Sunday, 11 February 2018

My Forty-Seventh 17/18 Game - Coventry City vs Accrington Stanley

Accrington Stanley, who a-, you know what, I can't do that again. Not only have I overused that joke more than Tony Mowbray used Sam Ricketts knees, but they've literally taken 6 points off us now, it's beyond a joke. (Spoiler alert...) It was a must win given the run ahead, and I'll likely be saying this for the next 5 or 6 league matches, unless we lose them all, then I'll perhaps enter a deep dark pit of depression. Our home form was all that was keeping us going, and the only positive of recent times.

The eagerly awaited community day was finally upon us, as many as 28,346 people (it definitely wasn't that many) were piling into the Ricoh Arena. The club really went all out for it, the fan village was thriving, once you actually found out how to get there. Jodi Jones and Carl Baker did interviews which no one could hear, however I'm pretty sure the latter just put in a plea for Mark Robins to give him a contract. After seeing the Checkatrade Trophy I found myself in a queue to have a picture with it as I'd never get another chance, and to put it lightly, I wasn't in the best of states pre-match. So I'll forever have an image of me, pale faced crouching beneath the symbol of our biggest achievement in the last 30 years. The stuff dreams are made of.

Coventry City Starting XI:


Di. Kelly-Evans



Coventry City Substitutes:


It's always great when you're facing the biggest game of the season to have a virus tear your squad apart isn't it? The biggest of all the absentees was Michael Doyle, he's the only one to play every minute so far, so I think everyone was fearful as to how much we'd miss him, and that was clear from the off. Grimmer and Davies both picked up injuries at Forest Green which we knew about. On the official team sheet Lee Burge was on the bench but Corey Addai was the one doing the training in the warm up, so I'm going to put my neck on the line and say we'd have been treated to that horrendous handywork if anything happened to Liam O'Brien.

First Half

Imagine being one of our players, you walk out every week to 7,000 fans, so when you finally get a bumper crows you'd feel riled up to go out and claim victory wouldn't you? Not in Coventry. Before you can say "And fight 'til the game is won" it's 1-0 to Accrington after just 4 minutes. Dion Kelly-Evans was caught out as his physical side of the game isn't the strongest. Understatement of the century right there. Johnson breezed past him and put a daisy cutter into the box, Jordan Willis should have dealt with it but missed the clearance, leaving Jordan Clark, (not that one) to side foot easily past O'Brien.

All of this came immediately after we had a penalty shout denied where Marc McNulty appeared to be pulled back. This is usually the part where I'd go into a massive rant on how there's a huge conspiracy on League Two referees against Coventry City but to be fair, it would have been an incredibly soft had it been given. It's just a shame that we weren't able to build on the slightest of opportunities with the goal coming so soon after. It really took it out of us from here.

Jordan Maguire-Drew found the ball on the right with lots of space to run into, McNulty was running into the area with an equal amount of room. The cross goes in, right into the keepers arms. There was a small low-pitched "OOOOH" from a group of fans, followed up by an applause, that just about summed the day up. Celebrating a wayward cross which was nowhere near lobbing the keeper. Maybe they were still having flashbacks of when Doyler did something similar against Wycombe but this time there was some actual competent goalkeeping at hand. Strangely when he had an actual shot at goal from a free kick it warranted the same response.

In fact that was as close as we got to calling something close, well of course that and Marc McNulty's effort on the stroke of half time. It was very much a shot out of frustration, he wasn't getting any service so tried it all by himself. It struck the side netting, but some people in the old Telegraph Stand thought it was in. That's the price you pay for actually opening up the whole ground. He's another we were apparently playing with a virus, so god knows how he didn't do a Lineker on the pitch at any point.

Half Time - Coventry City 0-1 Accrington Stanley

Second Half

I mean, with Ryan Haynes, Josh Barrett and Jonson Clarke-Harris on the bench, all capable of doing a job to bolster the attack, why oh why did Peter Vincenti plod out for the second half in place of Maguire-Drew. Still, you never know, Robins has been proven to provide words of wisdom many a time this season, I still had a bit of hope that we'd be able to turn things round. Liam Kelly then spooned it out of play literally straight from kick off. Yep, all gone. It was dire, it was a shambles, at best it was painful to watch.

Straight away, Billy Kee had a free kick from 30 yards out and after clearing the wall our match was saved, well for all of ten minutes at least, when it struck the bar and went over. It was obvious we were clinging on to the game, and it took the softest goal ever to put the game to bed. Willis and McDonald were nowhere to be seen as the visitors strolled closer and closer to goal. Kelly-Evans was frightened as anything so basically ran away from the situation, Stokes couldn't believe what was happening. Clark received the ball, and to top it all off, passed it into the net thanks to O'Brien literally jumping out of the way.

Off went Tom Bayliss who has by far his worst game for the club, but that is to be expected, he's only 18. The saviour was soon on, Kyel bloody Reid, someone who literally about 6 months ago demanded he left assuming he was bigger than the club. I don't really care what he has to offer, we shouldn't be lowering ourselves to that. Ryan Haynes is the better all round footballer who is so much more consistent, how on earth he's not being given a chance I will never ever know. To be fair to Reid, he orchestrated the best move of the match by floating a cross over to Vincenti, on the volley he spooned it into the crowd. Jonson Clarke-Harris also made an appearance but he was so anonymous that I had to be reminded he was actually brought on.

Full Time - Coventry City 0-2 Accrington Stanley

Coventry City Football Club, what are we to do with you? That was as must win as it gets, we've been poor away for a while, and now we find ourselves in the position of needing to go to Colchester and Mansfield and pick up 6 points. All while not having our backsides handed to us by Brighton next Saturday, saying that, it'd be such a Cov thing to do to go and win there but continue our never ending painful spiral down the leagues. We're only 2 points off play offs now, but that is one game away from being so much more if we don't pull our fingers out on Tuesday night. I've never wanted to go to a City game less, see you there.

My Man of the Match - Maxime Biamou - He looked like the only one who actually wanted it yesterday, everyone else was poor around him. He's a very consistent player and is only now beginning to get credit for it, it's just a shame it came on such a poor day. Still, we go again and all that, let's just hope next time we do a community day we don't flap it as much as we did here.

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