Saturday, 23 December 2017

My Thirty-Sixth 17/18 Game - Coventry City vs Wycombe Wanderers

Last time we played Wycombe was a monumental occasion in our modern history, as our 2-1 victory marked our return to Wembley for the first time in 30 years. There was a pitch invasion, everything went perfectly, it's possibly the happiest moment we've had ad the Ricoh, rivalled only be when we returned from exile and beat Gillingham 1-0 with Frank Nouble getting the only goal. However this fixture against them was now a very key league fixture which could send us within one point of the automatic promotion spots.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Grimmer
Willis
McDonald
Stokes

Vincenti
Doyle
Bayliss
Shipley

McNulty
Biamou

Coventry City Substitutes:

O'Brien
Davies
Haynes
Stevenson
Dev. Kelly-Evans
Nazon
Ponticelli

An unchanged side from last Saturday's win over Cheltenham isn't too surprising, we saw with this that The Duck is a great impact player to bring on when you need a goal. One thing I can't understand is people are still slating Marc McNulty but are praising Maxime Biamou, I like them both, but when it comes down to it, they're both strikers, one scores, the other doesn't. It's as simple as that. Still, they seem to be working well together as of late.

First Half

With less than a minute played we already had a clear cut chance, Vincenti sliced the defence open with a pass, McNulty latched on but it was a touch too far so he could only stab at the keeper. The rebound came to Biamou who really should have buried it but it was shanked wide, an early chance was squandered. We need not worry however, as just 10 minutes later the most incredible thing this season happened. The ball was cleared to Michael Doyle about 45 yards out, and he leathered a cross in, well it must have been a cross.



You're thinking he's spooned it well over the bar out of frustration, then it keeps dipping and you think, "Hang on, this might be close". In similar fashion to Fleck vs Gillingham in 2015, it hit the bar, but this time, it bounced over the line. It caused chaos as I didn't know what I'd just witnessed, whether he meant it or not, it's definitely going to be voted as goal of the season when it comes to it next May. That was nearly matched a few minutes later when Jordan Shipley almost curled a corner in at the far post but instead it crashed out off the bar.

With five minutes left in the half Vincenti floated a beautiful ball over the defence aimed at McNulty, despite a small flick on, he got a hold of it and wrong footed his man, slotting into the far corner. This was Vincenti's last action of the game as in what looked quite nasty, he went down and was forced to go off through a knee injury. Devon Kelly-Evans came on as a replacement, right as the half time whistle was about to be blown. As a right kick in the teeth, in the fifth minute of injury time Dan Scarr scored a wonderful volley for the visitors.

Half time - Coventry City 2-1 Wycombe Wanderers

Second Half

After conceding at the worst possible time, we desperately needed to take control of the game at the start of the second half to avoid the momentum going against us. Adebayo Akinfenwa was booked for diving in the area early on in a heart in mouth first minute. Just three minutes later they were handed an opportunity to equalise when Devon Kelly-Evans was penalised for a push in the back, I mean, it looked soft, but it really didn't matter. Joe Jacobsen stepped up and sent Burge the wrong way, meaning that we had bottled the game in under 4 match minutes, a pretty special achievement if you ask me.

We were in turmoil and looked nowhere near taking the lead, Wycombe had all of the ball, it was only when we got lucky that things changed again. Stokes played well on the wing, and fed the ball to McNulty just inside the box by the byline. Then he was brought down and we got a penalty of our own, and perhaps neither of which should have been. With a huge run up and using his laces, I really thought he'd sky it into the empty old Telegraph Stand. Instead it rifled straight into the roof of the net and we were ahead again.

Mark Robins plays a fairly risky style of football, if we have a one goal lead with half an hour left we try and see it out rather than try to put the game to bed. To his and the teams credit, we do it exceptionally well, as not much really happened for the remainder of the fixture. Nazon came on with 5 minutes left and brought a bit of flair into the game, almost immediately he fed in McNulty to complete his hat trick. He rounded the keeper, and went down, but instead of a third penalty being given, he was booked for diving. It was most likely the right decision if I'm being honest. Thankfully though this didn't make a difference, as we still rode out 3-2 winners.

Full Time - Coventry City 3-2 Wycombe Wanderers

A huge win if I ever saw one, we put the pressure on all the other teams to win and went up to fourth. They all seemed to buckle under the pressure as literally all the results went our way. We're going into Christmas in fourth, one point off automatics, and this also signals the halfway point in the season. If you'd have said that this would be the case a month ago I would have bitten your hand off, we've got a massive few games coming up as it's still incredibly tight. The first step is Port Vale away on Boxing Day, which really we should be winning if we want to go up.

My Man of the Match - Marc McNulty - A fantastic brace means he's on 10 for the season and has 6 in his last 6, he is well and truly on fire. Long may it continue, as we need his goals hugely at this stage. He may even get more support with Josh Barrett coming in in January and potentially more waiting, one of whom could be Carl Baker if he does enough on trial to earn a contract.



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