Well that was a bit of a smash and grab by Leyton Orient but they won’t care… It’s three points that they are travelling home with that the Sky Blues should’ve had. We dominated the game for large parts in terms of possession and Orient struggled to get a foothold on the game.
Despite having the ball we didn’t particulary do much with it, although their keeper had to make a few good stops to deny us. But it’s simply not good enough at home. As I’ve said many times, good teams would of been three or four goals to the good by the time we conceded. We couldn’t make our domination count and we’ve been punished. I said in the stands that Orient would’ve been very happy with a point, you could see this by how deep they sat. What they did was clever though, their game management was spot on as they defended well and looked for a goal on the counter, which they got.
The Sky Blues started very brightly and they nearly took the lead with 2 minutes on the clock. A great ball from midfield was fed in to Frank Nouble who held it up well, he then rolled to Jim O’Brien who saw his curling effort flash just over the bar. It was fairly even though in the opening 10 minutes as both teams struggled to keep hold of possession, but it was the home side who looked to get the ball forward more.
On 11 minutes City’s attacking line took a blow as Dominic Samuel was forced to leave the field after rolling his ankle under a heavy challenge. 18 year old George Thomas came on his place but losing in-form Samuel was disappointing for us fans. Despite losing the on-loan striker the home side began to look the better of the two teams as they controlled possession very well. John Fleck and Grant Ward were breaking down everything in the midfield which allowed City to win the ball back and play out. The only thing Orient could muster in the opening 15 minutes was a free kick that was floated straight out for a goal kick.
The Sky Blues had a free kick of their own on 17 minutes and it came a lot closer to opening the scoring. A foul was given around 25 yards out, Grant Ward then stepped up to take it and it whipped narrowly wide of the left-hand post. The O’s then had an effort up the other end just minutes later as they enjoyed a rare surge in to the City half. A good passing move won them a corner, the ball was then floated in for Shane Lowry to head towards goal but Burge was down quickly to save.
We continued to knock the ball around well after this however, but a lack of ideas going forward was costing us dearly. We just seemed to keep the ball for the sake of it and we couldn’t break through the wall of Orient defenders who had camped behind the ball. Was this because the away side were superb at the back or was it because we lacked any cutting edge? I’d go with the second option… We were passing, but with no purpose. Orient then went close to punishing the Sky Blues on 28 minutes as another corner caused problems as we struggled to deal with set-piece deliveries, our Achilles heel if you like. If was Mathieu Baudry who rose above his marker this time but his header was inadvertently blocked, causing the ball to drop just wide to Burge’s relief.
The rest of the half just petered out really, with the game being very similar to the one at Peterborough on Saturday. Both teams were battling it out and despite having the lion’s share of the ball City never really looked like scoring. Leyton Orient looked relatively comfortable as they soaked up all the home pressure. It was a very tedious game to watch, it didn’t really look like two teams fighting for safety at the bottom.
A good final 5 minutes of the half did come about for Coventry though as they looked for an opener and the best chance of the half fell on 42 minutes. Frank Nouble managed to beat a man in the area before squaring to Jim O’Brien, the midfielder then slid in and somehow managed to fluff the contact which saw the ball spin in the air before bouncing wide. Chris Dagnall and Darius Henderson had chances of their own for the O’s in stoppage time but Lee Burge responded well to keep the scores level at the break.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first as City were a whisker away from taking the lead early on. Influential midfielder Grant Ward played a short corner to Nouble on 47 minutes, the striker then played the ball back to Ward. He then used brilliant feet to skip past his marker before firing a powerful effort which thumped off the far post to our disbelief. Just a few minutes later and the Sky Blues went agonisingly close again through George Thomas this time. John Fleck played a forward ball which Alex Cisak unconvincingly punched to the edge of the box, Thomas then drilled the ball on target but the keeper was spared his blushes as a defender miraculously hooked it off the line with on-loan goalkeeper sprawling.
Cisak was called in to action again on 53 minutes as another good passing move allowed Grant Ward to let fly from 20 yards, the keeper acrobatically tipped the ball over the bar though to keep the scores level. Despite the home side’s early siege on the Orient goal they were unable to make it count and the game became sluggish and dull from this point onwards. Leyton Orient saw a half-hearted penalty appeal turned down on 73 minutes as the game looked destined to finished 0-0. A draw would’ve been seen as a dissapointing result after such control on the game, but it got even worse for us Sky Blues fans.
It was with 78 minutes on the clock that the deadlock was broken, but the goal fell to the away side that had survived City’s attacks. They lumped a ball up to Darius Henderson and Aaron Martin’s attempted headed clearance went backwards and straight in to an Orient shirt on the edge of the area. Matthew Pennington then came across to cover before going to ground too early, Chris Dagnall then squared the ball to Jack Wright who was in acres of space and the midfielder scored his first goal for the club to put them 1-0 up.
After conceding there was no way back for City as they looked slow and laboured on the ball. It was a lifeless last 10 minutes as we didn’t really take the fight to Orient, there was no options off the ball which lead to us playing it long to nobody. We got in to stoppage time and we still hadn’t created any chances after going a goal down. Substitute Ryan Haynes dribbled the ball out of play late on with no pressure which summed up our game after conceding… Poor. The final whistle was sounded soon after to signal another home loss for the Sky Blues. What is it about the Ricoh Arena?
Yet again we lose a game at home that we should’ve won. It’s just so frustrating. We’ve gone away to Peterborough expecting very little and got a victory, we expect to beat Leyton Orient at home and we get nothing. That’s the thing for me… Pressure. We don’t have any real pressure away from home which leads to the players expressing themselves, at home it’s a different story as they look nervous and tentative.
I just find it hard to believe we’ve lost that game. We have dominated the match in terms of possession and there is no doubt we should’ve won it, but we didn’t. We’ve got to find a way to win at home. We have to make periods of dominance count by scoring goals, and when you don’t it causes us fans to get increasingly frustrated which in turn, adds to the pressure. Teams that sit at the top of the table score a goal or two when they are on top to kill games, we don’t which leaves us in a precarious position. That’s why we are where we are.
One thing that did frustrate me was the performance in the final 10 minutes or so after conceding. It looked lethargic, careless and void of any real passion or want to win. We were 1-0 down in a real six-pointer between two teams at the wrong end of the table and we didn’t fight to claw a goal back. We shouldn’t of been in a losing position anyway but when we were we should of took a bit of fight to the opposition and throw the kitchen sink at them. It’s just even more frustrating after the resilience and persistence we saw on Saturday.
There was positives to take though and I remain confident going in to the Notts County game. At times we played some brilliant football which can only give us an incentive, it was just a lack of incisiveness that cost us dearly, and Dominic Samuel being forced off certainly had an impact on this. I also believe our midfield looked a lot stronger with Grant Ward and John Fleck looking particularly solid and assured, although Jim O’Brien did play a few loose passes at times.
The defence also looked relatively comfortable too throughout the game with Chris Stokes and Jordan Willis stopping anything from going wide. It was however one lack of concentration at the back that lead to their goal which frustrates me again, a lack of experience back there doesn’t help. I do believe we have very capable defenders at the club but for me it is a very young back four which is susceptible to make the occasional mistake. It’s just unfortunate tonight that it’s cost us the points again.
I don’t know what it is about our home form but it could kill us. I just pray to God that we get another result on the road next Monday and build from there. We have to rectify our home form and continue to pick up results away. Winning games is all that matters now and we’ve got to find a way to do just that, even if it is a smash and grab… Orient did that tonight and looked poor, but they got three points.
Let’s hope we can finish the season on a high. I believe we have enough quality in our squad, but have we got enough heart and bottle? We’ll soon find out…
Lee Burge – 7
Jordan Willis – 7
Aaron Martin – 6
Matthew Pennington – 6
Chris Stokes – 7
Grant Ward – 8.5
John Fleck – 8
Jim O’Brien – 6
Sanmi Odelusi – 6.5
Frank Nouble – 6
Dominic Samuel – N/A
George Thomas – 6.5
Ryan Haynes – N/A
Blair Turgott – N/A