Sunday, 29 October 2017

My Twenty-Sixth 17/18 Game - Luton Town vs Coventry City

This season has been very hit and miss, we've shown incredible quality, making promotion pushing teams look like school team, but equally we've seen the dire poor performances where we don't score. The situation had gotten so bad that we were just 90 minutes away from not scoring in the month of October. Plus we were facing top of the league and free scoring Luton, so it didn't look likely that we would break our duct.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Grimmer
Willis
McDonald
Haynes

Vincenti
Doyle
Kelly
Jones

Ponticelli
McNulty

Coventry City Substitutes:

O'Brien
Davies
Stokes
Maycock
Shipley
Biamou
Nazon

I expected that now would be the game that we started Ponticelli, but I thought it would be McNulty whom took the hit. It was a bold call to drop The Duck, but one that I respect Mark Robins for doing, he's not been performing too well as of late. Something needed to be changed and that was done, with McNulty getting a serious opportunity as an out and out striker rather than a number 10 or a winger.

First Half

Whilst The Hatters were showing why they are top of the league with the great play, we were matching them, having good opportunities just as much as they were. It was us who drew first blood in terms of chances, Kelly took advantage of a poor clearance by letting fly first time from 45 yards. The effort hit the corner of the post and bar, bouncing agonisingly out. Ponticelli displayed great fight to follow the effort up and stop it from going out, even if nothing came from the chance.

25 minutes in and we took a very much unexpected lead, Jodi found space on the left to put a ball into the area, from roughly 12 yards Marc McNulty met it and nodded past Stech. A great header, not only that, McNulty has scored a goal which is neither a penalty nor massively controversial. Given he was expected to be our forward talisman when he was signed, this could be the confidence boost he needs to push on and get as close to 20 as possible. Only 18 more in the league to go...

I feel like going 1-0 up to top of the league changed us slightly, within just 10 minutes of the goal McNulty had shot from inside his own half and Ponticelli tried a scorpion kick. The Giroud-esque effort unsurprisingly didn't hit the back of the net but those who don't try don't succeed. Instead we held out until the half time mark, taking in a very impressive one goal lead.

Half Time - Luton Town 0-1 Coventry City

Second Half

Another game, another day where we are slapped in the face by how good Jodi Jones actually is for us, it's crazy. God help us when January comes. Early on in the second half he ran from inside his own half to the edge of the box, he had a shot on goal but it was straight at the keeper. At the other end Lee Burge pulled off a magnificent save with his legs to keep the score 1-0.

In fact for most of the second half Luton were on top but our defence were doing well to keep it away. On the couple of occasions where they got past the back four, the man between the sticks pulled off some wonderful saves to deny them. The double save with 10 minutes to go springs to mind, had either of them gone in then I'd bet a lot of money we'd completely collapse and lose.

We responded to the constant pressure by making an attacking double substitution, Duckens Nazon and Maxime Biamou replaced Jordan Ponticelli and Peter Vincenti. The fresh legs seemed to help is with going forward rather than sitting back inviting in the threat. With one minute of normal time remaining we did go slightly more defensive however by taking off Jodi Jones, Jordan Shipley replaced him. Then a harrowing 8 minutes of additional time were announced.

We caught the hosts on the break as they were throwing everything at us, Biamou played an inch perfect long through ball to McNulty, leaving him through on goal. Glen Rea then quite literally "Took one for the team" by taking him out on the edge of the box. He was immediately dismissed having denied a clear goalscoring opportunity with no intention of getting the ball. It was annoying and Sparky looked certain to score.

There was no need to worry however, Jordan Shipley stepped up to take the free kick, didn't mess about beforehand and just let fly instantly. It bolted straight into the opposite top corner. A wonderful strike which sealed the game and took the edge off. However we weren't finished there, Nazon was played through in the sixth minute of injury. With a bit of help from a deflection, he made it 3, perhaps flattering us slightly, but don't let that take anything away from the performance.



Full Time - Luton Town 0-3 Coventry City

It's such a Coventry City win, don't score all month against Forest Green among others, and then batter the league leaders in their own back yard, but who cares? Now, what we have to do here, is BUILD ON IT, and KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING. I don't care that the next 2 games are in the FA Cup and Checkatrade Trophy, we need to win them to keep the positivity and good feel about the team going.

My Man of the Match - Lee Burge - If it hadn't been for Burge's brilliant saves at 1-0 under pressure then I'm fairly certain we'd have lost. He's responded to the Forest Green mistake amazingly by keeping 2 clean sheets, still the most in England. He's as good as we're ever going to get and is still massively underappreciated.








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