunity of the game so far early on in the second half, heading agonisingly wide from close range.

Biamou had a couple of chances to take the lead at his old stomping ground but it wasn't to be, both of which were nullified. It was beginning to look like the game would fizzle out in a dull 0-0er until late on in the match when Greg Moorhouse of Glenavon FC, currently on trial with the Sky Blues, slotted home to give the Sky Blues a 1-0 victory.

Full Time - Sutton United 0 - 1 Coventry City

As I have iterated more than once, although it's nice we came away with a victory, we shouldn't look at the result this early on. It's just to build so we're raring to go come Notts County at home on August 5th.

As for the next match, I'll be heading off to Alicante for both matches in the tour against Valenciennes and an unnamed side which is rumoured to be Northampton Town. It's incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to combine two things I love, reporting and following City, in Spain.

My Man of the Match - Michael Doyle - It was a toss up between Doyle and Hyam, both showed brilliant signs, especially as they are new signings. But Doyle was an exceptional captain and almost every pass he played was on point. Not to mention he has managed this at the age of 35, I look forward to seeing what he can do next season.

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