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!

20 Responses

  1. We’ve reverted back to square pegs in round holes again. It’s no coincidence that scrappy results go against you when your most dynamic midfielder is played at left-back.

    Billy’s hands have been tied once again, and these games which we should be getting a point out of are gonna turn into losses, with the ones we were winning away turning into draws. And it’ll be like this until the defence is back to a 4 man outfit with a comfortable left-back, and our midfield has super Cohen back in it.

    We can make all the excuses we want but unless the board address this problem we will continue to lose points.

  2. what has happened to mcleary? he is a great impact sub,much prefer him to mcgoldrick, keep the faith boys!

  3. I cant say i didnt see this coming the balance of the team is wrong and it doesnt take einstien to work it out.Dan above is right cohen is a huge loss in the centre and teams are now sussing us out.

    Thats 2 losses out of three and this is a wobble regardless of what billy says.I think the inexperience in our side is starting to show and im still convinced we will end up in the playoffs JUST.

    Keep the chins up lads.

    U reds

  4. I agree that losing Cohen out of the midfield is a huge loss.
    But having said that he was easily our best player in the first half. His tackling, positional play and passing was superb for a temporary fullback.

    The problem for me is McKenna. Thats 3 games now where he has looked short of confidence, timing and his passing is akin to that of a pub player. The guy needs a rest. Him and the Moose can’t seem to play well together, so leave him out for a couple of games and let Moose and Raddy run the midfield.

    Best player overall last night was Eastwood. He never stopped chasing, always harrying our defenders into hurried passes which invariably went long and high.

    Their defence was shocking, but we never worked them hard enough down the flanks.

    Lesson learned hopefully. 3 points against Donny please lads!

  5. These are the results which we have to expect sooner or later. We have nicked goals in the last minute or got undeserved draws during the course of the season. It sounds like we didn’t really do enough to win last night and given the fortuitous penalty decision against Wednesday it looks like a case of instant Karma. That said I’ll take the lucky win and a poor defeat over two draws where we’ve played well. If we beat Doncaster then that will be 3 points from 2 away games and which isn’t terrible.

    We can’t expect to win all the time and if you look at our away record we have only won 4 times so we have to be realistic. Yes I agree Billy has had his hands tied by not getting in a left back but you have to expect a few wobbles. Newcastle lost 3-0 to Derby for christ’s sake. Who saw that one coming?

    By the end of Feb we’ll have a very good how the end of the season could pan out.

  6. I thinky Mattyboy has a point about McKenna as often his distribution is very poor. Watch how many times he plays this “round the corner” ball as I call it (esp when put under pressure or closed down quickly), hoping one of the forwards will latch onto it.

    Now I know of Macca’s other qualities but hes no play maker for sure.

    Disappointing result and from what I heard on the radio, we had regressed to early season form with lots of effort and possession but sod all in the way of outcome.

    3 lungs Cohen is VITAL in midfield so we do need that left back ASAP. Am I to assume Billy is not going into the loan market yet, delaying so any loanee is eligible for the playoffs???

  7. I echo the McKenna comments, he’s been great all season but looks out of sorts at the mo – another reason why we need Cohen back in the midfield.

    As RedRic sez the balance is wrong and it shows. It’s obvious that away from home Billy tends to favour grit over grace n pace, but I have to agree that Mcleary’s far better to have on the bench than McGoldrick.

  8. will somebody please correct me if i’m wrong but that david mcgoldrick is f***ing rubbish!!!!

  9. […] Chris Cohen was apparently decent at left-back last night, but he has driven our midfield for the last four to six weeks, and with Tys and G-Man McCleary apparently out of favour/form, he leaves a gaping hole on the wing that is, unfortunately, not the same shape or size as Joe Garner. […]

  10. Billy made two poor team selections in my view. Mckenna who has been inspirational in midfield up until the Derby game has suddenly gone off the boil looks tired ,not the usual zip and short pass specialist now resorting to hoof ball and not winning ariel challenges which ke has done all season he needs a rest. The other was the selection of Garner who has not featured even on the bench for many weeks yet got a start against Cov . What can you expect he has never been the quickest and was well short of the pace. It was his fault allowing Morrison the time and space to twist turn and deliver the cross all too easy for Covs winner.For me Mcgugan needs to be given his head for a few game hes a match winner!

  11. I’m with Worksop Red there. Unbelievable decision to bung Garner into the team after not featuring in the squad at all for ages. It’s not fair on the lad himself and also very harsh on Lewis, who must wonder if he will ever get another game for Forest.

  12. I agree regarding bringing on McCleary instead of Mcgoldrick and giving Makenna a break.
    Financial pressures are enormous at newcastle,and if it gets to the players they could end up in the playoffs !

  13. Why oh why are we not playing mccleary on the wing and instead putting garner and mcgoldrick there who are clearly not wingers! mccleary is one of the best impact players we have and almost always creates something

  14. Sorry I am going to refer back to Saturday’s game first. I was at the game last Saturday against Wednesday, and to be fair, they played us off the park most of the game. I was also a little annoyed at the lack of noise from the City Ground. Too much moaning and groaning, especial from the young kid (compared to me!) next to me – how I could have hit him!

    I would have hoped we could have continued in the same form, but a dip was going to happen, and it’ll be interesting to see how they react.

    Garner – wtf, thought he was loaned out. I agree Lewis, Gareth need a run out and give Paul a break.

    Donny away is no easy game, and if I remember we don’t have that good a record against them. Then the dirty Sheff Utd next Tuesday, I’ll be delighted with 6 points, but I fear the worst.

  15. Anyone know when Bennett is lilkely to be back fit?

  16. JG, I read recently that Jules himself has said he’s now back to full training. Be a while before he’s match fit though.

    However, I do hope that our fans don’t think that Bennett is the answer to our left-back problems.
    I know the guy will shed blood for Forest, but he is a good League One full back at best. Any decent winger would work him out very quickly and make him look very ordinary.

    Cohen looks to me as though he could make the spot his own, for years to come IMO. Yes we’d miss his incredible engine in the midfield………..maybe thats why BD was trying to sign Pratley, a similar type of player to CC????

  17. Fair enough Mattyboy, although I think Bennett has further potential.

    I reckon Billy will play a similar line-up to the Baggies away game tomorrow.

  18. why delete my posts ???

    • Got picked up by the spam-filter for some reason… for what it’s worth I thought McGoldrick looked okay when he came on, not that he had much service.

      He got us three points at Swansea too. He’s got some way to go to be considered above other strikers though!

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