Coventry City – 1
Nottingham Forest – 2
D’you know what we’ve gone and done? We’ve won five league games on the trot. FIVE. If we win against Watford on Saturday, you wouldn’t be even count them on one hand (unless you’re from Derby). I know I said in the preview I’d stick my neck on the line and predict a win for us over the anti-football of Boothroyd’s Skyblues – but, well… bloody hell. We’ve won five league games on the trot. That’s impressive.
A scrappy goal conceded by ladies’ man Marlon King was cancelled out by the end of McGugan’s mini goal drought, another good goal for the midfielder – but perhaps not one of his best this season! Heroic work from Guy Moussi, visibly struggling with injury, teed up Earnie to fire home from close range before half time, with the Reds rampant and looking good.
The second half was a tad different, reshuffling and an aerial bombardment from the powerful boot of Westwood in the Coventry goal saw the Reds more often than not with their backs against the wall, but they held firm and delivered a very welcome three points! Billy had a late injury call to Tys, so was forced to change his plans slightly, lining up with:
Gunter Morgan Chambers Konchesky
Cohen McGugan Moussi Anderson
It was a quiet game at first – which is kinda inevitable with such a tiny crowd. A bit of a chance came to Tudgay whose shot from range was easily dealt with by Keiren Westwood in the Coventry goal. Gunts and Earnie combined well with the latter getting a shot away, which went just wide as the linesman’s flag rose to signal a slightly harsh looking offside call.
Coventry’s first opportunity fell for Gary McSheffrey with a freekick, which was easy enough for Lee Camp to deal with. Meanwhile Forest were also creating opportunities, a good cross from Cohen looked to be finding Tudgay who cleverly let the ball run on for Lewis McGugan who hit it over from a tight angle at the edge of the six yard box.
Probably the best chance so far came after good work by Cohen again, picking out Moussi’s run into the box, the French midfielder beat his man but the shot was straight at Westwood. Then the sucker-punch after 27 minutes, Eastwood headed it, Camp parried it to Marlon King – he then saved the striker’s first effort but it fell again for the sex-pest to bundle over the line. Frustrating goal to concede.
Forest aren’t the toothless tiger we’ve known over the last few seasons though, as recent weeks have shown – and it was only four minutes before we were back in it. Cohen’s ball to McGugan looked to be intercepted by Baker, but Lewis got there first and hit a 30 yard shot which bounced awkwardly infront of and then over Westwood who tried to dive to get to it. Not one of his best – but who cares?!
The Reds were playing with confidence and some decent football too, which must have at least given the Coventry fans something different to normal to watch. Chris Gunter did really well to get the ball into the path of Paul Anderson who’d made a decent run, but the shot let him down as he dragged it wide.
Fear not, though – the lead did of course come. Moussi broke through the Coventry defence down the right hand side of the area, and despite appearing to pull-up with a thigh strain he was able to continue and put in a great cross which found the deadly Robert Earnshaw lurking at the end of it, who duly obliged by turning and smashing the ball into the top of the net past Westwood.
This was the end of the game for the Moose whose injury forced him off, so he was withdrawn and replaced with skipper Paul McKenna with around eight minutes left of the half. Forest continued their dominance right up to half time, but weren’t able to breach the goal again – Richard Wood doing well at one point to repel our assaults on the Coventry goal.
It was looking pretty good at the start of the second half, too – Tudgay nodded the ball down to Cohen who crossed towards Earnie, and but for Clarke’s interception we are left thinking what might have been – however, the tide was gradually turning and as Forest withdrew deeper and deeper the game became a bit of a war of attrition.
King was proving a handful for the Forest defence and a cross from him found Eastwood whose header missed the target. As Coventry resorted more and more to launching it from the back they adjusted their personnel to accommodate this, introducing Platt and Jutkiewicz at the expense of Eastwood and McSheffrey. Forest followed suit with Adebola coming on for McGugan (to a nice reception from his former fans), and Lynch coming on for Earnshaw.
An interesting rearrangement which saw Konchesky end up in midfield, Lynch in defence and Adebola very much on ‘hold up the ball’ duty. The pressure was still on though, and had King’s cross towards Platt been a couple of inches lower it might’ve posed problems, as it was Camp was able to claim the ball and Forest were able to ride out the four minutes of stoppage time and get the win.
With QPR, Swansea and Norwich winning too tonight it’s all the better we’ve kept up. I’ve taken particular pleasure in Cardiff dropping a couple of points and thus we overtake them (and still with a game in hand). So we are fourth, two points off second placed Norwich with two games in hand, and superior goal difference – it’s a rather splendid state of affairs that’s for sure.
Elsewhere in the league another defeat for Derby – this time to another ex-manager in Paul Jewell as he took his Ipswich side to Pride Park, with reports of scenes of protest outside the ground directed at their American owners from disgruntled fans. I know I shouldn’t be childish, but it’s hard not to at least have a wry smile given the years we’ve endured of late!
Back to us though, which is the most important thing, an impressive win and a solid debut for Konchesky was marred by the injury to the Moose – hopefully it wasn’t as bad as the immediate substitution suggested and it was just a precaution as our talismanic midfielder has been a big part of our recent excellent run of results. On the bright side at least the skipper is fit to step in if required.
Watford at home next. What could go wrong with that? *shudder*