Reds sent to Coventry, and come back with nowt!

Coventry fans partying hard...

Coventry City – 1
Nottingham Forest – 0

The bleak Arena (their word, not mine) of Ricoh is a foreboding sight of an evening – a very real monument to ideas-above-stations that many of us fear our new proposed stadium could become for us.  An elephant mascot cavorting around to loud music blasted through a sound system echoing from ranks of empty seats, a white elephant of a stadium in which less than fifteen thousand Coventry fans mustered to enjoy a low key celebration of Forest’s second away defeat of the season.

Leaving the ground many fans were downhearted, and this wasn’t a performance to gladden the heart.  “What happened to all the one-touch football?” one lad said.  I think he must have been listening too much to Steve Claridge on The Football League Show, because whilst at times we have played some absolutely sublime stuff – we’ve had plenty of fairly average games where we’ve nicked a goal to win it.  Today a fairly average performance from both teams, this time with the other team nicking the goal.

It happens, you know.  And some of us (and it’s taken the drive back to ponder this to get me beyond this) have pretty short memories.  Tonight wasn’t impressive, there is a reasonable amount to complain about and improve – but let’s not be too disspirited.  That seems to be the line Billy took post-match, and I think he’s right.  A strange selection from the wee man, though – looking something like this:

Gunter    Morgan    Wilson    Cohen
Garner    McKenna    Moussi    Anderson

It was easy enough to realise Raddy would be back, but I didn’t second guess the Chris Cohen doesnae wanna play left back comment as well as I ought to have – of course he would end up there!  A surprise inclusion for Joe Garner back in that uncomfortable looking right-of-midfield berth completed a predictably more packed midfield, Billy reverting to awayday plan A rather than his misfiring experiment at Pride Park.

A minute’s applause for a Coventry supporter tragically killed in a traffic accident was well observed by players and supporters alike, as you would expect.  Naturally I’m sure I speak for all of us when I offer my condolences to the poor man’s friends and family.

The game was then underway, and the Reds fashioned the first real chance – McKenna taking a quick free-kick to Garner on the right of the area, but he wasn’t as quick-thinking as Westwood in the Coventry goal, who was out to block any attempt at goal very quickly with his legs.  Reassuringly, the Reds did start out looking intent on passing on the deck unlike the past couple of games, but the accuracy was lacking and the pitch was cutting up somewhat.

This allowed the home side to start to come into the game a little more – and it was somewhat on the break they took the lead.  Morrison did well down the left, skipping past Joe Garner who didn’t seem too bothered about catching him, clipping in a dangerous cross which Wood struck goalward only to be met by a decent save from Camp.  Unfortuately he was only able to direct the ball into the path of Freddy Eastwood who simply doesn’t miss chances like those, and he finished well.

The hosts seemed almost surprised, and the Reds didn’t panic initially – Gunter headed in the box to Garner who got an effort off but it was just wide, but we were still prone to being hit on the break – Eastwood finding McIndoe who shot from the angle at the near post which Camp had easily covered, but at the expense of a corner.  As half time approached the Reds had had plenty of the ball, but had never really threatened – Coventy aside from the two chances mentioned created very little and were comfortable to soak up the Reds’ possession.

In the second half the Moose had a couple of chances which both ended up wide after build-up play through Cohen, a header from Raddy deflected and wrong-footed Westwood but ended up just over for a corner.  An Ando cross was headed out to Raddy whose shot was well struck but didn’t quite curl into the top corner with the ‘keeper beaten – it was increasingly looking like one of those days (not to mention the countless dubious looking offside flags!).

To make matters worse, the hapless referee got injured and was replaced by the hapless assistant who was giving the silly offsides.  And she was an awful referee too, we’ve encountered Amy Fearn (nee Rayner) before – and I’m convinced she hates Forest.  Naturally this leads to all manner of sexist comments, I don’t think she’s a bad referee because of her gender – she’s just a bad referee.  Still, whilst I like moaning about officials, I don’t think we can really blame them for Forest’s lack of impetus today.

Having said that – we had a better shout for a penalty than the one we were given on Saturday in the second half, as Cohen (I think) was bundled over in the box only for a Coventry freekick to be awarded (it would have been soft, though), and in the first half Dex was hauled over by the last defender – who only received a booking from the original referee, Mr Bates.  I suppose them’s the breaks – having seen the Sheffield Wednesday penalty replay a few times now, I’d have been fuming if that was given against Forest!

So yes, just before the referee swap Earnie was introduced for the largely unimpressive Garner – if that was his chance to impress, he didn’t take it.  The change of referee came at an unfortunate time for us – we were putting pressure on and having our most coherent spell of the game, and frankly we never really recovered that momentum.  McGoldrick was chucked on for Anderson as Billy tried to fathom a way of creating a chance – five minutes later McGugan was on for Moussi – it didn’t really make much difference.

For all our desperation though it was the hosts who had the best chance of the half – good work from Baker and Eastwood gave Deegan a great opportunity and he somehow completely missed the target.  Despite the six minutes of stoppage time the Reds were unable to fashion any meaningful chances – annoying as Coventry have a knack of conceding late goals, but they were well drilled and kept their cool – whilst we just, well, lumped it forward mostly.

So kind of an unlucky defeat in an even game – but you can’t really grumble when we didn’t do enough to stop Morrison’s cross going in, and we certainly didn’t create enough going the other way.  As things tend to do over a season, some of these scrappy could-go-either-way type games are starting to go against us rather than for us as they have done with more regularity than some fans care to remember.  A great following of just under 3,500 Reds fans left disappointed, but hopefully most will be at the Keepmoat stadium at the weekend.

Elsewhere it feels wrong to be pleased, but a cracking result for the Rams against Newcastle which is some small consolation for us – of course, it will be the Baggies fans who are happiest in the top three this evening, claiming top spot with a 2-0 win over Scunthorpe, but there’s still a way to go yet, so let’s not get too downhearted.  Altogether now.. I’ve never felt more like singing the blues, when Derby win, and Forest lose… dear me, it’s the world turned upside down!