What a game to come back to above all else, visiting our old foe Russell Slade in his new home. Fans were still a tad annoyed by what Slade did (understatement of the century) and took it out on the cap wearing baldy in no uncertain terms throughout the match. But with 1350 City fans travelling, everything said it would be a cracker.
Coventry City Starting XI:
Coventry City Substitutes:
The low roof of the away end made the travelling City faithful sound even louder, this helped even more to the big atmosphere which we were creating. Once again it was a very stop start bitty contest, which was portrayed with the 7 minutes added on at the end of the match. Beavon was appearing to be a nuisance and had early chances, none of which seriously troubled McKeown.
Jodi Jones was another who kept frustrating the hosts' defence with his weaving runs and all sorts. He kept getting brought down, some of which were given, others were not. One in particular was waved away even though he had no reason to go down as he was through on goal. He stabbed a free kick into the wall after 20 minutes, with McNulty blasting the rebound just over.
Jodi had a brilliant opportunity to open the scoring close to half time when he cut into his left past his marker but his effort wasn't struck well enough to be out of the reach of McKeown. However only a couple of minutes later he was booked for a "coming together" with Paul Dixon. By this I mean there was a small scrap which captain, leader, legend Michael Doyle couldn't help but get involved with.
Half Time - Grimsby Town 0-0 Coventry City
We weren't bad in the first half, we just struggled to create anything too notable. The defence however looked ever so slightly shaky, mainly down to Willis, likely as he was just coming back from injury. But the former captain missed a couple of headers and just didn't look as sharp as his usual self.
If anything we came out even shakier for the second half, we were being forced to play Grimsby's game. This meant we were hoofing it for the first hour or so, which doesn't work when Nathan Clarke is the opposing centre back. He may not have been the most gifted in his time at the club (2nd biggest understatement of the century) but one thing he could do was easily deal with smaller striker.
There was then incredible anger from the away end around the hour mark as Beavon's shot was rebounded into the path of Vincenti, but he was hacked to the ground before he had the chance to have a strike. An absolute stone wall penalty, instead to referee waved midfielder to get up and play on. The outrage was immense. No one could believe it hadn't been given, it was starting to look like one of those games.
A few minutes later we saw the other side of Clarke which we all know and hate, but this time we loved more than anything. In incredibly controversial fashion, we took the lead. Clarke tapped a free kick back to the keeper but McNulty darted straight onto the loose ball, rounded the keeper and scored.
There was uproar from the Grimsby players and fans, they were adamant Clarke was giving the keeper the ball to take the free kick in question. After a discussion with his linesman, the referee gave the goal. I can only thank him for this because we may have all had to have gone into hiding had it been disallowed due to the enthusiastic celebrations. As we've seen recently from Millwall fans, it's hard to recover from invading the pitch for a goal which is then chalked off.
Whether it should have counted or not, this goal opened the floodgates as from this point onwards there was only going to be one winner. Willis took a knock so Hyam replaced him to help see out the win. But we didn't try and "see it out" for the final 20 minutes like we would have done under Slade or Mowbray. Instead we pushed for the second goal.
The Mariners were looking fragile, so we had to pounce, and that we did. Jack Grimmer was given all the time in the world in the air to double the lead. In fact the header was so powerful even the defender on the line couldn't keep it out so just helped it on its way into the roof of the net. A couple more fans went on the pitch, but mainly out of happiness that we'd just made sure of our second win of two for the season.
After this went in we could begin to relax on the attacking front, Tony Andreu came on for his debut in place of Stuart Beavon. Everyone's favourite Haitian Duckens Nazon also made a brief appearance when he replaced Jodi Jone with 3 minutes left on the clock. Liam Kelly drew a foul from James Berrett in injury time which signalled the end of a brilliant away win.
Full Time - Grimsby Town 0-2 Coventry City
Don't tell anyone I said this, and make sure you're quiet about it, but WE'RE TOP OF THE BLOODY LEAGUE. But we really need to take this one game at a time and not get ahead of ourselves. I'm already seeing flashbacks of when I was planning Villa and Newcastle away in the December of 2015. We can't have another Darius Henderson-esque bottling. Let's keep our feet on the ground and just look ahead to Newport at home next week.
My Man of the Match - Michael Doyle - He celebrated his 36th birthday on Tuesday, that didn't stop him from controlling the midfield. Pulling all the strings, and partly masterminding a brilliant performance. Rumour has it he offered out a Grimsby fan as well, is there nothing the Irishman can't do?