The season is now well under way and Coventry City have made an extremely positive start. Three games played and the Skyblues remain unbeaten with a win and two draws.
Coventry’s first game against Dagenham and Redbridge ended with the skyblues narrowly winning by one goal to nil with a last minute penalty after what was a less than convincing performance. There was a real lack of quality in the game and despite the victory many fans left a little disappointed with what they had seen.
I personally saw that game as a bit of an extra game added onto the pre season campaign and this isn’t an excuse for what was clearly a poor performance but for me there were genuine reasons behind it.
First off it was the first game of a new season which can sometimes be bereft of quality with players still feeling there way into the new season. Second of all it was a League Cup match which in the context of the whole season is one of if not the least important matches within a season. Finally we were missing key players within the squad in the form of Fleck and Barton who are arguably the two most exciting and creative signings that we made over the summer transfer market.
Something we should be happy about is the fact we managed to win a game when we clearly didn’t play very well. This is a trait that we need to keep throughout the season as it is a trait of champions, every team has bad days but it’s only the best who are still able to come away as winners.
Coventry’s second game was when the real business part of the season got under way. Coventry began their League One campaign away at Yeovil and after what was a hard fought match we managed to come away with a point. A point was probably a fair result despite City having a number of chances to win the game including a stoppage time chance for Cody McDonald which he unfortunately blazed over the bar.
Again many City fans went to Yeovil expecting a win and were left a little disappointed when we had to settle for a point. We shouldn’t be disappointed though, Yeovil are not a bad team and playing away from home is always difficult. We also have to bear in mind our recent away record which has been poor for a number of seasons now especially last season. Based on that we should be happy with a point and the basis for a successful season is always said to be to draw your away games and win at home so a draw is a positive result.
To ensure that the draw against Yeovil was a positive result we needed a victory in our first home game of the season against Sheffield United. This was always going to be a tough task against one of the favourites for promotion and unfortunately we could only manage a 1-1 draw.
The first half against the Blades was pretty poor by anyone’s standard but at least we fought hard which was epitomised by goal line clearances from Richard Wood. A response was needed in the second half and a response was what we got. A much improved second half saw us take the lead through Stephen Elliot along with Kevin Malaga being denied his first skyblue goal as the linesman adjudged his header not to have crossed the line. A quick breakaway goal from Sheffield United stunned the skyblues and in the end a 1-1 draw was probably a fair result.
There have been both positives and negatives in these first three matches including promising individual performances as well as a disappointing injury to one of our key players.
One player who has stood out for me has been Cody McDonald who has been a real handful for defenders with his lively attacking play and high work rate. He was always predicted to be Coventry’s main goal threat and that has proved to be true with one goal already to his name as well as having numerous other chances to have increased that tally.
An injury to Fleck is probably the most disappointing thing about the start of the season. A recurrence of the hamstring injury which kept him out of much of pre season means he will now miss the next three weeks of Coventry’s campaign. His creative abilities along with his positive goal getting attitude are going to be sorely missed.
He is the type of player that the squad has been screaming out for a few years now and in his brief debut appearance he had a real impact on the game creating multiple chances and delivering the free kick which led to McDonald’s first goal of the season.
A win and two draws in the circumstances which we have got them has to be seen as a positive start to the new season. A win in the first round of the Capital One Cup is not massively important but any win is always good no matter which competition it is in. Playing away from home on the opening day of the new league season was always going to be tough so to come away with a draw was a great result. Then to welcome the favourites for promotion to the Ricoh for the first home game where the pressure is on and to get another draw, in my opinion is a good start to the season.
Give these players more time to gel as a team and I think we will be a force to be reckoned with in League One. We have shown that we will not roll over and be beaten in these opening games and combine that fighting spirit with team chemistry which will come in the coming weeks and we as Coventry fans may have something to smile about come the end of the season.