Tuesday, 2 January 2018

My Fortieth 17/18 Game - Coventry City vs Chesterfield

Without having a chance to catch our breath since Carlisle, we're in a new year and had another fixture on our hands with a big home game against Chesterfield. Win against the relegation candidates and we can come out of the Christmas period calling it successful, lose and the meltdown would commence. What has surprised me is how little we've changed the side from game to game over the past 10 days, and it was to be a similar case again here, with only one change made.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Grimmer
Willis
McDonald
Stokes

Dev. Kelly-Evans
Bayliss
Doyle
Shipley

Biamou
McNulty

Coventry City Substitutes:

O'Brien
Hyam
Maycock
Di. Kelly-Evans
Haynes
Stevenson
Ponticelli

The one change made was re-introducing Max Biamou in place of the injured Stuart Beavon, I'm still not quite sure where I stand on Max, he's tricky. Duckens Nazon didn't appear on the bench due to an apparent hip injury, and it's looking likely that we've seen the last of him in a city shirt. I'll miss Ducky, he can be lazy and inconsistent at times but he was a great character to have, and offers the only other goalscoring threat besides Marc McNulty. Saying that, the "imminent" signing Robins has spoken about is heavily rumoured to be a striker. 

First Half

It was a quiet start to the game, none of the players had their early flare which they usually have, most likely because the Carlisle match had practically just finished. This made it all the more surprising when we took the lead after 15 minutes, Marc McNulty picked up the ball 20 yards out and turned to face the goal, he side footed into the corner. At first glance it looked as if the keeper really should have saved it but after watching replays you realise it was actually a great finish. Remarkably this is his 8th goal in 9 games, adding to that he missed a penalty in one of them.

It didn't take long for us to notice the poor ability of the visitors, therefore we didn't even need to get out first gear to take all 3 points. Biamou nearly got his moment after a Chris Stokes ball over the top dropped at his feet, but Eastwood pulled out a great save. None of this mattered however as the Frenchman was marginally offside. I can't help but think that hen his first goal does eventually come there's going to be a pitch invasion, flares going off everywhere, riots in the city. There will be limbs all over the shop, it seems written that it will be in the cup against Stoke.


Right as he looked like he was about to bag, Biamou clashed heads with Scott Wiseman and stayed down for a couple of minutes before coming back onto the field. He wasn't the same after and had to be taken off later on in the match due to it. On the stroke of half time Tom Bayliss received the ball on the edge of the box but his effort was deflected behind for a corner. 

Half Time - Coventry City 1-0 Chesterfield

Second Half

It took a while for the second half to spring into action but when it did it was almost in spectacular fashion, the ball came out to Chris Stokes about 25 yards out, he hit one on the half volley but Eastwood got his fingertips on it to carry it onto the bar. We dominated most of the match but just couldn't find a second goal to kill the game off. Devon Kelly-Evans was making good work of his opposite number in left back, which considering he was at least a foot taller and double his weight, is very impressive.

Jordan Ponticelli entered the fray for Maxime Biamou in the previously mentioned switch with 25 minutes left to go, and he troubled the defence slightly but didn't get a chance to grab his first league goal. Bayliss went on what's beginning to be one of his trademark runs through the side and slid an inch perfect ball through to McNulty. On his weaker foot he was denied only by a fantastic save by Eastwood.

One thing I've been calling out for for about 2 years is to see Ryan Haynes on the left wing, and with 10 minutes left we got a brief glimpse of this when he came on for the very tired Jordan Shipley. In his small stint on the pitch we saw him go on a couple of his darting runs down that side but ultimately he didn't have much time to have any serious effect. The Spirites hadn't offered much at all in the fixture, and pretty much consigned themselves to defeat when Wiseman was sent off for trailing his leg and stopping Ponticelli from advancing. In the dying moments Tom Davies headed a Jack Grimmer cross just over the bar, and we didn't even need to hold it in the corner. 

Full Time - Coventry City 1-0 Chesterfield

It was a routine victory, one which you should expect if you're looking for promotion like we are, and in a great way to start 2018, it takes us into the automatic promotion spots. Now, before what can only described as a run which will make or break our season, we have to face Stoke City in the Third Round of the FA Cup. It's a nice distraction, and who knows, in their situation with Mark Hughes we could even beat them.

My Man of the Match - Jordan Willis - Youngster Tom Bayliss won the official club award, and deservedly so, he was once again magnificent on this display. However, Tom Davies and especially Jordan Willis nullified any half threat Chesterfield could throw at us. He won every single header I saw him go for, and put in all round great performance to see us through. Let's just hope he, along with half the team who all seemed to be linked with moves away, stays. 

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