Wednesday, 14 March 2018

My Fifty-Third 17/18 Game - Coventry City vs Luton Town

Saturday was diabolical, we were as poor as I've seen us all season but somehow we still blagged the points and ran away from bottom of the league barely outside of the play offs. Now though it was going to be a whole truckload harder, it was our long-awaited game in hand against top of the league. A win would have thrown us right into the play offs and firmly in the automatic race, a draw would have been a good result pre-match, I'll say that again not that it's very relevant given how I currently feel, a draw would have been a good result pre-match. A loss and we've completely missed our opportunity to jump back into the play offs as we near the death of the season. Big game and all that.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Grimmer
Hyam
McDonald
Haynes

Vincenti
Bayliss
Doyle
Shipley

McNulty
Clarke-Harris

Coventry City Substitutes:

O'Brien
Stokes
Kelly
Reid
Barrett
Biamou
Ponticelli

I was happy we'd finally dropped Kelly with Bayliss going back into the middle where he is best, and Vincenti coming back into the side on the right. No disrespect to Kelly but he's been poor since coming back from injury, and Big V offers something different. Jordan Shipley also came back in, in place of Kyel Reid who after having a poor run out last time has been immediately thrown out of the mix. I'm not sure if Mark Robins is in the mood for giving him second chances given how he's treated us recently.

First Half

Games with us are very simple, if we want to do well, we need to get off to a good start, and by god did we. Ryan Haynes found himself in a very tight spot on the left wing so pulled off a earth-shattering Soccer AM worthy roulette to get past two defenders and leave him roaming free, he carried on and passed it into JCH on the edge of the area. It fed through to Bayliss after his attempted shot was completely scuffed, that shot was saved but only as far as the one and only Peter Vincenti, who side footed home from about 3 yards.

I always knew it was going to be a tough game, so I was in absolute shock we'd bagged so early on against the high flyers. It gave us the perfect boost and a huge kick up the backside to put the doubts from Saturday away, and we controlled the half from here. We weren't able to recreate any clear cut chances like with Pete's goal, but The Hatters weren't getting a look in, which is good because with the ball they're absolutely deadly. Shippers was looking lively, trying to shoot whenever he was given the opportunity to do so, the best of which forced a good diving save out of Stech.

We looked to be taking a routine 1-0 lead into half time, on the verge of the break we got a free kick. Shipley was getting flashbacks from the away leg, he stepped up and for some reason ran over the ball, leaving Marc Mc-bloody-Nulty to ping it in the far bottom corner. Stech literally had no idea what was happening and before he knew it it was past him and we were 2-0 up. We'd fooled them twice from free kicks this season, with Jordan Shipley in hysterics laughing as we cruised into half time with a comfortable lead.


Half Time - Coventry City 2-0 Luton Town

Second Half

Now here's where it gets tough to even talk about, the part that makes me want to cry, if you want to click off now, at possibly the peak of our season then I wouldn't blame you. Just imagine we went on to steal third place and we're gearing up for League One again in August. Whilst it was a poor start to the second half, we had the first chance of note, when Clarke-Harris had a go from about 25 yards and it didn't curl enough to make the top corner but instead it went inches past the post.

Things went downhill as soon as Luton were awarded a soft free kick towards the byline on the left wing, the ball was floated in and Lee Burge came for it and crucially, missed it. Scott Cuthbert was left with a simple header into an empty net with no defenders coming to the keepers rescue. 2-1. We were all practically tearing our hair out when we realised there was literally still 35 minutes left to play and our opponents had scored the most goals in England. Plus, above all else, we're Coventry City Football Club.

It was horrifying to watch, time was ticking down slower than I've ever seen it. With about 20 minutes to go Doyler gave the ball away in a dangerous position but was let off when the resulting effort from Elliott Lee sailed over the bar. For some reason we decided to meet this with the "Ohh way ohhh" chant saying he never gives the ball away, which was almost as ridiculously inaccurate as what was to come. It was starting to become unbearable to watch.

As the clock ticked towards the final ten minutes we'd made two of our substitutions, and iffy ones at that, Shipley and Bayliss were off, Reid and Kelly were on. Neither had a good impact and we were stuck on the back foot yet again, then the visitors got another free kick. It was sent in, James Collins was completely unmarked and got the faintest of touches and it's in the back of the net. Luton fans are already jumping up and down pulling the segregation blanket a little harder than usual ready to give it large to the opposite group of our fans doing the exact same. Let me tell you, it was absolutely hilarious to see them waddle back over when they eventually realised the linesman had flagged and the goal had been disallowed. My heartbeat on the other hand was all over the place.

In an ideal world that would have been the last scare and we would have defended so admirably and held out for the biggest 3 points of the season. Unfortunately, this isn't what happened. They got the ball on the wing again, with it flying into the area, Cov fans James Collins beat everyone in the air and nutted it into the top corner. No offside flag saved us this time, 2 points had been stolen from us at the death. That's not to say we were robbed, we were poor in the second half, we didn't even come out, Luton deserved what they got.

Full Time - Coventry City 2-2 Luton Town

Positive people are saying that they'd have taken a point at the start of the game, which is true, so would I, but stuff like that just isn't acceptable. To be 2-0 up and looking so comfortable, to then throw it away and draw is nothing short of disgraceful. There's a lot of difference drawing a normal game 1-1 than chucking away a two goal lead and drawing 2-2 let me tell you. There's 10 games left in this season, if we want to consolidate this extremely fragile play off spot then that shambles can't happen again. Crewe and Grimsby are now must wins, under no circumstances should we be dropping points.

My Man of the Match - Ryan Haynes - Put his body on the line, basically single handedly set up the first goal with a ridiculous turn. That was his 100th professional appearance and we're lucky to have him, he's going to be a key figure in this run in, just hopefully him and his defensive counterparts see out games like they have done all season. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I'm praying last night was a one off, and we go to Crewe and rip them apart.

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