Wednesday, 25 April 2018

My Sixty-First 17/18 Game - Coventry City vs Lincoln City

Here it is, the big game klaxon was firmly out and used so much that it was almost worn out, our long-awaited, snow delayed game in hand at home to Lincoln City. Even thinking about it was making me incredibly nervous, picking up literally any form of points would basically guarantee our spot in the playoffs. A loss and we’ve got Mansfield, who thankfully for us, are absolutely terrible, breathing asthmatically down our neck. I had two predictions for the game, the first being a horrifically dull 0-0er, the second being a mental goal fest with over 5 goals.


Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Grimmer
Willis
McDonald
Haynes

Bayliss
Kelly
McDonald
Shipley


Coventry City Substitutes:

O'Brien
Davies
Stokes
Barrett
Reid
Biamou
Ponticelli

Now I know Robins has gone a bit mental with his team selections recently, but playing the 4-3-3 on Friday night we were awesome, so why oh why did he drop Jordan Ponticelli for Tom Bayliss and switch it back to a 4-4-2. It just doesn’t make sense, if you’re going to drop anyone drop Shipley, then have Doyle, Kelly and Bayliss as a three pronged midfield. It just felt as if we were setting up for the draw from the off, and whilst I’d take a point and run, is incredibly foolish, which we found out in literal seconds.


First Half


Now McNulty’s goal against Stevenage was quick, but this is seriously taking the mick, Lincoln started off with the theme they would adopt for the 90 minutes, hoofing it at our scared stiff back four. We reacted as we also would for the duration of the game, panicking and bottling the clearances, it was half launched away to the edge of the area where Matt Rhead leathered one top corner on the volley. 51 seconds that took, in a game where we just needed to keep things simple and at a low tempo for the first quarter, we conceded after 51 seconds.


The 3,300 travelling Lincoln fans couldn’t believe their luck, I on the other hand was standing there in disbelief that we had managed to Cov it up so spectacularly and quickly. The yoof legion took out their anger on the black cloth where most were unable to make it past a whole 4 stewards to get to the Imps fans they were so intent on meeting and apparently battering. The 40 stone bloke with his top off simply laughed in their face as Burge tearfully launched it back to the halfway line.

Lincoln are a very nippy team, and I don't mean that as if they're quick or anything, more that they'll literally do anything off the ball to stop you from proceeding, but who am I to judge, it works. Burge claimed the ball and went to throw it out quickly so Rhead flung his elbow at the keeper, Michael Doyle responded as Michael Doyle does by throwing him to the ground and Burgey had already pelted it out. Somehow the referee didn't blow for either of these incidents and we were able to counter attack, Clarke-Harris advanced down the left with loads of space and got away from his marker to play to the edge of the box. Steaming in after running about 60 yards Tom Bayliss side footed it into the top corner. 1-1. Incredible scenes.

The yoof legion were rowdier than ever, and the 40 stone bloke with his top off was nowhere to be seen, and I was even more shocked than before. Conceding in the first minute is one thing, to actually bounce back and equalise is unheard of, we'd got a new found confidence and were looking like scoring again every second. Lincoln however were looking weak, I don't even have to make a joke about what's coming anymore because it's that obvious. Ryan Allsop, yep, the one that 3 seasons ago Lee Burge ousted out of the team, hoofed a goal kick and McDonald bottled the headed clearance.

It was flicked on over Willis who I can only assume was swearing profusely at his defensive partner after Ollie Palmer picked it up and effortlessly tapped it past Burge. However before I could even think of anything I'd write about how angry I was Tom Bayliss came prancing down the right and squared one across to Shipley. He turns the defender and spanks it into the bottom corner. 2-2. Incredible scenes yet again.

What's even the point in telling you all how ecstatic we all were? As it went to pieces AGAIN within just minutes, we couldn't hold out for the four minutes until half time. It was the exact same thing, a hoofed ball into the box, a bottled header by Grimmer, Burge came but the striker got there just before him, shoots straight at his chest. Fair enough they got lucky it bounced straight back to Palmer who tapped into an empty net but to even be in that situation is horrific. My two personal "Players of the Season" combining to gift them a third.

I'm beginning to get to the end of my tether with Burge, I've defended him constantly because he's had a good season and deserved it, but the mistakes are becoming more and more frequent now. Robins would have to be completely crazy to drop him though, because O'Brien is certainly no better, that's not to say changes have to be made though, that's getting ahead though, as half time came to us abruptly after a 5 goal thrilling 45 minutes.

Half Time - Coventry City 2-3 Lincoln City

Second Half

I promise the review of this half will be at least a bit calmer, as the anger stopped until full time and just turned into sheer disappointment. Lincoln were happy to sit back here and whilst we had the better of the ball we weren't really doing anything with it at all, the tempo had slowed right down when it desperately needed to pick up, Bayliss shooting over from about 20 yards was the only real thing of note until Biamou came on for Clarke-Harris. He instantly won a header at the back and it would have been 3-3 if it weren't for Allsop. Surely I'm not the only one who remembers him being awful...?

Then came the defining moment of the match, we were growing more and more in confidence and Max was steaming into the area. All you need to know is he hit the ground after contact from a Lincoln defender, whether or not it was a penalty is a whole different matter. I was so far away I couldn't tell you but the referee's view was so clear that he had to make the right call. Someone in the Block 26 "I don't care how much you love City, I'm not standing up" group will be better placed to tell you.

Either way everyone goes up claiming and Jones waves it away, and like a scene from a play, Lincoln broke on us. It's dinked across to the right where Rhead floats one towards the back post. Everyone's screaming for our League Two Goalkeeper of the Year to come out and claim that whilst he's doing the hokey funking kokey on the goal line. Eventually he does but Frecklington is laughing at his as he pokes it under. 4-2, everyone's crying and licking wounds, even the yoof legion haven't got the energy for the arm flailing anymore.

Notes for the rest of the game, umm, Ponticelli missed an open goal from 3 yards out just as 7 minutes of added time were announced but other than that that's about it. The referee blew up on a top 3 contender for most painful defeat of the season, potentially in there with Notts County away, Forest Green at home, Yeovil at home and Morecambe away, because that whole day was an absolute shambles.

Full Time - Coventry City 2-4 Lincoln City



I was as angry as anyone last night let me tell you, but there's 180 minutes of football left in the regular bit of this season and we're still in the play offs. All we can do is go out Saturday all guns blazing, Mansfield are that poor we might not even have to pull much out of the bag. They've got Yeovil away, and as we all know, they're capable of ridiculous things at random points, if we better their result then we're in. The actual play offs though, that's another matter for another day.

My Man of the Match - Michael Doyle - Spread a few passes quite well, but mainly, rugby tackled a man to the floor, hit someone in the face basically, and came away without a booking. Hero of our time. Captain, leader, legend. Give him a life time contract, I don't even care.




Saturday, 21 April 2018

My Sixtieth 17/18 Game - Coventry City vs Stevenage

Once you get past the fact it put a massive spanner in my Friday night plans, playing our game the day before everyone else takes a lot of pressure away from ourselves, win and it's heaped onto everyone surrounding us. If we picked the win here then Mansfield would absolutely have to get maximum points at home to Port Vale otherwise we've got one foot in the play offs. Anyway, that's me doing what I've been guilty of a hell of a lot recently, getting ahead of myself. Ahead of this massive Stevenage game we should have been looking at how we should have beaten Yeovil and what happened there. No excuses.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Grimmer
Willis
McDonald
Haynes

Kelly
Doyle

Ponticelli
McNulty
Shipley

Clarke-Harris

Coventry City Substitutes:

O'Brien
Davies
Hyam
Bayliss
Barrett
Reid
Biamou

Just the one change from the side who somehow managed to nick a win at Crawley last week, Tom Bayliss out for Jordan Shipley, on the face of it, this seems like Robins forgetting to take his pills again but apparently Bayliss is practically dead inside and I'd rather have him raring to go against Lincoln wouldn't you? Still however he persists on starting Jonson Clarke-Harris even though Max's introduction last week was what gave us the ability to actually do it. On the other hand though it's always good to have a secret weapon off the bench if things aren't working out. I'd hate to be in Robins' shoes currently.

First Half

Quicker than you can say "Ei ai ei ai ei ai oh, up the Football League we go" Marc McNulty showed why we love him endless amounts. If we ignore the fact that the goalkeeper should have caught the ball, let alone palm it into the top corner, he's still done incredibly well to send two defenders to the cleaners before leathering it 30 yards. We were all in shock that we'd managed to do it so quickly, one of the 14 year old members of the yoof legion was so excited his bottle of coke went right over my head, cheers for that mate.

I'm glad we got the early goal, and Sparky wasn't finished here, the keeper redeemed himself a little bit by pushing his half volley round the post for a corner. Now we've struggled to make a real difference from corners, and this was hardly champagne football but it's a start. Shippers floated the ball in and met the header of Jordan Willis who nodded it down in the direction of McNulty who in the words of Cov's official Twitter "slots it past King". That's not quite what happened, it basically hit his thigh and bounced in. Either way he's claiming it and is steaming off celebrating his 20th league goal of the season.

We were looking comfortable and in control, Stevenage were nothing special to say the least, all you needed to do Rod was absolutely hammer the ball into next week like you do with every single clearance you've ever taken. He took his time and messed about with it a bit and Danny Newton managed to get a nick on it, giving it right to Alex Revell, 2-1. Everything was going so well until they pulled that out of absolutely nowhere. Thankfully though we didn't exactly collapse like you would expect us to, but instead took it as a wake up call.

Doyler received his usual booking when he nearly killed someone in frustration at actually conceding, but then after a bit of pinballing in Stevenage's box Shipley laid it off to Liam Kelly about 30 yards out, and my words from here were more or less "Kelly for gods sake why are you shooting from theeeee-OH MY SWEET JESUS WE'RE GOING UP." The strike was a thing of beauty, like he went, you know what, I don't care, and decided to Roberto Carlos it from one side of the box to the far corner, made all the more astounding being right behind it. Sorry for everything I've said Liam mate, you're a god. He even volleyed one onto the bar in a moment forgotten given how mental the first half was.

We were handed the game on a plate when Luke Wilkinson followed through onto Sparky's knee studs up, not much he could have done but he shouldn't have been so rash in the first place. This was right on the stroke of half time, and we went in at 3-1, had we not gone on and won I would have been so fuming that I'd have ditched the rest of the season. We wouldn't even deserve to be in with a chance of promotion if we bottled it that bad.

Half Time - Coventry City 3-1 Stevenage

Second Half

In terms of an actual quality second half, terrible, honestly can't remember anything worth talking about. In terms of entertainment, right up there, god knows why we chose this point in the season to burst into a 20 minute long rendition of Twist and Shout but I couldn't have possibly enjoyed it more. Just carrying it on, verse after verse was brilliant, even the Stevenage fans joined in at one stage. Take that other clubs, it's our chant (other than The Beatles) and always will beat your pitiful attempts, I'm looking at you West Ham and now Portsmouth apparently.


When we eventually finished the whole ground broke into a massive round of applause and came back even louder instantly with The Sky Blue Song. We may have lost a lot of fans over the past few years and dropped a few leagues, but the passion is still there, I just hope for everyone's sake we go up because I really think this could be promotion or bust you know. Let's not think about that though because I can think of no thought worse than getting stuck in this league.

Full Time - Coventry City 3-1 Stevenage

One. Step. Closer. We found out today that Mansfield drew at home to Port Vale thanks to a last minute equaliser (Luv u Tom Pope x), so we now have a three point cushion over Mansfield in eighth. Beat Lincoln on Tuesday and we are one whole point away from absolutely guaranteeing play offs. The aim should be higher though, we should go for fifth and somehow try and rig it to get Notts County. That's the dream, then like Wycombe at Wembley, we can all hope. All eyes are at Lincoln on Tuesday night, in my opinion the biggest league game since our relegation from the Premier League.

My Man of the Match - Liam Kelly - I apologise for ever being mean to you Liam, even ignoring the goal he was brilliant, a very adequate Tom Bayliss replacement. Obviously bring him back in on Tuesday in a heart beat but this 3 in the middle thing has serious potential, I'm already worried ahead of Tuesday. For gods sake just don't lose.






Sunday, 15 April 2018

My Fifty-Ninth 17/18 Game - Crawley Town vs Coventry City

After last week ended in almost tears when we conceded whilst still trying to haul everyone off the pitch in a huge match, we were dealt with our penultimate (maybe) away day of the season at Crawley for another match which requires the *big game* klaxon. Mansfield only went and won against Chesterfield in the early kick off so by the time we actually got round to our game we were outside the play offs. Anything but a win and everyone is at panic stations finding the nearest Peter Vincenti to eat alive.

Now, every now and again I like to stray off topic a tad and go a bit more personal if it has something to do with the day. I was out quite late on Friday night, never a wise move when your alarm is set for 6:45, so when it did go off and I'd had about an hours sleep I hit my phone in frustration in an attempt to snooze and get an extra golden 10 minutes in bed. Next thing I know, it's 8:15 and my mate is ringing me asking where I am as the coach is leaving. Not my finest hour but someone thankfully stepped in last minute so I was able to write another edition to the reports we all know and love.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Grimmer
Willis
McDonald
Haynes

Bayliss
Doyle
Kelly

Ponticelli
McNulty
Clarke-Harris

Coventry City Substitutes:

O'Brien
Davies
Stokes
Shipley
Reid
Barrett
Biamou

Mark Robins is a raving lunatic, but a bloody genius despite it. There's 5 games to go, we desperately need points and have a tough away game, so he completely changes the tactic and makes four changes to a side that played alright at Notts County. Who the hell am I to question the wizard himself though? Haynes was back in for Stokes, Biamou was out for Clarke-Harris, lord and saviour Jordan Willis returned from injury to replace Tom Davies and Shipley was out for none other than 60 second hero Jordan Ponticelli. This is not a drill, this is a 4-3-3, sparked probably by the fact we need goals and statistically the more strikers you play the more goals you might score. Also I don't think anyone knows who we're meant to play on the right wing so this did make some sense, even if it was a ginormous risk.

First Half

It was sunny, we were in a terrace, I couldn't see a thing but in the first attack of the game we only went and bagged. McNulty got played in on the right and drove down the flank, squaring into Ponticelli who somehow got it through a mess of players on the line, putting us 1-0 up. Now some people suggested last weeks celebrations caused the goal, and I'd disagree, this week however I'm absolutely sure they did. We've just gone 1-0 up at Crawley to barely send us back into the play offs, who in gods name decided that singing "We are going up" would be befitting of the situation.

In natural fashion, we immediately didn't know what to do and just decided to collapse, we got away without conceding a couple of times thanks to a couple of good point blank saves from Burge. To be fair to them, it was a beautifully worked goal, some quick passing stuffed our defence and Luke Young shot across goal and into the far corner. A great goal don't get me wrong but it was coming as soon as we switched off thinking the game was going to be a cake walk. Back to square one and not being able to see when we attacked thanks to sun and other goalpost.

This was still only about 15 minutes in, and it was beginning to be an awful game of football. It was the single worst passing display I think I've ever witnessed, neither side could string 4 passes together. Doyler in particular was even more sloppy with his passing than usual, Grimmer and Ponticelli appeared as if they physically couldn't play together by law or something. That continued for a good 70 minutes of the match, it was beyond laughable. It was going in our favour as well though, JCH caught onto a stray ball and his 25 yarder was parried over. Liam Kelly earned the final chance of the half when he won the ball back and made it to the edge of the area, but the shot was poor and it was comfortably smothered by Morris.

Half Time - Crawley Town 1-1 Coventry City

Second Half

Nothing really changed early on, it was still the same slightly below average standard where we weren't really creating anything, so to switch things up a bit Reid came on for Bayliss. Thankfully Robins realised this time he's a good impact player but your guess is as good as mine as to what it meant for our formation. Considering we couldn't really get the ball to him with Doyle and Kelly still giving it back to Willis at every opportunity it wasn't properly working. That's when we played our trump card, Maxime Biamou was on for Jonson Clarke-Harris.

The impact was instant, he was chasing down the defence so they had absolutely no time on the ball, just five minutes in he stole the ball back and managed to force it through to McNulty but again Morris saved them from going 2-1 down. In hindsight he really should have scored, however afterwards he hit an overhead kick just wide. We were getting closer to the goal, even Grimmer received the ball at the back stick, he probably should have hit it first time as by the time he'd taken a touch Morris was able to get across goal and get it away.


A minute later Biamou went through but was pushed wide, defenders had got back and it looked as if the chance had gone, he teed it to Ponticelli who out of frustration just leathered it at the goal. Whilst everyone else seems to be ignoring the fact there was a big deflection, that was what carried it into the corner. 2-1. Limbs are everywhere once again, we'd snatched it late on (probably) and both goals came from someone who all year we've been saying isn't ready, quite amazing. That's not to say he's the messiah some people are making him out to be however.

Now, we'd clued on after last weeks shenanigans to not go and concede late doors, and we were maybe a bit over cautious. The remaining 10 minutes was just watching Ponticelli keep it in the corner desperately trying to cling on, it was quite hilarious seeing 2 fully grown defenders unable to dispossess a 19 year old making the second league start of his career. We caught them out in injury time though, Ponts made it through the 3 players trying to rupture his achilles to slide into Kelly, he layed off to Biamou at the back post. Open goal. Keep in mind some of the goals he's scored for us, from about 4 yards out he scuffed wide, god knows if there was a bobble or whatever, but if it was level when that happened he'd have been crucified.

Full Time - Crawley Town 1-2 Coventry City



Bloody hell, we could actually do this you know. This wasn't pretty by any means, but we got the job done, it was all made all the more sweeter given Swindon and Lincoln both lost. We're now up in 6th, I don't want to say it, I really don't want to say it. Friday night we've got Stevenage at home which is as winnable as they come, that means playing before everyone else and POTENTIALLY giving us the advantage over everyone else. It's all ifs and buts...

My Man of the Match - Jordan Ponticelli - He's going places this lad, he's a real poacher, similar to Gary Lineker, from inside the box he's deadly and his awareness won us the game. Saying that, he's nowhere near the finished article just yet, he needs to work on his all round game. Short passing is a key thing, and crossing another, if he's going to stray out to the right so much we need to know he's going somewhere with it. Maybe I'm being harsh though, if he keeps scoring at this crucial stage then we've got nothing to worry about.

Monday, 9 April 2018

My Fifty-Eighth 17/18 Game - Notts County vs Coventry City

Monday's slightly late April Fools Day joke needed to be treated as just that, a one off with no basis as to how our season is going to finish whatsoever. That's the only way we'll truly be able to get past it and make the final push and cement our play off spot, and we start that with possibly the biggest league game in a few years now. So nervously, off four and a half thousand of us plodded to Nottingham for a day which would provide every single emotion possible for the majority of us. It promised to be eventful, and it sure was.


I've been to a lot of pre-match pubs before, and I've seen some tense atmospheres, but crikey this one got very bad, very quickly. I won't go into details because, in the words of Danny Dyer and Phil Mitchell "I ain't no grass", long story short, a flare got set off and it escalated from there with all of Nottinghamshire steaming in thanks to a little bit of blue smoke. Well, at least they clamped down on it enough in the pubs so none got in the ground and there was absolutely no commotion whatsoever. Notice my hilarious wit and use of sarcasm there? Here all week.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Grimmer
McDonald
Davies
Stokes

Bayliss
Kelly
Doyle
Shipley

McNulty
Biamou

Coventry City Substitutes:

O'Brien
Hyam
Haynes
Barrett
Reid
Clarke-Harris
Ponticelli

Mark Robins showed how ballsy he was with that team selection, I was expecting a couple of changes, but five, is "I'm bloody angry still" territory. Dominic Hyam, Ryan Haynes, Peter "The Scapegoat" Vincenti, Kyel Reid and Jonson Clarke-Harris were all sent packing with Tom Davies, Chris Stokes, Liam Kelly, Jordan Shipley and Maxime Biamou all came back in respectively. Vincenti was banished out of the squad, and I assume he'll never play for the club again after Monday's witch hunt. Tom Bayliss was shifted back out to his completely unnatural position of right wing in his absence as we literally don't have another, fit, player who can play there. I miss Jodi so much.

Kyel Reid is better as an impact player so I'm glad he was dropped for Shipley, that's when we actually decide to sub him on rather than Josh Barrett for christ sake. The anger is already seeping through and I've not even got onto the actual football game yet, wow this is going to be an absolute treat. Ryan Haynes had a poor game against Yeovil, granted, but having Stokes and Shipley down the left is basically admitting we don't want to attack down the left side of the pitch.

First Half

The first fifteen minutes were spent with us tentatively trying not to make howling mistakes which will throw the game away without us even getting a look in. As soon as we got past the "Coventry 0-3 Yeovil" stage the game was actually able to properly start and we grew in confidence as the minutes passed, triggering the realisation that we weren't the worst football team in the world, contrary to what they may have thought in recent days.

It was a fairly dull first 45, but it would be fair to say that the hosts had the slight better of the game, Lee Burge answered his critics with a great one handed save from a volley, proving why he is LEAGUE TWO KEEPER OF THE YEAR and denied possibly the best chance of the half. I can't think of many that appeared on our behalf, maybe a sky high volley from Rod McDonald or Liam Kelly. If McNulty had an extra foot on the last defender then we'd have likely gone 1-0 up but the through ball escaped his feet by a matter of inches.

With his new found confidence of doubling his tally of goals for the club over the course of just one weekend, Maxime Biamou stepped up from 35 yards and pinged one miles over the bar. He was hungry for a goal and recently he's looked like the only one capable, so he was perhaps our only hope. That was until he went absolutely ape at the referee at half time for no apparent reason, getting himself booked and subsequently subbed off because he was about one shirt pull away from walking.

Half Time - Notts County 0-0 Coventry City

Second Half

Everyone's favourite cage fighter Jonson Clarke-Harris dived his way onto the field, before realising he couldn't win a free kick if the game hadn't actually restarted yet. Obviously that's some more of the adored humour I'm providing, but there is some basis to it, you're a good striker Jonson mate, but come on, no need to go down literally every time you're near anyone ever. Whatever the case, we started the better of the teams in the second half, the keeper nearly fumbled the ball into the path of McNulty but smothered just in time for Sparky to hack at his stomach.

The referee was dishing out yellow cards all over the place in the early stages, Liam Noble was booked for practically stamping on Doyler, he was fine don't get me wrong, but the referee very much bottled the sending off. Rod McDonald got one for almost decking him in reaction, and Shola Ameobi (Who's got to be in his late 40s by now) got in on the action by jumping in on the scuffle. In fact it's a wonder Noble wasn't sent off as there must have been two or three second bookable offences after this incident.

Tom Bayliss stopped a counter attack from progressing by dragging their winger down on the left and got a yellow of his own. He's really learning from being partnered with Doyler. Now, onto the nit and grit of the second half, the hosts won a corner, which was met in the air by Jonathan Forte, completed unchallenegd, and into the far corner. Not only was it a poor goal to concede, but not in a million years should it have counted, at the time I was annoyed we'd allowed it to happen, but when you look back at the highlights and see Lee Burge wasn't allowed to actually move to what would be an easy save, it adds a ridiculous amount of petrol to the already massive fire.

Now we had to chase the game, again, what didn't help was Mark Robins' refusal to bring on our best impact player Kyel Reid. After 10 minutes of dilly dallying and a couple of half chances, Jordan Ponticelli came on for Bayliss. Of all players, Bayliss. Kelly or Shipley would have been more logical, now we had even less creativity than before. We were going for the tactic of, the more players you throw at them the more likely we are to score.

Those were my exact thoughts at that time, and I'll say them to not seem like I knew what I was talking about, because of course it went and worked. A goal mouth scramble goes down with about 5 minutes left to play, Kelly had the best chance but Collin one handed pushed it to the side, and somehow they half got it away. It really was looking like we'd never do it if we didn't score there. McNulty flung himself at the clearance with a poor overhead kick, it bounced straight up to Ponticelli, who contrary to my previous words, provided some incredible creativity and came out with an audacious back heel flick into the far corner. 1-1.

Ignoring maybe the Checkatrade run last season, and possibly a few of the FA Cup goals this season, this was the most I've ever celebrated a goal. It was so unexpected, so when we actually did it everyone lost their absolute minds, there were a few on the pitch, a whole load of pyro, and personally when I wasn't on the floor I was jumping on complete strangers in disbelief that we had managed to keep our season alive at the death of the game, with Jordan Ponticelli bagging his first league goal. There was now a real sense of passion from the team, we could really go on and do this. *Sigh* and as we all know, this is when we are at our weakest.


Let's get one thing straight, absolutely no way did the celebrations lead to our downfall, that is a ridiculous statement. They were big, but that's to be expected, the only player who can be described as overwhelmed was Jonson Clarke-Harris, who couldn't pass up the opportunity of about 30 people careering into him, so went down like a ton of bricks, even if they were his own fans. Liam Kelly spooned a clearance, and before you know it it's cannoned right into the path of Big Shola, who's squared it and somehow Forte forces it in. The elation turned to almost tears, it was painful, all of our work had been for nothing.

Full Time - Notts County 2-1 Coventry City

At the time it seemed like the absolute worst thing in the world, but somehow, we're still in the play offs, we actually got very very lucky on that front with Mansfield losing 4-3 at home to Crewe and Swindon dropping points against Carlisle. Now we've just got to hope they do the same again on Tuesday night, leaving us able to still cling on to 7th place. We can't keep relying on other results though, a huge reaction is needed at Crawley on Saturday. Anything other than making the play offs then this season is a failure, it's now or never.

My Man of the Match - Michael Doyle - In the style of the official Cov MOTM, I'm unsure who to give it to, so I'll just fling it to Michael Doyle. No one was especially stand out, but I can think of a couple of reasons not to give it to some other players so Doyler is going to take it for his consistent performance. He played a couple of good balls here and there and on another day one of them might have resulted in an assist. However if he skies a 25 yard volley again in the 95th minute instead of bringing it down and playing some football then I might cry.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

My Fifty-Seventh 17/18 Game - Coventry City vs Yeovil Town

I know I have trouble with describing games sometimes as City always conjure up new ways for me to be surprised roughly once a month, but this, let me tell you, was something else. Never in all my life have I seen something so spineless, diabolical, unexpected and downright disgusting. In honour of the shambles it's time for the return of "Rant not report" which got a few run outs last season, it only really appeared this season when Forest Green turned us over at the Ricoh but I'm sure most Cov fans will agree with me, this tops it.

Now obviously in this league there are no easy games as the cliche goes, but before the game given our recent form, personally I was there going "We have to win, SURELY", as I did with both Barnet and Grimsby. On Friday we did well to nab a point late doors in the pouring rain which gave me a fair amount of confidence, and there weren't even any new injury concerns, which was confirmed to us when the team news was released.

Coventry City Starting XI:

Burge

Grimmer
Hyam
McDonald
Haynes

Vincenti
Bayliss
Doyle
Reid

McNulty
Clarke-Harris

Coventry City Substitutes:

O'Brien
Stokes
Davies
Shipley
Barrett
Biamou
Ponticelli

Given he chipped a ball across a box to Biamou for the goal last week, Kyel Reid apparently warranted a return to the first team with Jordan Shipley making way. Maxime was unlucky not to get back in the side as well but JCH is still in relatively good form. To quickly put it out there, I wouldn't be surprised if Carl Baker's footballing career is over, he missed out yet again with an ongoing calf problem, with only 6 games left and his age, it's not exactly looking good for him. Hopefully for sentimental value he gets at least a few minutes before the season is out to help us get over the play off line. That's if we don't grossly bottle it by throwing points away like there's no tomorrow. (Spoiler Alert x)

First Half

Let's break this down a bit, to begin with I'll just analyse the first 15 minutes of the circus, then I'll get onto the rest of the match. First four minutes or so were ok, a bit slow mind but nothing in particular bad, then our metaphorical bubble was jabbed at by a 6 year old with a needle throwing a tantrum. Not sure why said 6 year old would be entrusted with a sharp object in the first place mind but a metaphor is a metaphor and I'm still very angry at what I was forced to witness. Now, quickly before all of that, go easy on Burgey eh?

A cross was put in, it should have been an easy routine catch for him, but he fumbled it, and before you know it Alex Fisher taps it in from a yard out. Yes, that was a howler, and it's not the first time it's happened this season, but people are very quick to forget how good he's been all of this season, and even on Friday when he single handedly kept us in it. Have a go all you want but to say how poor he's been always been for us is incredibly unfair. Anyway, as we learnt after half time, Liam O'Brien isn't the second coming either like people seem to think, but that's getting ahead of myself.

We were preparing for 90 minutes of hoofball and us struggling to break them down because that's the sort of team they are, then before you know it Doyler of all people gets pushed off the ball, both Hyam and Rod go to the same player, leaving Zoko in acres of space to stick past Burge and make it 2-0. A whole 11 minutes played, you start to think the game is out of our hands already, and that was confirmed a whole 3 minutes later when another defensive howler gave them another goal.

A big ball over the top was missed completely by Grimmer, so Burge was in a race to the ball, which he lost Fisher gets there ahead of him and dinks over to make it 3-0. We were losing 3-0 at home to Yeovil bloody Town after 15 minutes, I've seen us begin to bottle promotion a few times since I've been alive, but this, was special. In amongst all of that Marc McNulty stuck a ball in across the box where Vincenti could have just stuck his leg out and we'd have equalised. Sparky also met a Kyel Reid cross from about 2 yards out and somehow managed to miss an open goal. Those go in and it *may* have been a different story where we're not chasing the game from the literal off.

Anyway, as he's the official Coventry City scapegoat, Vincenti was subbed off after a whole half an hour, which leads me onto another point. Peter Vincenti is not the devil, and he is also a living, breathing human being who plays for the club we so dearly love. The whole witch hunt aimed at him is cruel now, yes he might not be the most technically gifted, but he still tries his best every time we pulls on the shirt, and it means a lot to him as we saw when he ran over to the fans when he scored versus Grimsby and/or Luton, I'm not sure which it was. What good is sarcastically cheering when he gets subbed off going to do to anyone. He wasn't even the worst out there. Either way Biamou got a much earlier berth into the game than anyone expected.

As we got ever closer to half time, that "Stop, stop, he's already dead" GIF taken from The Simpsons was being plastered across Twitter, especially when they would have had a fourth if it weren't for the flag going up. So we did go into the break 3 goals down, but the worst part of it was, we quite easily could have had three of our own. However the referee put us out of our misery and ensued a 15 minute period of sulking and checking the odds on 3-3 and a Maxime Biamou hat trick.

Half Time - Coventry City 0-3 Yeovil Town

Second Half

Unless he was injured, which it didn't look like he was, then what in gods name was the point of wasting a sub on taking Burge off for O'Brien. The games already gone, changing the goalkeeper isn't going to do anything. However I did find it a tad funny that they both ended up conceding the exact same amount of goals, deeming this even more pointless than anyone originally thought, but again, that's getting ahead of myself.

We were all sat there just thinking, if we get an early goal, then MAYBE. We only went and did it, Tom Bayliss was on the floor and just hacked at the ball and somehow it played McNulty straight through, he cuts back to Biamou. 3-1. Everyone's steaming back to the half way line with the ball so quickly, with the chants of 'Sky Blue Army' so loud, the players so pumped, and 43 minutes of the match left to play, we couldn't, could we? Absolutely not you fool, it was 4-1 within mere minutes. Hyam was so easily muscled off the ball he might as well have not even been there. Zoko tapped it past O'Brien and we all got back to seat sulking.

Now most had left by this stage, but the rest of us were just lying down in our seat wondering why we actually did this to ourselves, plus the game had died down a bit. It got to a point where Biamou just shot a volley out of frustration from 30 yards, and what do you know, top corner. 4-2 and Sky Sports Goal of the Day, mental scenes. Josh Barrett came on for Haynes with about 15 minutes to play, leaving Kyel Reid at left back, which no man should ever have to witness.

We were continuing to go for it and on another day it could have quite easily been 4-3 or 4-4, but to remove all hope from anyone's mind, Sam Surridge got a free header in the box and weakly headed in at O'Brien's near post. He quite easily should have saved that but people won't mention that bit. Biamou still wasn't finished and hit the bar a few minutes later, the carnage if he'd scored a hat trick off the bench to triple his league goals tally. As a right kick in the teeth though, deep into injury time Surridge got another, rounding off the worst day of the season and one of the worst losses in recent history.

Full Time - Coventry City 2-6 Yeovil Town


Can we brush this off as an anomaly? God I hope so but that was absolutely diabolical. It feels like every time they give us a small glimmer of something good it's snatched away. Automatics are gone now, there's no point in hoping for them, the gap is too big, play offs can be our only aim for the remainder of the season. Notts County away on Saturday was always going to be big, now it is earth-shatteringly massive. We have to go there and get a result, even a draw wouldn't really be good enough, so a win is the option. A sold out 4,100 allocation are turning up, so hopefully the team do too.

My Man of the Match - Maxime Biamou - I mean no one was particularly good, but Biamou, Bayliss,  maybe Reid and at a push McNulty could walk away with at least some credit. To score a brace coming off the bench is good at the best of times, to do it in this case was especially great. Everyone will forget the goal because of the result but it was outstanding and won Sky Sports Goal of the Day.  I'm glad he's finally found his shooting boots at such a crucial stage of the season. Any other day he scores a brace and it actually means something and we don't concede 6 at the same time.