The pressure on Russell Slade continues to grow after he watched his side slip to a 2-1 defeat away to Bury on Tuesday night. A particularly lacklustre first half allowed the Shakers to go in at the break with a two-goal cushion, James Vaughan and Tom Pope getting on the scoresheet. Coventry did make a better account of themselves during the latter 45 minutes, but Stuart Beavon’s header just after the hour mark failed to spark a much needed comeback.
If anybody was thinking that a late surge towards survival was going to take place, it isn’t. Strangely, I travelled to Greater Manchester knowing that the result was somewhat irrelevant and I didn’t feel as devastated when the final whistle was sounded. Things didn’t go our way elsewhere in the division either and the final nail has firmly been hammered into our League One coffin. Fundamental errors cost us once again, and quite frankly, we clearly deserve to go down.
The first half was insipid and characteristically painful to watch, meaning I often got sidetracked by the conversation with fellow City fans that proved more entertaining. However, I did see enough to remind me of how naive we are defensively. Vaughan bypassed Farrend Rawson and Nathan Clarke far too easily and Lee Burge was left totally exposed for the opener. The second was then laughable. To allow Callum Styles that much time and space to pick out Tom Pope, a man who never fails to find the net against us, is criminal.
Those familiar defensive frailties put us on the back foot and with us desperate for three points, it was all over before the players even got in for their half-time tongue lashing. As we have seen many times this season, our performance got increasingly better once the pressure was seemingly off and chances began to fall our way. Our goal was well worked and Ryan Haynes picked out Beavon expertly with the cross, but it was too little too late. A flourish late on could have salvaged something, but that disguised our continuing vulnerability at the back.
It is just frustrating to see teams like Bury, who have traditionally been a lot less well resourced than us, beating us. They just dug in a bit deeper and did what they needed to do to get a result. Yet again, it looked as if they didn’t have to get out of second or third gear to see the job out. Would we have lost this game under Tony Mowbray? Nobody knows, but I am certain we have got a lot worse under Slade’s stewardship.
When I first heard the lineup, it was evident that we had set up settling for a point. That is poor considering how much of a gap we had to make up at the bottom of this division. Although you can give credit to him for making two changes at the break, it was a tactical error on his part to begin with.
The only player who deserves full praise happens to be Callum Reilly, a loanee from Burton Albion. He worked himself into the ground and most of our attacks were orchestrated by him. Haynes and Kelly-Evans looked bright when they came on and Charles Vernam put himself about, but it just wasn’t good enough to seal anything from the game.
Realistically, most of the supporters only made the trip to Gigg Lane due to the social aspect of supporting a football club. The mood amongst us is at an all-time low, and we resorted to self-deprecating humour in the face of adversity. We can only plan ahead to next season now and wait in anticipation for our trip to Exeter. These really are sad times at our club, but I’m just hopeful that when (if) the torture ends, we can start enjoying football again.
Lee Burge – 5
Jordan Willis – 5
Nathan Clarke – 4
Farrend Rawson – 3
Jordan Turnbull – 5
George Thomas – 5
Callum Reilly – 7
Kevin Foley – 4
Charles Vernam – 5
Kwame Thomas – 4
Stuart Beavon – 5
Ryan Haynes – 6
Dion Kelly-Evans – 6
Jodi Jones – 4
Bury: Murphy, Leigh, Burgess, Pope (Miller 58), Vaughan (C) (Hope 74), Mellis, Barnett, Moore, Styles (Maher 89), Beadling, Caddis.
Unused Substitutes: Lainton, Mayor, Pennant, Lowe.
Coventry City: Burge, Willis, Clarke (C), Rawson (Di. Kelly-Evans 45), Turnbull, G. Thomas (Haynes 45) , Reilly, Foley, Vernam (Jones 82), K. Thomas, Beavon.
Unused Substitutes: Charles-Cook, Rose, Reid, Tudgay.
Attendance: 2,611 (209 away)