Wednesday, 27 September 2017

My Nineteenth 17/18 Game - Swindon Town vs Coventry City

Swindon Town away. Guaranteed loss. It's been impossible to break this habit for generations, my father is 51 years of age and not once in his life time have we achieved a league win. When the fixture list came out and I saw this was a night match the though "Not a chance are we winning there" immediately sprung to mind. But still, records are there to be broken, especially having just come off the back of a brilliant 2-0 win over then unbeaten Exeter City.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Grimmer
Willis
McDonald
Stokes

Doyle
Kelly

Dev. Kelly-Evans
Nazon
Jones

Biamou

Coventry City Substitutes:

O'Brien
Di. Kelly-Evans
Davies
Shipley
Maycock
McNulty
Ponticelli

With both Biamou and Vincenti getting injured on Saturday it was time for Biamou and Devon Kelly-Evans getting their big breaks. Both looked solid in their time in the Exeter win, especially Devon, who netted the winner late on. Other than that there's no need to twiddle with a broken side, so we remained unchanged. A positive side I very much liked, but could they be miracle workers and break the voodoo?

First Half

There's only one place to start, and it's with Maxime Biamou's eventful first five minutes. Firstly, barely 2 minutes had been played before he found himself in behind the defence after Doyler's through ball. Vigouroux was out quickly to narrowen the angles of which he could score and made himself big, forcing Max to shoot out the keeper.

The second, and bigger talking point was when he was through once more just 2 minutes later, but was brought down on the edge of the box. No other defender in sight, clear free kick and red card, but the referee wasn't having any of it. This caused uproar from the fans, it was an obvious decision from where we were standing, and I've heard numerous better placed Swindon fans say the same thing. The way he was through on goal he had no reason to go down, and if he did, why was a dive and free kick not awarded the other way?

Whilst the former Sutton striker nearly scored once more, the inevitable happened at the other end. Rod McDonald could only hoof Keshi Anderson's cross directly in the air, Luke Norris pounced on the rebound and volleted it straight into the top corner. It was a fantastic strike, Lee Burge had no chance whatsoever.

This knocked our confidence for a fair while, we needed something to reignite the spark, and that came via Jodi Jones. His run down the right wing put him in a good position to square the ball into the area. With the help of a deflection, it found Michael Doyle who bundled it into the net, coming off Vigouroux's leg in the process. But suddenly, it was 1-1 and we were very much back in the game.

On the stroke of half time The Duck had the ball in the net but it was pulled back for an alleged foul by Biamou. I'm not going to go into another refereeing rant because if I did that every time there was a controversial decision made then this would go on forever. In fairness, it probably was a foul, I can't say I saw it too vividly.

Half Time - Swindon Town 1-1 Coventry City

Second Half

Much like the first half, almost inmediately after kick off there was a huge penalty appeal. This one I saw clearly, he was yards away from connecting with the ball. As clear a penalty as you will ever see. Instead though the ref had the cheek to give a corner. At this point we were all livid, thinking up conspiracies regarding his accumulator or where his football allegiance lied.

Personally I was beginning to think it was going to be another one of 'those' days and that the Swindon curse would continue. Still however despite these setbacks, we carried on dominating and dictating the pace of the game. Jodi worked some more magic but was unlucky nobody gambled on his cross to the edge of the six yard box.

Once more, the referee had an issue to deal with. Michael Doyle held onto James Dunne's leg as he was trying to walk away, something which he was later booked for, but Dunne kicked out in the direction of Doyler's face. Usually he would stay down, clutching his face like it has taken a bullet. Instead however he was up straight away ready for a scrap, once the situation was calmed down Dunne was shown a straight red card.

We couldn't have been given a better opportunity to go on and win the game after the home side went down to ten men. I'd have taken a point and ran at kick off, but we were in with a serious shout of coming away with all 3. The team also knew this so were continuing with the constant pressure, and that was when the moment of magic came.

On the edge of the area with 15 minutes to play, The Duck turned his man and struck into the top corner, with Vigouroux rooted to the spot. It was a brilliant goal, it's up there with his volley against Cambridge last week. I'm confident that if he stays he will go on to be the clubs top goalscorer, that's assuming McNulty doesn't start being a bagsman when he returns properly from injury.

The Duck was also booked for jumping into the fans when celebrating, just adding to the list of many reasons why I'm going to miss him endless amounts when he returns to Wolves. With 10 minutes remaining Jordan Shipley came on for Jodi Jones in our first substitution of the evening. Robins might as well have just announced on the tannoy system that we were holding out for a one goal lead.



I still have nightmares of all the times we've sat back against Swindon, the Leon Clarke bottle job. The 2-0 up with 5 minutes left bottle job. The list very much goes on. Whilst fighting extremely hard for the victory late on, Chris Stokes appeared to dislocate his shoulder so went off with Tom Davies taking his place. Fingers crossed they can just pop it back in and he'll be good to go.

I almost cried when 7 additional minutes were put up on the board, it felt like the longest of my life, excluding the Checkatrade Semi Final and Final it was the most nervous I've ever felt at football clinging onto a win. To waste a bit of time Biamou was replaced by Marc McNulty. This was the best Biamou has played since joining. Had it not been for the missed chances at the beginning I would've gone as far as giving him Man of the Match.

Swindon had their own penalty appeal turned down in the most heart beat moment of my life, Davies appeared to push their forward in the air. On another day it probably should have been a penalty, but you can't not give all of the ones we had turned down and then make that call in the fifth minute of injury time. There'd have been riots everywhere had he blown the whistle for it.

Once what felt like an hour had been played we were all very much relieved when the referee blew the full time whistle. This was 3 points that I didn't envisage us getting in a million years, and was so proud that we managed it. 6 points from Exeter and Swindon really isn't something I thought I'd be saying pre-match on Saturday.

Full Time - Swindon Town 1-2 Coventry City

We now have two crucial games in Crewe and Barnet that as we've won against these very hard opposition you would expect us to deal with with relative ease. However this is Coventry City Football Clubs after all, and it would be foolish to say otherwise. We're going to need to be at our very best, starting with Crewe at the Ricoh on Saturday.

My Man of the Match - Duckens Nazon - His strike would be worthy of winning this award alone. However he had another great game, with the goal topping it all off. His drawing of fouls (albeit some not given) was second to none. I'm going to try and forget that eventually we will have to give him back and just believe that the good times will carry on forever.


Sunday, 24 September 2017

My Eighteenth 17/18 Game - Coventry City vs Exeter City

When it comes to the City, my optimism turns to pessimism quicker than you can say "The referee was the winner." What really doesn't help this is the sporadic form we've displayed lately, last weeks heartbreaking defeat at Cambridge epitomised it. This meant that I was guilty of writing us off before kick off, which filtered through into my preview. This is something which I will never do again.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Grimmer
Willis
McDonald
Stokes

Doyle
Kelly

Dev. Kelly-Evans
Jones
Vincenti

Nazon

Coventry City Substitutes:

O'Brien
Davies
Shipley
Maycock
Biamou
McNulty
Ponticelli

A warm up injury to Stuart Beavon saw Devon Kelly-Evans make his first professional start for the club. Having just turned 21 on only Thursday, this was a big moment for him. Other than that late switch we remained unchanged from the Cambridge defeat. Exeter were obviously up there for a reason and given we'd yet to realise how good we actually are, I would've taken a point and ran.

First Half

There were little events of note in the first half, Vincenti getting injured early on meant that he was replaced by Biamou. Our main threat in the entire side Jodi Jones had various chances, the best of which in the first period was a deflected long range effort which troubled Christy Pym. But as this was the best defence in the league coming up against one of the best, it was a very tactical battle, I wouldn't have been surprised at all had it finished 0-0.



The Duck also went on a great run into the box on the stroke of half time and opened his body up in an attempt to bend one into the far corner, it scraped the post of its way through. That would've been a brilliant time to open the scoring as it messes with the opposing manager's team talk and entire planning for the second half. Unfortunately it wasn't to be and we went into half time goalless.

Half Time - Coventry City 0-0 Exeter City

Second Half

In terms of action, the second half was a whole new dimension compared to the first. Close to the hour mark we had a free kick on the edge of the box, in prime Jodi Jones territory. He put it straight into the wall but it came straight back to him, then he danced past the four defenders who'd just blocked his shot and shot it into the "corridor of uncertainty". This tactic paid off as it clipped of Troy Brown who put it into his own net.

Nazon nearly doubled the lead just minutes later when he struck wide of the mark from 12 yards, he really should have scored to ease the tension slightly. Chris Stokes almost scored the goal of the century (by his standards) when his right footed strike managed to hit the bar and post at the same time. Had that gone in he might as well have retired, his career would have peaked. Similarly to that volley against Bury which was soon followed up by a year long injury.

After 9 matches, Michael Doyle finally managed to acquire a booking. I'm shocked it's taken this long, he's done so much which could warrant it, including ripping out another players birth mark by flying in with a studs up tackle on his stomach. I can't help but think the floodgates have opened and he'll get 4 or 5 red cards before the season finishes.

Another couple of chances went begging late on as both Biamou and Jodi had golden opportunities. Biamou's was a shot stabbed into the side netting when the keeper was desperately scampering across his goal. Meanwhile Jodi's was stopped by a fantastic save, perhaps the outcome would have been different had he squared it to Nazon.

We were massively saved by Burge when our defence had a lapse in concentration and was split open leaving Reuben Reid through on goal. The homegrown (still massively underappreciated) Lee Burge's point blank reactions were enough to keep us in it. We managed to put the game beyond doubt when Jodi stole the ball in a dangerous area to square to Devon Kelly-Evans who nutmegged the keeper to add insult to injury. This sealed a very, impressive victory.

Full Time - Coventry City 2-0 Exeter City



The fact I was so confident of a loss made the victory all the more sweeter, to topple a side who hadn't lost all season is an impressive feat. I would say that we should try and take this form into Tuesday night at Swindon but that's physically impossible as Coventry City will never win at Swindon Town. That's just how life works.

My Man of the Match - Devon Kelly-Evans - Considering it was his first league start for the club, Devon Kelly-Evans was exceptional. The smart finish at the death rounded off a wonderful performance from him, it may be worth dropping Vincenti in favour of him as he is more of an out and out winger. Some big thoughts for Mark Robins.

Friday, 22 September 2017

That Preview Thing: Exeter City

Not for the first time this season, two confident wins were dampened by a loss to follow them up, sending fans into absolute meltdown. It's hilarious to see them think that a narrow defeat is the end of the world. Out of all of our losses this season that was the least disenheartened I felt, we threw everything we could at them, it just wasn't to be.

However, things certainly aren't going to get any easier as league leaders and the only unbeaten side in the division Exeter City come to town. Saying that, we need to prove a point that we are actually a good team and there's no better occasion. Win on Saturday and we're literally capable of anything, in a League Two footballing sense. Anything else is probably a tad too much to ask.



Last Time Out

As I've said, we may have lost but we weren't horrendous at Cambridge United last Saturday. We were undone by two crosses and headers, almost identical to each other. On the plus side we've found our main weakness and hopefully we can sellotape it up to the best of our abilities. (Other sticking products are also available.)

The Duck's volley was something to behold, the clubs official Twitter said that "It could be an own goal, but he won't care!" Personally I don't think that's strictly true, I imagine he would have been ringing up his lawyers given that he banged his chest, turned to the away fans and pointed at the name on the back of his shirt. Fortunately for him, the FA and EFL don't seem to care about League Two enough. He may bit a bit like that but who cares, he's the only striker who is able to score an actual goal currently.



Last Meeting

Coventry City 3-1 Exeter City
Phillips (35', 45+1') Watkins (85')
McQuoid (59')
7th October 2014
Johnstone's Paint Trophy

Almost exactly 3 years ago we drew the Devon side in the old JPT and dispatched of them relatively easily. Aaron Phillips of all people scored a brace with Josh McQuoid sealing the tie before an hour had passed. Meaning Ollie Watkins' late strike was merely a consolation. I believe we were close to Wembley that year but got battered by Bristol City in the area semi final.

Potential Starting XI:

Burge

Grimmer
Willis
McDonald
Stokes

Doyle
Kelly

Jones
Nazon
Vincenti

McNulty

Stuart Beavon might finally leave the side as Marc McNulty is rumoured to be making an early comeback. You can tell that we have a good player on our hands in McNulty, he's just yet to really kick on. Given he was one of the marquee signings you'd expect him to stroll back into the side, a Marc/Duck combination could be lethal. Saying that I wouldn't put it past Robins to drop everyone's favourite Haitian so we can get the most out of Beavon.

People still slate Vincenti but he's picked up considerable amounts recently, plus, if we drop him then the only option we have is Devon Kelly-Evans. That is until Ryan Haynes makes a return. Make no mistake, when I see the Ginger Ronaldo on the team sheet I'm screaming like a little girl who's being taken to Disneyland.

It's worth sticking for the standard back four because despite a sub par collective performance from them last week we still have the best defensive record in the league, and the stats state that the attack is improving as well. Being sixth isn't the end of the world, if we start banging them in like we've been showing we're close to, we should have little to no trouble reisgistering a high finish.

The Opposition

They suffered the pain of a Play Off Final defeat to Blackpool back in May, people would have expected the Devon side to do well this season, but perhaps not as well as they have actually done. With 7 wins and 1 draw from their opening 8 games, The Grecians are 3 points clear at the top of League Two, a very impressive feat at such and early stage.

Not only are they unbeaten for so long, but have won six on the bounce, the only team to take anything away from them as of yet is Swindon Town, who we travel to on Tuesday night. Things really aren't getting any easier with September coming to a close. Realistically points will be hard to come by, but anything would be exceptional.

Prediction

As hard as it may be, I'm able to ignore my natural optimism and say that it's unlikely we're going to come out of this fixture with 3 points. We're fragile and still don't know how good we are, even though we're in sixth position. We haven't managed to find any form of routine, so unfortunately it's likely going to be a loss.

Coventry City 0-1 Exeter City

Saturday, 16 September 2017

My Seventeenth 17/18 Game - Cambridge United vs Coventry City

Optimism is a terrible thing, we experienced it after the first two games and two wins and then we were beaten 1-0 at home by Newport County. This caused a slight blip in form we steadied the ship on Saturday and Tuesday with respective 1-0 and 2-0 wins. This fixture was also the worst attacking record in the league meeting the best defensive record in the league, so our fate was firmly sealed prior to kick off.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Grimmer
Willis
McDonald
Stokes

Doyle
Kelly

Jones
Nazon
Vincenti

Beavon

Coventry City Substitutes:

O'Brien
Hyam
Maycock
Bayliss
Dev. Kelly-Evans
Biamou
Ponticelli

With Tom Davies missing out through illness, the dilemma of who to choose out of him and Rod McDonald was made simple. The state of the bench however made us a little bit thin on the ground, as in you could count the amount of collective Coventry City competitive appearances on both hands.  So we were left hoping the first team could do the job.

First Half

Despite starting on top, we fell behind after just 10 minutes when Mingoia's cross was met by Ibehre and headed into the bottom corner. Lee Burge could be criticised for not coming out to claim the cross, as could our defence for not dealing with the situation. But an interesting fact I saw was that we haven't come from behind to win in the league since April 2016, so the stats weren't looking good.

With this side you just don't see the ability to instantly bounce back, we're all well and good if we score first, but go a goal down and we look drained. Half chances appeared to be our only form of going forward, nothing concrete. Vincenti had a header comfortably saved whilst Nazon looked like the only one with the balls to have a crack.

Second Half

After we managed to make it to half time without conceding we somehow looked worse, fans were getting increasingly frustrated and this time there was no mascot to get ejected (Incredibly funny). But then put of absolutely nowhere the messiah struck, Vincenti floated a beautiful ball across the area to The Duck, it looked as if he messed up the scoring opportunity but he brought it down and absolutely slaughtered it in.

I say slaughtered, the strike itself was, the actual goal came thanks to a combination of the post and the keepers back, then it trickled over the line. I'm sure The Duck will take the the EFL to court when it inevitably goes down as an own goal when someone looks at it. Still, he's possibly my favourite person to ever grace the planet.


Suddenly the tables had turned, we'd got the exact boost we needed by a perhaps overconfident Haitian. Stuart Beavon of all people had a crack from 30 yards and it went towards the actual goal, it was a fairly comfortable save from the keeper mind but that's a big step for him. Jodi Jones was doing his job on the right but wasn't managing to make any of it count.

Nazon got booked for booting the ball away for a laugh, don't see why but that's just his personality. Meanwhile Beavon had another couple of strikes at goal, none of which had any real effect in the slightest. A comeback was very much on the cards but life just isn't that good. In almost identical fashion to the first, Cambridge doubled their lead with 15 minutes left. Just this time it was Ikpezeau who nodded it home.



Devon Kelly-Evans and Maxime Biamou came on in a last ditch attempt to net an equaliser, and it very nearly worked. Biamou missed a header from about six yards out agonisingly wide whilst Jodi smashed one off the bar late on. Ultimately it wasn't to be though, and a poor 2-1 loss was the finishing result.

Full Time - Cambridge United 2-1 Coventry City

You win some, you lose some. Today we were unlucky but we can't have another blip like after Newport. We'll have to bounce back against none other than top of the league Exeter who haven't lost yet. Not the easiest of fixtures by any means, but it would be a real statement if we came away with three points.

My Man of the Match - Duckens Nazon - Not only did he score(ish) a belter, but he displayed his big personality, which is a great thing to have in a promotion pushing side. Riling up the fans when we scored is something I haven't seen since Nathan Clarke. But one thing that Ducky has which Clarke doesn't is an ability to play football.

Friday, 15 September 2017

That Preview Thing: Cambridge United

It's been a while since I've done anything other than a match report, not having a working laptop has its limitations. Not to fear though, we are but days away from constant Coventry City coverage from Shooting to Win, with this just being a slight taste of what's to come. Previews are something I've been keen on doing for a while, and with the good form we've been displaying, there's no time like the present.



Coming off the back of two solid wins against Port Vale and Carlisle, we travel to The Abbey Stadium needing to be at our absolute best if a win is to be on the cards. We seem to have got a hold of home form, but we've got one of each in our three league away games so far. A 2-0 win at Grimsby, 0-0 draw at Chesterfield and of course that painful 2-0 loss at Yeovil. Let me tell you, that 5 hour trip back was not fun by any stretch.

But one thing that our away results so far tell us is that we can't possibly predict the result by going off them. So basically we know that we know absolutely nothing at all. Incredible preview analysis coming at you right here. Being serious, we need to go in knowing that anything could spring from the fixture, meaning we have to be on red alert at all times.

Last Time Out

I've already touched on it slightly but on Tuesday night we saw off Carlisle in a standard 2-0 victory with goals coming courtesy of The Duck and Peter Vincenti's shin. Albeit the wide midfielders goal was a tad comedic he's got the monkey off his back and is in the perfect position to press on. What I'd really like was if he scored a header, many times this season has he tried and failed.

The Duck still had a lot to do from when he picked up the ball from Liam Kelly for his goal, he did extremely well though to skip through their defence and stab it home. You can't mention our good performances without giving at least a brief shout out to the star of the show Jodi Jones. He's been free to explode down the wing in the last couple of games which really does make a massive difference.

Perhaps surprisingly, Tom Davies was awarded the man of the match award, he wouldn't have been my personal choice but it's good to see that even when our first choice is out of contention we have solid replacements. Lee Burge is yet to concede a goal since coming back into the side and has produced some mouthwatering stops yet still he receives tremendous amounts of stick from some fans.

This is something which really angers me, because he's honestly not done anything wrong. Now that I've said this however he's going to end up making a massive howler and all of his good work will be in tatters with all of his haters having ammunition for the next two years. Long may the best defence in the league record continue.

Last Meeting

Cambridge United 4-0 Coventry City
Berry (7', 29', 38' 86')
4th December 2016
FA Cup Second Round

Who could forget the Luke Berry demolition job that went down in the cup last season, an absolute shambles. The whole squad was booed off, there was a chorus of anti owner chants as well as a brief rendition of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". A day which will go down in folklore as one of the many, MANY, low points of this football club.

The worst part of it all? That wasn't even the worst performance of that season, sure, the score may have been the worst. Just 2 weeks previous we went to Oxford United and got it handed to us 4-1, and honestly, it could have been so many more. Hopefully we'll be able to break the voodoo of travelling to the "Big University" sides on Saturday.

Potential Starting XI (4-2-3-1):

Burge

Grimmer
Willis
McDonald
Stokes

Doyle
Kelly

Jones
Nazon
Vincenti

Beavon

I'm just expecting the one change ahead of the game and that's Rod McDonald returning to the fold after completing his suspension. Up until the red card against Port Vale he had a very solid performance, whether the actual decision warranted a red is a completely different debate which I've worn out on a few occasions. Whilst Tom Davies had a good game on Tuesday I don't particularly trust him enough in a starting spot given the almost own goal in the dying seconds against Vale.

The Duck (Nazon) is really going to have to step up now that Tony Andreu is out for the rest of the season, which was news that hit the Shooting to Win household extremely hard. Get well soon Tony. It's likely Beavon will line up as the lone striker with The Duck in behind as the number 10 but there's every possibility Biamou might get a serious chance. This is unlikely as Robins and Beavon seem to have a Pressley/Webster, Slade/N Clarke, Mowbray/Tudgay sort of bond.

Then again, if neither are able to produce the goods then Jordan Ponticelli is waiting in the wings eager for a chance in the first team. Ryan Haynes is also rumoured to be making a return from injury any game now and if teams go from seeing Vincenti on the left to the ginger wizard then they won't know what's hit them. That is as long as we don't throw him at full back in a pointless game of tug of war with Stokes.

The Opposition

Very early on in pre-season we teased on Twitter that we were about to announce our second signing of the summer, given the rumours that had been circulating in the days previous, everyone was alomost certain it was Gary Deegan. People were livid at even the thought of him making a return, but the signing turned out to be Marc McNulty, and Deegan went on to sign for none other than Cambridge United.

Other than that I can't find any links off the top of my head, does Dion Dublin still play for us? No? Shaun Derry confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Adebayo Azeez will be out for a while after picking up knee ligament damage. They managed just fine without him however on Tuesday night by picking up a huge 3 points away at high flying Crewe Alexandra, taking them up to tenth.

It's also been 231 minutes since David Forde last conceded a goal, meaning we will have to be at our absolute best to break down 'The Amber Wall'. The stats are pointing towards a key defensive battle, whether Jodi Jones and co. will be able to toy with the full backs and find a way in remains to be seen, the hosts have been very unpredictable but have steadied the ship since August turned into September.

Prediction

It's a tough one to call, we're on a high but we're also the biggest club in the league which Cambridge will be looking to stop from progressing up the table. I think whoever (if anyone) scores first will win the match given the previously aforementioned records for both sides. Azeez is a big miss, but equally so are McNulty and Andreu. It could go either way, but I'm in a good mood so why not be a little optimistic.

Cambridge United 0-1 Coventry City

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

My Sixteenth 17/18 Game - Coventry City vs Carlisle United

A scrappy but important 1-0 win at home to Port Vale on Saturday halted the blip we had been going through to begin the season, and with barely any time to rest we were back out once again to face Carlisle. The away side came in solid number considering they practically had to come down from Mordor to see their side play us.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Grimmer
Willis
Davies
Stokes

Vincenti
Doyle
Kelly
Jones

Nazon
Beavon

Coventry City Substitutes:

O'Brien
Hyam
Bayliss
Maycock
Dev. Kelly-Evans
Biamou
Ponticelli

Probably the best side we could have put out given the little mini crisis we suffered in the Vale game with injuries and suspensions. Mark Robins has revealed that Marc McNulty will miss a couple of weeks whilst 'Big Tone' has suffered an ACL tear and will miss the rest of the season. That news was something which nearly brought me to tears. Get well soon Tony.

Rod McDonald's one match suspension has given Deadline Day signing Tom Davies another chance to shine. We have taken pride in our defence so far and statically have the steadiest back line in the division having only conceded 3 goals all season. Tom Bayliss managed to make the bench with Stevenson being injured and Jordan Ponticelli got a spot once more, with his fan club praying he make an appearance at some stage.

First Half

Whilst the first half could easily be described as poor, there were a few glimmers of quality. Jodi Jones was proving a menace to their back four as he usually does. Their full backs looked scared to tackle him incase they were left for dead as he pranced on into a scoring position. Even though he looked a constant threat it was Jack Grimmer's work on that right flank which first pierced that line.

He managed to round his opposite number and play Stuart Beavon into a great position, instead however he scuffed the shot straight at the keeper. Kelly had another opportunity a few minutes later but sent it into orbit from the edge of the box. But it was our old mate Beavon whom has the best chance of the half close to the break.

He was played in about 12 yards out, still with a large amount of work to do. But he did exceptionally well to get the shot away through the legs of a defender, all that stopped us from taking the lead was a great save from Shamal George. It was a half which lacked creativity, but the visitors had just the one chance, which Burge dealt with comfortably.

Half Time - Coventry 0-0 Carlisle United

Second Half

Barely 2 minutes after the second half kicked off and The Duck went on a brilliant run after taking the ball on from Liam Kelly. Once he got past the last defender he slotted it above George to give us the lead. My celebrations had to be slightly nullified whilst I put the Balti pie down safely before joining in. That thing cost £4 and is the best thing about the club these days, I'm not sacrificing it for any man or indeed duck.

The hero of the hour had to leave the field for Biamou for what was a suspected hamstering injury but the man himself has since confirmed it was only cramp. With 20 minutes remaining Jodi was played through by Beavon but his trickled shot was agonisingly cleared off the line by Liddle. Grimmer also had a great opportunity a few minutes later. The game should've been put beyond doubt a lot earlier than it eventually was.



Jodi finally managed to make getting past their defence count as his chipped ball across the area found Vincenti. The comedic midfielder shot into the ground but the effort looped over George. I'm so glad it was Pete who put the game beyond doubt, he's been in need of confidence and a couple of good performances considering the stick he's been getting.

With just a couple of minutes left Devon Kelly-Evans came on for his league debut, replacing Stuart Beavon. The 33 year old wasn't horrendous but you'd like to have another option there, perhaps staring Biamou on Saturday would be a viable option, but as they say, it it's not broken, don't fix it. I can't see Mark Robins making any changes for Cambridge unless he's forced to.

Burge proved why he's possibly the most underappreciated player we've had in a while at the death with a fantastic touch on a log range Carlisle effort to take the ball onto the bar. Had that gone in we may have entered squeaky bum time but it wasn't to be, and the final whistle confirmed we kept our fifth clean sheet in just seven games.

Full Time - Coventry City 2-0 Carlisle United

My Thoughts

Given the troubles we've faced with injuries and all it was a very routine and solid 2-0 win. But what really counts is trying to carry that form on on the road, more specifically on Saturday at Cambridge United. The Duck may finally be coming into his element now he's been officially made first choice, something which we're all welcoming with open arms.

My Man of the Match - Liam Kelly - Picking a man of the match was especially hard because everyone was equally solid. I went for Kelly because he's come on very well since signing and we're finally seeing signs of the attacking centre midfielder we were promised as well as the solid rock. Still, Ben Stevenson can't believe what's happened from his injury table.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

My Fifteenth 17/18 Game - Coventry City vs Port Vale

Back at our fortress as Chris Stokes generously described it, we entertained Port Vale or as what some people are cringily calling it, the Matty Roper Derby. Considering our last three results we desperately needed a win. Last time out at Chesterfield we were denied victory thanks to some horrific finishing from Marc McNulty. Still, as your auntie says on Facebook on a Sunday night after having 3 glasses of wine, today is a new day.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Grimmer
Willis
McDonald
Stokes

Vincenti
Doyle
Kelly
Jones

Andreu
McNulty

Coventry City Substitutes:

O'Brien
Davies
Maycock
Dev. Kelly-Evans
Nazon
Beavon
Ponticelli

After a warm up injury for Biamou ruled him out from his position in the match day squad, 90% of people in the Coventry City Fans Forum got their wish as he was replaced by Jordan Ponticelli. 'Big Tone' also got a start ahead of Beavon, something which pleased a large amount of people in his fan club, of which I am a fully paid up member.

First Half

After a somewhat quiet start we began to come into our element, Peter 'Big V' Vincenti was finally showcasing what Rochdale fans had told us he was good at after coming under fire so much. He wasn't clunky, but instead bringing balls down well and nodding headers back across goal to the strikers.

It would be harsh to call it out of nowhere but it did have a slight feeling about it when Jodi Jones pinged one in from the edge of the box for us to take the lead. The keeper didn't seem to move, I can't tell if that was due to the quality of the strike or his limbs appeared to stop working at the most crucial of points.

Only a couple of minutes later and our penalty merchant pulled up injured with Stuart Beavon being the man who came on to replace him. From here until just before half time we controlled the game and didn't even let them have a sniff. Just prior to the whistle however Anthony Kay's header from a free kick left Burge stranded in no mans land. This left him incredibly thankful that the crossbar came to his rescue.

Half Time - Coventry City 1-0 Port Vale

Second Half

Jodi Jones continued to prove his super human abilities by dribbling from the edge of our own box towards theirs, his cross for Liam Kelly was headed well over the bar. It was clear we were in control however, Andreu played in Beavon who turned his defender and forced a great save out of Lainton. Beav got his revenge though by injuring him 2 minutes later, forcing Sam Hornby to come on as replacement.



However in our round of this weird game of injury tennis, Tony Andreu went down and needed to be replaced by The Duck. We were the best team for 80 minutes of the match, but then with the sending off of Rod McDonald he momentum switched. It was an odd incident, the attacker just sort of ran into him. I'm assuming we'll appeal. But I couldn't tell you whether it was deserved or not.

The first sub Stuart Beavon left the field for Tom Davies so we weren't left with a hole in our defence. Vincenti also got booked for a dangerous tackle where he got the ball but if he got it wrong could have potentially killed him. Burge then saved our skin on a couple of occasions by making two fantastic saves.

Full Time - Coventry City 1-0 Port Vale

My Thoughts

We didn't play amazingly, but we got three points nonetheless, we did exceptionally well considering all 3 of our substitutions were forced and we had a man down for so long. Those are the sort of games where we need to grind out the 3 points even if we don't play the best. This is something we need to take into our game on Tuesday night against Carlisle as we continue our promotion push.

My Man of the Match - Peter Vincenti - Considering the amount of stick he's been getting so far he was excellent. In the air and by foot, he looked a completely different player to previous weeks. If he were to score a header or something. Also, we may have won, but at what cost, four players are rumoured to be injured. Vince will have to step up more than ever if that's the case.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

My Fourteenth 17/18 Game - Chesterfield vs Coventry City

Dejection, pain, underachievement, and more pain. There was nothing new in the world of Coventry City heading into Chesterfield away, somewhere just 8 months ago I sat with my head in my hands as I knew that was it and we were down. Fortunately, we took them with us, and made them the only side to finish below us in the table.

The Spirites started as the side bottom of the table, just in a different tier to last time, whereas we came in at a fairly lowly tenth coming off the back of two abysmal performances and results. Still, we brought in Tom Davies on Deadline Day as another option to sure up the defence. Despite what I may have said on Twitter throughout the day, Carl Baker didn't join him. Long story short I now owe a Portsmouth fan one of my kidneys.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Grimmer
Willis
Davies
Stokes

Vincenti
Doyle
Kelly
Jones

Beavon
McNulty

Coventry City Substitutes:

O'Brien
Hyam
Shipley
Maycock
Nazon
Andreu
Biamou

Tony Andreu changed the game on Tuesday night, so the natural decision which Mark Robins chose was to drop him from the starting eleven in favour of everyone's favourite "work horse" Stuart Beavon. Vincenti also rocked up on the right wing with a look in his ye like yer da turning up to the Pizza Hut free salad bar.

First Half

In the first half we were bad, and I don't just mean slow to get out of the blocks, I mean seriously, seriously bad. If it weren't for Chesterfield being close to equally horrific we'd have been 3 or 4-0 down by the time we heard the relieving half time whistle. Saying that, it was certainly the home side that were on top.



The most notable of their chances came via a free kick from Jordan Flores. Considering Lee Burge saw it very late given the ball dipped back and towards the top corner he did exceptionally well to scamper across and save it onto the post. Kristian Dennis was proving to be tricky towards the end of the first period.

For those final few minutes it really was, backs against the wall, hold out until the break and regroup. Because we were an absolute shambles from top to bottom. Michael Doyle was having an especially poor game and considering most of the time everything revolves round him and goes through him, you're going to be in trouble.

Half Time - Chesterfield 0-0 Coventry City

Second Half

Even though we'd played horrifically so far Robins felt no urge to take off the main offenders i.e and Vincenti. Saying that we did look considerably sharper throughout the side, which showed early on as McNulty's long range effort struck the bar thanks to a brilliant Tommy Lee save. Less than a minute later Jodi's cross was met by no one, which meant it almost crept into the far corner, instead it went agonisingly wide.

On the hour mark Robbie Weir was given a second booking for a foul on Jodi Jones. To be honest it looked a massive dive and I can't believe he wasn't booked for it. Then again, it was a decision which very much worked in our favour. Andreu was brought on 10 minutes later to help spread the play more with the extra man.

We looked to have made the breakthrough when McNulty was played through on goal down the left but he bottled the 1 on 1 and shanked it wide. He really had to score. Vincenti then had the ball in the back of the net but it was pulled back for offside (Eagerly waiting for iFollow to see if I have another opportunity to moan.)

After this Vince was replaced by fan favourite The Duck. With 10 minutes to go we bottled the biggest chance of the game. Andreu's whipped cross found McNulty a couple of yards out, the keeper was nowhere to be seen. All he had to do was simply head the ball into the empty net. That wasn't the case however as he somehow managed to nod it wide. At the time I physically couldn't see that as possible.

Chesterfield looked happy to play out for the draw at this stage and we'd been given so many chances that by this point we didn't even deserve the win. A poor effort from most of the players on the pitch. So after the six minutes of injury time were played out the final whistle was met with choruses of boos.

Full Time - Chesterfield 0-0 Coventry City

My Thoughts

I've come away from a City match feeling angry yet again, we had so many chances yet couldn't muster up a single goal. Just to prove how ridiculous the situation is, some fans were calling for Mark Robins' head. That in itself could be testament as to why karma isn't on our side. Had McNulty scored that bloody header everyone would've been fine, instead there was fighting amongst fans.

I don't think I've seen the fanbase this disjointed since Sixfields. But the situation wasn't helped by the fact Tim Fisher was on the same platform home as the fans. That's a whole different story however. If you want to see what occured, then the video is on my Twitter '@Handsey'. I've never seen anything like it and it has received mixed opinions from fans.

Once again we're left licking our wounds, next up we have Port Vale at home, who knows what the future will hold and how many chances we'll choke. In all seriousness, that fixture has now become a must win match. Not only because we've not won in three, but also because the period coming up looks like some of the hardest we will face all season.

My Man of the Match - Jodi Jones - I tell you what, I can't wait until Ryan Haynes comes back, because Jodi on the right and Haynes on the left would be a force to be reckoned with. Jodi is the only creativity we have at this current stage and it's poor. Saying that, he's brilliant on the ball and showcased that perfectly today. Long may it continue. (Just next time let's hope someone does a goal).