Coventry 2-1 Millwall ~ Match Report

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Time to fire up the Bonemobile for me and MrsB as we headed north with Del and Lin on board and also our Grandson, Jack, making his first visit to Coventry.

Ah Coventry, what can I say about this place that hasn’t already been said? There are some people, and who am I to question them, that firmly believe that Adolf Hitler was on to something regarding Coventry, but I must say I find that sentiment a bit harsh as the poor fuckers that live there have already lost life’s lottery by being born there.

Coventry of all places was the first city, apparently, anywhere in the world, which decided to ‘twin’ itself with another. And of all the wonderful cities they could have chosen, they chose Stalingrad. What the fuck where they thinking?

It also has the somewhat dubious anecdotal story of Lady Godiva riding bollock naked through its medieval streets because her hubby raised taxes, oh that would be about right, wouldn’t it? A pockmarked harridan gets sent out by her husband to serve penitence for refusing to wipe up the mess her boils made when she squeezed them is more likely the truth of the matter and peeping Tom sneaking a look was more akin to bravery in the field than anything surreptitious.

Yes, granted, Coventry gave us the glorious Two Tone but I trump that fact by simply saying “Pete Waterman”.

The Ricoh Stadium is adequate, no real issue with it these days but the fans are clearly slipping towards the silent majority set we have encountered far too often this season. How hard is it to make a little bit of noise?

Mr Jackett had to make an enforced change just before the kick off with Robbo having to pull out due to God only knows so the line up looked like this, Forde, Dunne, Purse, Ward, Barron, Townsend, Mkandawire, Abdou, Trotter, Henry & McQuoid.

Just over a thousand Lions fans were gathered behind the goal as referee East got the game going and we were soon looking settled and we were beginning to build up a head of steam but just before the ten minute mark disaster struck.

Purse collected the ball just outside the box and made the eternal schoolboy error of errors by passing across the face of out area. Their centre forward was lurking like a rapist in an unlit car park and pounced on the ball. He had a clear route to goal and easily rounded Forde who was left horribly exposed by Purse’s gaff and we found ourselves 1-0 down.

This visibly took the wind out of our sails and it seemed to take us ages to get our rhythm back. We laboured hard and slowly but surely got our feet back in the stirrups and started to impose ourself on the home side.

Henry and in particular Townsend started to work the wings exceptionally well and I hate to say it but how I wished Morison was out there to capitalise. I say this not to be disparaging to McQuoid, far from it as he did well enough but Morison has a little bit more about him at the moment and this game would have been right up his alley.

Henry’s solo effort on 35 minutes deserved a goal as he ghosted past half the Coventry side but his shot went wide of the mark. Minutes later he virtually repeated the feat and this time his shot was blocked and he was again involved moments later after linking up with the impressive Townsend and again he was inches wide with his shot.

The half was coming to a close and we were clearly on top despite the one goal deficit but parity was soon observed as Andros Townsend again linked up with Henry who had cut out a pass from the Coventry goal scorer and after some initial passing Townsend rounded on goal and let loose a ferocious shot from way outside the box that gave ‘keeper Westwood no chance. 1-1! An excellent time to get an equaliser as the half time whistle blew soon after and our tails were now up.

The second half saw Mr Jackett smelling blood and rightly so. He took off Jimmy Abdou and sent on Harris to spearhead our expected assault on their goal.

I think though, that Mr Jackett forgot to explain his game plan to bomber who decided to take petulance to a new level by stamping on Gunnersons foot after the ball had gone and referee East pulled out the red card of shame and that was the end of Harris’ involvement. All of about 2 minutes of actual play saw us reduced to 10 men for the rest of the second half. Harris galloped off the pitch and straight down the tunnel. I don’t suppose we will really know what the fuck he was playing at but it severely hampered our otherwise excellent chances of a victory.

The remaining ten men did us proud though and their resilience was not just in defending but the overall performance, which made a mockery of Coventry’s numerical advantage.

Forde made a stupendous save on sixty minutes from an absolute screamer from Baker but that was really against the run of play.
McQuoid showed a bit of promise after showing some neat close control but his final shot missed the target and the Trotter, immense in midfield, laid off a trademark pass to Henry who sent in a delectable ball that saw Westwood just finger tip away to safety.

Bouazza came on with twenty minutes left to replace McQuoid and by then we were well on top.

The clock was running down now and with barely 5 minutes left to play it looked like we would have to settle for a draw. But there was a sting in the tail waiting for us as we watched another Millwall attack get thwarted which left Trotter flat out on the floor and with our numbers effectively (albeit temporary) reduced to nine, Coventry took full advantage.

We watched in disbelief as they got the ball up to our end and there was their predatory striker on hand to tap the ball home from close range. Sickenening it was (and he truly is). 2-1

There was, of course, an obligatory final effort, this one from Tam Mkandawire that saw a bit of a scramble in the aftermath and there was still time for Forde to pull off another decent save and then watch the ball beat him only for the post to save him (and us) from a really undeserved score line.
And that was that, loyal reader. We came, we saw, we got stuffed, by a red card and a bit of bad luck but there is still a miniscule chink of light for a play off berth and until the mathematics tell me otherwise I am willing to keep on believing.

I know all you pessimists out there cannot lose (you can claim you were right when the play off’s escape us and celebrate with us when proven wrong) but I will keep my optimism until the mathematics or Carol Vorderman tells me otherwise that the dream is over.

So, what next then?

PNE on bastard SKYTV on St George’s day at 5.20pm…I am sure it will get very messy for some of you but I will still expect to see you all there!
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