Sunday, 4 February 2018

My Forty-Sixth 17/18 Game - Forest Green Rovers vs Coventry City

I never thought this day would come, not to sound all snooty and act like we're too big for teams in this league (even though we probably are), but finally we had to go to Forest Green Rovers. For a league fixture no less. I'm still getting nightmares from the revers fixture, getting so cocky that we'd batter them, saying I'd go vegan if we lost and then proceeding to have a breakdown when we lost 1-0 courtesy of a Lee Burge howler. Still, that was all behind us and personally I'd learnt absolutely nothing, proclaiming pre-match that if we didn't win then we just didn't deserve to go up and should probably liquidate. This is a literary technique commonly known as foreshadowing.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Grimmer
Willis
Davies
Stokes

Kelly
Doyle

Bayliss
Barrett

McNulty
Biamou

Coventry City Substitutes:

O'Brien
McDonald
Haynes
Shipley
Vincenti
Beavon
Clarke-Harris

Despite a convincing 3-1 victory over Cambridge on Tuesday night we dropped goalscorer Jordan Shipley for Josh Barrett, an odd decision given how good form Shippers has been in. Liam Kelly and Jordan Willis were also both shoehorned back into the side having regained fitness, whilst Jonson Clarke-Harris got onto the bench looking a lot harder than when we released him a few years back. I certainly wouldn't want to see him down a dark alley.

First Half

Exactly as like in the first fixture between us and the vegan demons from the middle of nowhere, we didn't show them the respect they obviously deserved. Despite this we had a couple of early good chances from the likes of Barrett and Grimmer. This was the tone for the first 15 minutes or so and we began to get the feeling that this was going to be a walk in the park, but that is when they're at their most dangerous.

Burge was caught out by a skidding shot which he parried right into the path of Reuben Reid who had an open goal. I was ready to lob a Greggs sausage roll onto the pitch if it weren't for Jordan Willis to come from nowhere and fling himself at the ball, squirming it round the post. A massive let off, and you'd think that this would knock us into shape at the very least.

There was a slight glimmer here when McNulty forced a fantastic save out of Collins but it all went to pot when Jack Grimmer was forced off injured, with Rod McDonald replacing him. He slotted in at centre back with Davies with Willis moving out to the right back spot. That however was yet another key player injured, and not yet do we know the extent of which it is. All I'll say is it didn't look TOO bad, he walked off fairly normally.

Now I actually heard someone blaming Lee Burge for the goal, I swear to god. He pulled off a great save to push it away from going in, it's just dumb luck it cannoned straight out to Alex Bray who tapped into an empty net. No one was flying in front of it this time. If you demand on finding a scapegoat then Josh Barrett is you man, played Stokes right into trouble with his throw in. I'm sure he'll be a good player in time but from the little we've seen so far he's been poor.

Half Time - Forest Green Rovers 1-0 Coventry City

Second Half

After a mishap with Stokesy clearing the stand with a 40 yard effort we finally looked to be getting a hold of the game, albeit in horrifically lucky circumstances. Liam Kelly ran into a defender and went down from it, clear as day not a penalty, and given how the referee had been towards us up until this point I was expecting him to laugh in a deep voice as he waved it away. Nope, sharp blow on the whistle and before you know it Sparky steps up and rifles it top bins. 1-1. Out of nowhere.

We made a positive sub with Biamou hobbling a tad, Jonson Clarke-Harris came on for his second debut, looking scarier than ever. We were actually going for this game, at this point you couldn't see any other winner than us. One whole minute later, 2-1 Forest Green. Lee Collins with a screamer. You just can't write it can you? I mean, other than I have. In fairness to the boys, there's nothing much they could have done, it was a great goal.


We were dealt with yet another massive blow with our third and final substitution being yet another injury forced one. Tom Davies had to leave the field with Ryan Haynes taking his place and Chris Stokes moving into the middle. We've since found out that it's a broken collarbone and he'll miss the remainder of the season. It's a big loss as he is a proper no nonsense League Two defender but we just have to thank our lucky stars we have an almost carbon copy of him in Concrete Rod McDonald. Assuming everyone else is ok, including Stokesy who funnily enough had to see out the remaining 10 minutes with a knock then we should be fine. Even with 6 added minutes we couldn't add anything noteworthy, Clarke-Harris' free kick not far wide was all we could get. That was it.

Full Time - Forest Green Rovers 2-1 Coventry City

6 points, 6 points we've thrown away to that lot. Yeah, yeah I know, we should respect them but just look at the table. We absolutely have to be winning games like that if we want to go up. I know it's not the end of the world but just look at the run coming up, February is going to make or break our season. I'm not sure whether we've got the bottle to do it, and being completely honest, I'm scared to find out.

My Man of the Match - Jordan Willis - No one was especially amazing, but Willis is a city legend after the block he performed in the first half. It was nothing short of heroic. It was that sort of a game that a block gets you a man of the match award. Oh well, roll on Accrington where the Ricoh may actually be relatively full. Even though there will almost certainly be loads of no shows we're already on course to smash the all time record for the biggest League Two attendance.


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