After victory away at Bury it didn’t seem like the departure of Mark Robins had any effect on the team, but sadly over the past week it has become apparent that it has.
The JPT was a nice distraction and fair play to the players who gave it their all but ultimately they came up short despite the 2-0 victory at Crewe. It was always going to take a bit of a miracle for Coventry to overturn the deficit from the first leg but players and fans alike went into the game full of belief. Crewe however had their own ideas and frustrated city throughout the game who again squandered their chances in front of goal.
All hope had gone come the 90th minute as the score remained at 0-0 but then out of the blue an own goal and something to cheer for the travelling support. Then a 2nd again from nowhere and another crazy two stoppage time minutes had seen us score 2 goals for the second time in the competition. Two minutes remained and one more goal would have taken the tie to penalties. City fans couldn’t believe it well the ones that had stuck around long enough to witness it.
Two minutes remained and the blood was pumping but the city players couldn’t find that all important 3rd goal as Crewe came out victorious in the tie and booked their place in a Wembley final. It was undoubtedly a chance missed by City but it was a great cup run and a great compliment to a league form.
The league is what counts and a chance for revenge against Crewe came only days later. A win and the playoffs would be in sight but something didn’t feel quite right from the moment the team sheets were released. No Richard Wood for City meant it was a defence which had not only not played together but had two centre halves with a bit of a reputation of causing concern for the city fans. Crewe’s team sheet told its own story with three central defenders in a team very much set up to soak up pressure and hit us on the counter.
We did however start the game very brightly with McSheffery getting a good couple of crosses into the box. We continued to press and a fantastic long pass from Cyrus Christie allowed Clarke to chest the ball down and power the ball past the Crewe keeper. Things seemed to be going well but then Crewe won a corner and city’s lead lasted just a couple of minutes as poor defending allowed for a simple goal after murphy had brilliantly denied the shot leading to the corner.
From then on City heads seemed to drop and chances began to dry up. City continued to try but the longer it went on the more everyone could see it wasn’t going to be our day again. Crewe then did what they have done so well against us and hit us on the counter. This resulted in their second goal which turned out to be the winning one.
City had their chances though but were wasteful again as well as Philips in the Crewe goal having another fantastic game. If he continues in that vein of form then with his shot stopping abilities I can’t see him remaining a Crewe player for much longer.
Whilst the result hurt the manner of it hurt more. Players who had performed all season had their worst games for the club. Bailey and Baker both consistently gave the ball away and instead of being the usual inspiration to the team they were a problem that we didn’t know how to fix.
The other biggest issue was that of Le Carsley’s performance as Caretaker. It brought back the memories of Andy Thorn, a man in charge who wasn’t completely sure of what he was doing. Both tactics and motivation were clear underlying issues in this loss.
We didn’t react to Crewe’s tactics and allowed ourselves to be over run in the midfield for the whole of the 90 minutes. Substitution wise he seemed reluctant to change it even though everyone in the ground could see we needed something different. He finally bought Moussa on and very briefly changed the shape of the team but then changed it again as Jennings arguably one of the best performers on the day was replaced.
This again was emphasised by how late he had left it to make the changes and especially the change to bring Callum Wilson who had been very lively against Crewe only days before. It seemed like he was waiting for something to force his hand in making the substitutions and didn’t want to make them off his own back. It was Andy Thorn style all over in terms of management and the manner of the loss.
This is a worry and a worry that could lead to our season being over. We wasted a large part of our season n Thorn and Shaw and have been playing catch up ever since. Robins with this squad of players has brought us into contention and raised the hopes of us City fans.
I worry we are now going to be left disappointed. Out of the cup and slipping in the league could lead to a very unsuccessful season. New manager is needed now but an appointment looks unlikely till at least Friday. This is a problem with city playing two of the teams currently above us in the shape of Bournemouth and Swindon.
Play and defend like we did against Crewe and we will be looking back at three straight defeats and our playoff hopes in tatters. It’s a big week and I think ultimately the guys behind the scenes may have cost us it. First off with the Thorn and Shaw situation and now with the Carsley one. If there was ever a time to rush through a managerial appointment it was now whilst promotion is still a possibility