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:
Coventry City Substitutes:
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.
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
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.