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:
Coventry City Substitutes:
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.
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
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.