Coventry City put in a much improved performance on Saturday afternoon as they earned a point away to Shrewsbury Town. Despite the game failing to provide any goals, chances were created and Lee Burge denied Tyler Roberts from the penalty spot deep into first half stoppage time. A first clean sheet since November 1st will please Russell Slade, but the Sky Blues have concerns about the wellbeing of Andy Rose.
Almost immediately after the game got underway, Jordan Turnbull and Rose both attempted to head clear a Shrewsbury cross. The collision left the latter motionless on the grass, and following an 18-minute stoppage whilst he received treatment, play resumed. I would like to wish him a speedy recovery, but it didn’t look good for the former Seattle Sounders man who left in a neck brace taking in oxygen.
It would have been understandable if City started slowly following the lengthy delay, but we were quick out of the blocks and took things to the home side. Stuart Beavon squandered a half-chance on 22 minutes but the Sky Blues looked in control. Ben Stevenson replaced Rose, and alongside the returning Gael Bigirimana, he brought an air of composure to a midfield that has been fragmented as of late.
We all know that it is now too late to salvage our League One status, but I and many others want to see those two starting games. Their standout displays highlighted Slade’s poor team selections and left many questioning why they haven’t featured recently. It’s incredible what happens when you play ball-playing midfielders, isn’t it Russ?
Our control of proceedings carried on into the second period, but the tempo slowed somewhat after the hour mark. As a team, we looked far more compact defensively and expansive going forward. Lee Burge didn’t have his best game and his distribution was very poor at times, but the penalty save was a pivotal moment. There’s no doubting that we deserved that point, and you could even argue we should’ve had all three.
It was in the final third where City proved wasteful. The goalmouth scramble early in the second half was unfortunate as numerous attempts were blocked, but we failed to turn our pressure into a breakthrough. Stuart Beavon worked tirelessly all afternoon and he forced Jayson Leutwiler into a couple of decent saves. Kwame Thomas was utilised out wide and he failed to have much influence as a result, and namesake George impressed off the ball but his distribution often let him down.
During the latter stages of the match, signs of fatigue started to show and Shrewsbury looked more threatening going forward. However, we efficiently restricted them and our back four never really looked like shipping a late goal, something we have become accustomed to. It’s just frustrating that we can perform like that now when our fate is all but nailed on. For the first time in a while, I walked away thinking that we played well.
Paul Hurst’s Shrews may be down there scrapping with us, but they are a team in form and we more than matched them. I expected them to dismantle us and win comfortably. They were not impressive at all, but I was happy with City’s application. All we can do now is restore a bit of pride and showings like that will alleviate some of the pain. Our support was fantastic today, we just want to see players digging on from now until May.
Lee Burge – 6
Dion Kelly-Evans – 7
Nathan Clarke – 8
Jordan Turnbull – 8
Ryan Haynes – 7
Andy Rose – N/A
Gael Bigirimana – 9
Callum Reilly – 7
Kwame Thomas – 6
George Thomas – 6
Stuart Beavon – 7
Ben Stevenson – 8
Jodi Jones – 6
Shrewsbury Town: Leutwiler, Sadier (C), Whalley (Rodman 45+10), Humphrys (Ladapo 60), Dodds (Riley 80), Brown, Grimmer, Yates, Deegan, Nsiala, Roberts.
Unused Substitutes: Halstead, Morris, Leitch-Smith, El-Abd.
Coventry City: Burge, Di. Kelly-Evans, Clarke (C), Turnbull, Haynes, Rose (Stevenson 20), Bigirimana, Reilly, K. Thomas (Jones 73) , G. Thomas, Beavon.
Unused Substitutes: Charles-Cook, Rawson, Foley, Reid, Vernam.
Attendance: 6,205 (615 away)