Coventry City’s dismal season continued on Tuesday night as Phil Brown’s Southend United strolled to a 2-0 victory at the Ricoh Arena. First-half goals from Nile Ranger and Ryan Leonard sealed all three points for the visitors who strengthened their search for a play-off place. The Sky Blues prop up the rest of the division and the gap between them and safety is now a mammoth 17 points.
Quite frankly, the performance from the City side tonight was nothing short of abysmal. Once again, I don’t think Southend had to get themselves out of first gear to dispatch us in routine fashion. Our ball retention was very poor and I lost count of how many times we gifted the visitors possession. We are bottom of the division for a reason and that is because this group of players simply aren’t strong enough.
Going a goal down inside three minutes put the writing on the wall and I don’t think a single Coventry supporter felt that we had the capability to get back into it. Jordan Turnbull was beaten by Theo Robinson far too easily down the flank. Nathan Clarke then stood off the winger and he was allowed to cross to Nile Ranger who showed composure to finish. Basic football from Southend – lacklustre defending from the Sky Blues. A second then followed via a deflected Ryan Leonard free-kick and that was that.
With Southend chasing a play-off spot, I thought they would have come out looking to inflict further damage in the second period in order bolster their goal difference. However, it proved to be the most tedious 45 minutes I have seen for a long time. The Sky Blues attempted to attack on a few occasions but there wasn’t enough quality to break through a Shrimpers defence who looked untroubled. Farrend Rawson did have a shot blocked from point-blank range on 82 minutes, but that was the closest we came to registering a goal.
Incredibly, our goals per minute record meant that it would have taken us almost five-and-a-half hours to score three. That has been one of our major issues all season – finding the back of the net. I like Stuart Beavon but he’s not a goal scorer, Kwame Thomas was isolated out on the wing and Marcus Tudgay offered nothing. The creativity from our midfield was non-existent behind them as well.
One moment that sums us up came in the first half when Ben Stevenson received the ball. He looked up to play a pass and everybody was transfixed. Not a single player wanted to take that responsibility and pick up the ball – if that doesn’t highlight that we have zero confidence, I don’t know what will. Southend were looking for every little crevice and their movement was far superior; City being statue-esque by comparison. It really was horrible to watch.
Mark Robins has an almighty task on his hands and I can imagine that he is questioning why he bothered to come back already. As supporters, we can’t really judge him from now until the end of April, but this squad needs a massive overhaul. He tried to play two different formations and neither influenced the outcome, but that was more down to personnel than tactics. We lack characters out on the pitch and that results in us being pushovers.
Just being inside that stadium with thousands of empty seats and disgruntled City supporters is enough to make you question why you are there. We all love this football club and it truly is a depressing environment to be in at the moment. I will still be there at MK Dons on Saturday but I just want this season to end now – we deserve a break.
Ps – Fair play to the Southend supporters who made the 260-mile round trip. Good luck in your quest for promotion. I envy you.
Lee Burge – 4
Farrend Rawson – 3
Jordan Turnbull – 3
Nathan Clarke – 4
Dion Kelly-Evans – 5
Ryan Haynes – 4
Gael Bigirimana – 4
Ben Stevenson – 4
Callum Reilly – 3
Stuart Beavon – 4
Marcus Tudgay – 3
Kwame Thomas – 4
George Thomas – 4
Coventry City: Burge, Rawson, Turnbull (K. Thomas 45), Clarke (C), Di. Kelly-Evans, Haynes, Bigirimana (G. Thomas 62), Stevenson, Reilly, Beavon, Tudgay.
Unused Substitutes: Charles-Cook, Stokes, Gadzhev, Reid, Lameiras.
Southend United: Smith, White, Inniss, Ferdinand (C), Coker, Atkinson, Leonard, McLaughlin (Nouble 84), Wordsworth, Robinson (McGlashan 78), Ranger (Fortune 67).
Unused Substitutes: Bishop, O’ Neill, Mooney, Amos.
Attendance: 7,646 (449 away)