Coventry Continue To Tease As The Play-Offs Remain In Reach
It’s been a hectic few weeks for the club and defeat to Swindon a couple of weeks ago seemed to have left the club with all but no chance of reaching the playoffs. Two matches later and City are sitting just six points off of the playoffs although it could and should have been four points.
A weekend victory away at Scunthorpe made Coventry City history with 11 away wins this season and five away win on the bounce. It was by no means a classic with weather conditions being a contributing factor.
However in Pressley’s first game in charge the players fought hard and had to ride their luck at times. The script was almost written though that it would be Leon Clarke who would get the winning goal. His header against the club he spent the first half of the season with gave us city fans a glimmer of hope again. This glimmer of hope was also down to other results being kind to us with teams above dropping points.
With Pressley’s first game out of the way attention turned to addressing our pretty appalling home form. This had to begin against Colchester which if we had any hopes of making the playoffs surely had to win.
A bitterly cold Tuesday night started promisingly with first Martin having a real chance and then McDonald striking the post. Colchester were barely in the game and we looked in complete control. Then the inevitable happened again with some calamity defending allowing Colchester to take a completely undeserved lead into half time.
It was a long way off what we as city fans have seen the team do at times this season but despite being poor we were still dominating the game. The second half began in a similar manner but chances began to dry up until Colchester out of no way were given a second goal on a plate after some more poor defending.
This led to Pressley making changes but I know I for one had been calling for Pressley to make changes ten minutes before this as it was clear we lacked any real ideas on how to break Colchester down. It was reminiscent of Andy Thorn’s time in charge in relation to reacting when something happens and not anticipating it beforehand.
As it happens the substitutions kicked the team into life as Wilson and fleck gave us something different. Young Wilson made the biggest impact of all as the Coventry lad got stuck in from the off. The ball dropped to him on the edge of the penalty area and after a few step overs to beat his man unleashed a fizzing shot across the goalkeeper into the bottom corner. It was a great goal by anyone’s standards and to see a young lad like Wilson have the confidence and ability to do it was great to see.
This fired up the team and the fans and it now seemed a case of when would we not if we would score the second goal to level it. It was another never say die performance and a free kick in stoppage time bought what could be an unbelievably important goal in our season. Baker levelled the score to take his tally to 14 for the season and secure City a vital point.
We all said we needed to win to ensure we remained in the running but other results have meant that we are just six points adrift of the playoffs. It was a game that we should have won and a win would have seen us just four points adrift and people really would be believing. But that point means we are still only two wins off of the playoff places, two games where we have to win and the teams above have to lose which is definitely a possibility.
Looking at it that way and the point becomes even more vital. It is the difference between being two wins behind and being three wins which really would need a miracle to overturn. Two remains a possibility but just that a possibility. We keep getting given lifelines to keep our season alive and there isn’t much time left now to be given anymore. We now have to grab this opportunity with both hands and really go for it in the remaining nine games.
There are 27 points still up for grabs and I personally feel we are going to need at the very minimum 20 of those 27. That would mean we would finish the season on a total of 77 points. Last season 73 points was enough to take the last playoff place, 71 the year before and 80 before that. I do feel that 6th place will finish with somewhere between 76 and 80 points so whatever happens it is going to come down to the wire.
Some big performances are needed between now and the end of the season and our home form has to improve. The news of Leon Clarke being a possible long term injury absentee is a huge blow but in a youngster we may have found a hidden gem and a replacement.
Callum Wilson looks to have a lot about him and is clearly brimming with confidence right now. Whilst it may be a massive gamble to start him in the coming games I feel it’s a gamble worth taking. He changed the game against Colchester and brings something to the team that no one else in the squad brings. He is a Coventry lad and he could be the hidden gem which has been needed to unlock success.
Let’s just hope that we don’t do what we always do and fall at the first sign of a chance for success. We keep getting ourselves in touching distance and then fall short. This may be our last chance and for the chance to live on we can have nothing less than a victory on Saturday when we welcome 22nd placed Hartlepool United to the Ricoh Arena.