Sunday, 18 March 2018

My Fifty-Fourth 17/18 Game - Crewe Alexandra vs Coventry City

After a few days of mourning I managed to get over bottling a 2-0 lead against Luton with an 89th minute equaliser, it was dire, but at least it was a hard game over and done with without embarrassment. Now looking ahead we've got a very favourable run, which in theory could boost our promotion push endless amounts, but, and I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, it never really pans out the way we want it to. All of this started with Crewe away...

Coventry City Starting XI:





Coventry City Substitutes:


Unchanged from the side that dominated Luton for a whole 45 minutes bar one, Liam O'Brien came in for an ill Lee Burge, youngster Tom Bilson came onto the bench with Corey Addai out on loan at Dulwich Hamlet. Vincenti had a good game on Tuesday night and given this being the last game in which Carl Baker isn't internationally cleared to play in it's the obvious decision to keep him in the starting eleven.

First Half

Jamie Sterry was receiving a few boos as he ran up and down the right wing and I've got absolutely no idea why, we had some bad players last season, but I think the only one who was close to alright was Sterry. Either way, he cut in and very nearly belted one in the bottom corner from about 25 yards, had it gone in if I were him I'd have ran the length of the Cov stand shushing the whole thing. It would have been well and truly deserved.

After a moderately lively start to the game, we got our own chance with just five minutes played, Jonson Clarke-Harris received the ball and basically just ran down the left wing without anyone challenging him. As he made it to about 12 yards out he stabbed across goal towards the far post, it took a minor deflection and met the bottom corner. It was his goal, not a Ray own goal. His, and it's his fourth for the club since returning in my eyes, I don't care what anyone else says.

As we've seen a lot this season, whenever we get an early goal we usually take control, and partially, this was the same. For about 15 minutes or so we were knocking it about quite well, but then we began to slip up a bit, with sloppy passes and defending. In fact we were holding on around the half hour mark when O'Brien reacted quickly to push away Shaun Miller's (another member of the Cov Hall of Fame) header. We weren't as lucky a few minutes later though, after great save by O'Brien Bower was waiting two yards out to simply nut in the rebound.

This was the kick into action we so desperately needed as at this stage we realised we might not actually win the game that easily. So as we neared half time Bayliss went on a mazy run through the Crewe team, playing a one-two with Clarke-Harris in the process, side footing the ball in off the post when he entered the box. 2-1. A great goal, and a great time to score it at as well, if it were Football Manger then David Artell would be saying he had to tear up his half time notes. But this is real life, and we went into the break narrowly leading.

Half Time - Crewe Alexandra 1-2 Coventry City

Second Half

Still carrying a bit of a knock we were forced to bring off Bayliss for Liam Kelly, which seems extremely negative, and was a key part in us throwing the game away on Tuesday, but credit to Kelly, he played admirably this time around. He was a lot more attacking than usual and wasn't afraid to venture into the hosts' half. He was displaying the traits of the so-called "goal scoring midfielder" we were promised when we signed him in the summer.

I wouldn't go as far as saying that the second half was a walk in the park, but it was certainly obvious to see who was the better team, Doyler was even having a go and did his usual spoon one over the bar from about 30 yards. It was however Kelly who had arguably our best chance other than the goals, he was sent through on the left after we won it back, but his finessed effort went just the wrong side of the post.

Sparky had a volley opportunity teed up perfectly for him but he hit it straight at the keeper, making the run since scoring from open play even longer. That's not to criticise him, he's got 18 goals this season he's already ahead of most in the past few years. As we reached the latter stages Reid made his standard appearance and the third and final Crewventry City player came on when Chris Dagnall plodded on the pitch. Not to forget Jordan Ponticelli getting his standard 3 minutes on the pitch to do absolutely nothing with. This was the most Coventry City win I've ever seen, but who cares?

Full Time - Crewe Alexandra 1-2 Coventry City

Routine, good performance, could have been 4 or 5. That's what we all like to see, the 10 game season is now a 9 game season, and we're well and truly in the mix. There are no excuses for any less than 7 points from the next 3 games, big expectations are needed for such a big task at hand. You never know, we might even be able to blag an automatic spot with the gap now down to just 5 points. See you for Grimsby next week and yet another cup final.

My Man of the Match - Jonson Clarke-Harris - It was extremely hard to pick a Man of the Match today, and this time for a good reason, a solid 6 players could have easily won it. Bayliss and Kelly were both outstanding but only played a half each, Michael Doyle was Michael Doyle, the defence was as formidable as ever. Even Liam O'Brien stepped up to the plate fantastically for a rare outing. I've gone with JCH because he was his same usual cage fighter-like self, and bagged another goal in the process. You've got to feel for Biamou with him playing so well. Welcome back.

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