What a win that was! I predicted 1-0 to City prior to the match and people laughed at me. “We won’t keep a clean sheet” they said… Well we did, and what an important one it was! I just had a feeling that after last week’s calamitous defensive display we would bounce back and stop the opposition, and boy didn’t we do it well. It’s the first time we’ve won at London Road for a while. What a time to get the three points.
It wasn’t the best game of football you’ll ever see, not by a long shot, but who cares at this stage of the season? I’d rather watch a fairly dim win than an exciting loss. Both teams struggled to dictate the ball too much on a bobbly and uneven surface, but what the a Sky Blues did was defend admirably and restrict Peterborough to minimal chances. What a win! Get in!
The game started at a fast pace as within the opening 3 minutes both sides looked up for it. City attacked up one end as Jim O’Brien had a cross cleared before the home side had their own delivery cut out immediately after up the other end. Just a minute later and Coventry registered the first attempt of the affair. A fast-paced attack allowed the lively Dominic Samuel to sprint towards goal after evading a defender, his effort however fell the wrong side of the post. A good start for us though, promising signs.
The game remained fairly even from this point and the opening 10 minutes was very scrappy in all honesty. Both teams struggled in regards to keeping possession due to the surface, which forced long balls to be played often. Peterborough probably had more of the ball in dangerous areas, particularly out wide, but our back line thwarted any attacks which set the precedent for the remainder of the game.
Another end-to-end passage of play came about on 15 minutes as Fleck fired straight at Alnwick before Peterborough had a faint penalty appeal turned down. The next quarter of an hour wasn’t very exciting at all both teams were slogging it out in the middle of the park. Both teams enjoyed some good phases of play but neither created too much to worry their opponents. It was a bit of stalemate to tell the truth, good football was on display in small portions but it was tedious to say the least. One positive about the first half though was the midfield, as they broke down the home team’s play with confidence and Grant Ward stood out for me as the Spurs loanee showed his potential again.
The Sky Blues were forced to make a change on 41 minutes as Marcus Tudgay struggled off with what looked like a reoccurrence of his hamstring injury. He was replaced by Sanmi Odelusi who saw a shot blocked on 44 minutes before Nouble blazed over. It’s a shame for Tudgay, and maybe he was rushed back too quickly. He was having a good game as he brought others in to play with his ability to hold the ball up, but there’s no doubt Odelusi influenced the game when he came on.
Overall the first half was even, and that’s exactly how the first 5 minutes of the second period played out. The home side did however look a lot stronger in the tackle after a below par first 45 minutes. Despite Posh having more possession, they were restricted by the compact defence of City and when they did get in to dangerous zones they were wasteful. An effort from Jack Payne on 53 minutes did worry Lee Burge as it skimmed the side-netting but again, it was an effort from range.
Undoubtedly, we weren’t potent going forward and the passing looked too slow at times. Chris Stokes saw an effort saved comfortably on 55 minutes after a patient build up on the edge of the area, but there was plenty of chances to get the killer pass off before this. We must have played 15 passes before finally picking out Stokes… It was too easy to defend against. A lack of incisiveness was evident. City didn’t get in to forward areas too often in the opening three quarters of the second half, but when they got the ball out wide the wingers looked a little restricted at times as support was not shown quick enough.
The next chance of the game fell to Peterborough on 60 minutes as a long throw evaded everyone in the box apart from Michael Bostwick who struck straight at Burge. With Mowbray realising we weren’t offering too much in the attacking sense, a poor Frank Nouble performance warranted a replacement and it came in the form of Blair Turgott. Bundles of energy and pace are possessed by the young winger and he injected some life in to the game, which provided City with an outlet.
Peterborough continued to attack though, but the away defence cleared everything that came their way. Turgott then chased everything in front of him down as he rustled a few feathers and started to unnerve Posh. With 65 minutes on the clock Lee Burge was called in to action as he kept a powerful Luke Williams effort out. City continued to be pegged in their own half for large quantities but the home crowd were becoming increasingly frustrated as they struggled to find a way past the resilient away defence.
It was this brilliant defending that allowed the Sky Blues to counter on 71 minutes and all the hard work payed off as we took the lead. A good passing move saw Odelusi pick up the ball on the edge of the area, he then got a shot a way but it was deflected in to the air. Some of the home defence then seemed to stop as Blair Turgott reacted first to latch on to the loose ball and fire past the keeper to make it 1-0! A huge goal which came against the overall flow of the game, but it was deserved for the endeavour and character we showed.
A nervy final 20 minutes followed as Peterborough looked for an equaliser, and they would’ve got it just a minute after City opened the scoring if it wasn’t for an acrobatic Burge save. We looked more confident after taking the lead though and a great Jordan Willis cross caused havoc in the area. The keeper poked the ball away before Odelusi went down in the area with City fans screaming for a penalty… Despite the mass protest from the terraces, I can safely say it was a superb challenge from the defender and the referee got it spot on.
Coventry then came under severe pressure as Posh threw everything but the kitchen sink at Lee Burge’s goal. Nothing could get past the back four though as we stood strong and cleared our lines, along with Burge claiming numerous crosses to relieve pressure. Up the other end Dominic Samuel nearly made it an even sweeter victory but his effort fell narrowly wide after a brilliant Turgott cross. The home side pushed forward in search for a late goal as four minutes of added time were signalled, but the Sky Blues held on for a huge three points in the race to beat the drop.
As away performances go, it was probably on par with Fleetwood and almost as complete as that. Peterborough enjoyed more of the ball and it was backs against the wall at times, but you expect that away from home. The Posh are are a good side and one of the form teams in the division so to come away with a win is a superb effort. We’ve shown more bottle and fight under Mowbray and that was certainly evident today. Would we have won that under Pressley? I’m not so sure…
I’m absolutely delighted though, and a win against Orient on Wednesday now will push us further away from danger. They will be confident also after picking up a win themselves but we’ve got to put the Ricoh Arena hoodoo behind us and get a result. The final 7 games are pivotal to our future, and we need to be defeating the teams around us. Our fate can only be decided by us… Win games and we stay up. Simple.
Plenty of encouraging signs were on show at London Road and we’ve got to transfer those on to the next game. We’ve now won three on the spin away from home (for the first time since 1972), it’s just at home where we seem to struggle. Hopefully the Ricoh will be in a more positive mood on Wednesday though and we can spur Mowbray and the lads on to victory! As I always say, we’ve got to keep our feet firmly on the ground though. One game at a time…
Lee Burge – 8
Jordan Willis – 8
Matthew Pennington – 8
Aaron Martin – 8
Chris Stokes – 8
Grant Ward – 7.5
John Fleck – 7
Jim O’Brien – 7
Frank Nouble – 5
Marcus Tudgay – 6
Dominic Samuel – 6
Sanmi Odelusi – 7.5
Blair Turgott – 7.5
Andy Webster – N/A