Fans attending yesterday's match could have been excused for expecting a draw before a ball was even kicked. Both Barnsley and Coventry prior to the game had become the draw specialists in the division, with the Reds drawing 5 of the last 6 and Coventry drawing 4 of their last 6 games.

Despite beating high flying Derby 2-0 at home recently, the sky blues have struggled to find form this season, with only 1 win all campaign, as well as only a point on the road thus far. The Reds however came into the game again searching for their first home win, although arguably the Reds have deserved much more at home, if only had they been able to cut out slight defensive errors.

The Reds again made just the one change due to injury, with Nathan Doyle coming in for the injured David Perkins, who has achieved somewhat of a following in his short stay at Oakwell. Miles Addison and Cameron Park made returns to the bench, with Addison ineligible to face his parent club on Tuesday, and Cameron Park having his loan deal from Middlesbrough renewed. Debutant Paul Digby and his academy teammate Jordan Clark dropped out of the squad as a result.

The game began in a rather end to end fashion, with Coventry aiming to get the ball forward quickly and earn early free-kicks and corners. The set-pieces carried little threat however, and the Reds were able to regain possession in the aftermaths and get into their passing game, with Vaz Te being found just after the quarter hour, only to be called offside. It was evident Coventry were out to frustrate the Reds on the unusually hot autumn afternoon, continually conceding fouls, and trying to limit the Reds to long range efforts - Jacob Butterfield perhaps going closest around the half hour mark.

The Reds have struggled with injuries this season, and this game was to throw up yet another casualty to the Reds' depleted squad, with club captain Bobby Hassell coming out for Scott Wiseman, the cause of the injury unapparent. Wiseman was straight into the action with a run down the right, finding Ricardo Vaz Te who was again adjudged offside. Coventry's first shot came from the resultant freekick, with Chris Hussey hoofing the free-kick to Lukas Jutkiewicz who got a shot away, although it was an easy save for the Reds' shot stopper Luke Steele.

The Reds gained their first penalty of the season in the 40th minute when Jim O'Brien completed an impressive run down the right flank, which tricked left back Chris Hussey to the floor, who then handballed in the area, resulting in the referee pointing to the spot. Coventry protested furiously and only succeeded in firing up the home crowd against them when 'keeper Joe Murphy continued to move the ball from the spot as City captain Sammy Clingan continued to plead his team's case to the officials. Andy Gray was on penalty duty, and coolly dispatched a landmark goal, getting 100 for his career in the league.

Sky Blues manager Andy Thorn made 2 changes at half time, with Cyrus Christie replacing penalty giver Chris Hussey, and Clive Platt replacing Roy O'Donovan, aiming to give Coventry more options in attack. It was the Reds though who were to have the first attacks, with Jacob Butterfield testing Joe Murphy in the net, and Vaz Te being brought down by Richard Keogh on the Reds' left hand side, Jay McEvely taking the resultant free-kick.

3 minutes after the break Coventry made their final change to the surprise of many, with winger David Bell replacing the more defensive minded Martin Cranie. It was again to make no difference for the opposition however, as Danny Drinkwater drew a great save from Joe Murphy with a thunderous strike at goal from a freekick, with Andy Gray nodding just wide of goal from the resultant corner.

The Reds continued to test the shaky Coventry defense, and Ricardo Vaz Te had another shot saved in the 53rd minute. The Reds could have been accused of not being clinical when on top this season, however these accusations could not be made in this game, with Andy Gray capping off an exquisite sequence of passing from the Reds, stemming from a pass from Nathan Doyle to wideman Jim O'Brien, who skinned his man and made the perfect cross to give Andy Gray 101 for the career.

The Reds remained on top for another 15 minutes, with Coventry's only answer appearing to be to foul a red shirt, or to send long balls to Lukas Jutkiewicz and Clive Platt in attack. From the 75th minute onwards however, Coventry were perhaps able to get back into the match a little, with their biggest opportunity coming from a corner which drew an excellent save from Luke Steele between the sticks.

The match fizzled out in the end, with the Reds having the last bits of possession, taking their overall stat for the game to an impressive 61% possession, earning the Reds what in the end was their first home win, and a rather easy one at that.

Man of the match - Andy Gray. It feels only right to give it to the striker this week, as the Reds' targetman has continued to impress this season, earning little praise for his continued hard work, in a season that has most definitely been his best in the red shirt. Gray dispatched 2 smart finishes yesterday, hitting well deserved career landmarks in the process - well done Andy!

Teams and ratings:

Steele - 8, Hassell - 6, Foster - 7, McNulty -7, McEvely - 7, Doyle - 7, Drinkwater - 8, Vaz Te - 7, O'Brien - 8, Butterfield (c) - 7, Gray - 8

Subs: Wiseman for Hassell - 7, Park for Vaz Te - N/A

Murphy - 8, Keogh - 5, Cranie - 6, Cameron - 5, Hussey - 5, Clingan -6, Deegan - 5, Thomas - 4, Jutkiewicz - 6, O'Donovan - 6, McSheffrey - 6

Subs: Christie for Hussey - 5, Platt for O'Donovan - 6, Bell for Cranie - 6

Share To:


Post A Comment:

0 comments so far,add yours