Ahh, what a difference 4 days and a Leon Best makes.
Saturday – Coventry 2 Middlesbrough 2
Aside from the ever so exciting finish to the Boro game, it was not the best. First half we were well and truly battered, and our defence (as is becoming worryingly the case) was a shambles.
But somehow, don’t ask me how we did it, we managed to scrap and grab something from the game. I don’t buy Coleman’s analysis that we were a miles improved team in the 2nd half. That’s not entirely true. We were miles improved for the final 10 minutes or so, but that was more down to how scared Boro got of seeing the game out, rather than us actually improving that much.
That said, I was very pleased with how ruthless we were. So often these chances come along and we let them pass us by. But on Saturday Clinton and Besty continued their top-scorers duel and salvaged a very unlikely point. Boro are going through a blip at the moment, but a point against them is a good one. So from 2-0 down, by us… well, that’s magic.
Player wise, nobody really stood out. This was probably most demonstrated by the fact that Jordan Clarke was the sponsor’s Man of the Match. Don’t get me wrong, he had a decent game for a 17 year old and I like the look of him. But there was still some very shaky moments in his performance. Something tells me sentiment may have played a small part in the decision.
The 2 strikers were definitely quiet by their standards, but I was expecting one of them to receive the honour.
In terms of players who struggled, you could argue that this was the majority of the team. Westwood will feel he should have done better with their second goal, seeing as it was a pretty tame shot. While Marcus was well off the pace and definitely contributed in making their second a lot easier that it should have been.
Sammy Clingan had another changeable game, showing touches of class throughout, but always liable for a case of the Boozywoozies. Dilly-dallying on the ball in dangerous areas needs to be cut out pronto.
The 2 players who most worried me however were McIndoe and Wright.
McIndoe was absolutely everywhere. And while you would automatically assume that is a good thing, what this actually resulted to in practice was him getting in everyone’s bleedin’ way. I put it down to trying really hard, but it was again desperately ineffective.
And well, Stephen Wright was just a big troublemaker. I won’t go into too much detail with him, but in a nutshell he struggled against Marvin Emnes. I assume this is as embarassing to him as it is to the rest of us.
Anyway, while it was a smashing comeback and something that got me climbing the walls of the Ricoh in delight, I think Coleman is right in realising that the performance as a whole was pretty shoddy, so we would need to improve if we were to beat Watford….
Tuesday – Watford 2 Coventry 3
Sweet monkey, what a game.
It seems almost customary for Coventry to be involved in 4-5 goal thrillers just now. As I’m sure all the commentators across the country will have immediately picked up on, it must be wonderful for the neutral. And you know what, it’s not all that bad for us either. (Providing we pick up points along the way).
The game started frantically, and before Sammy scored, there were signs that we were going to be vulnerable at the back. Ward looked shaky, and Wright just scares me generally.
As annoying as it was to throw the lead away so cheaply, what was to come in the second half was impressive.
One thing we always ask of our players is that they try, and that they show some fighting spirit. To come back from behind in games to pick up points is exactly what we’re looking for.
With Clinton, and especially Best, we have a strikeforce who we know will both create and put away chances. Going on a scoring run should do wonders for Besty. I’ve always questioned his goalscoring instinct and finishing, but tonight he really showed everyone just how good a goalscorer he is capable of becoming. It’s looking like he’s developing a very handy knack of being in the right place at the right time. This is something all Sky Blues strikers tend to have.. but most also have a tendency to allow something to go wrong and ignore the important putting the ball into the net aspect. Early days, but he’s started the season very well.
Have to admit, while it was good to see Ward back in the team, he looked a bit frail back there. He’ll need to show us abit more of the Wardy we know and love if Coleman is going to keep with him on Saturday.
The defence is still a major concern. We have a keeper who we can rely on to make world-class saves game after game, but the problem we have is that we’re allowing the opposition far too many pops at him.
As mentioned back on the first game of the season, as far as I’m concerned Stephen Wright being one of our first choice defenders is simply not sustainable. We have been letting in an unreal amount of goals lately, and while Coleman has tinkered with everything else and it hasn’t made the blind bit of difference back there, I find it odd how he hasn’t yet removed Mr “Common Denominator” Wright from the equation yet.
And this puzzles me, because sweet lord, more than anything – the man is all kinds of slow.
I’m sure he brings a lot of vocal skills to the back line, that’s not being disputed. But I can’t help but wonder if Coleman has tied his own hands a smidge by making Wright captain. I think it’s about time to see 2 from Ward, Turner and Cranie as the partnership for a game.
Let’s face it, there is only so long you can continue letting in 2+ goals a game and still expect to pick up points.
All things considered, we deserved the result, and what was most pleasing was the attitude of the players. Once again they’ve shown that they have it in them to raise their game when required and pick up wins against very tricky opposition. We’ve now managed to end both Sheff Utd and Watford’s unbeaten runs in recent weeks too – surely (oh please god, surely) it has to be time for us to go on a run ourselves?
Defence permitting, that is.