Coventry v Scunthorpe United

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Football League Championship

Coventry1 (0)Scunthorpe United1 (0)

Doyle 51(p)

Cork 68

Coventry :
Konstantopoulos, McNamee, Ward, Turner, Hall, Tabb (Cairo 71), Stephen Hughes (Michael Hughes 79), Doyle, Gray, Adebola, McKenzie (Andrews 75)
Subs not used:
Osbourne, Borrowdale

Scunthorpe United :
Murphy (sent off 49), Youga (sent off 84), Butler, Crosby, Williams, Logan (Taylor 46), Goodwin, Cork, Hurst (Lillis 49), Hayes, Forte
Subs not used:
Baraclough, Ameobi


by Andy Skeels at Ricoh Arena

“When Killer, went up, to lift the FA Cup, we were there, we were there.”

And I was one of them.

I suppose I should declare my allegiance early in this match report for those SULSESC members who don’t know. Coventry City are my ‘second’ team. They have been since I started at Thomas Sumpter in the mid-seventies when all the kids picked a First Division team to follow because the Iron were so bad. Most supported Liverpool, Manchester United or Leeds, apart from me and my mates Oggy and Tim who decided we wanted to be different. Oggy chose Ipswich, Tim went for West Ham and I plumped for Coventry. I have no idea why.

I can remember my Dad taking me to Elland Road in 1978 to see the mighty Sky Blues for the first time (a shocking 0-0 if I recall correctly). But that was it, until I moved to London and in the mid- eighties happened to bump into a guy who turned out to be the Coventry London branch travel secretary in a pub one night while I was wearing my City scarf.

He persuaded me to join their London branch (this was pre-SULSESC days) and I’ve been a member ever since. And before SULSESC took off in 1987, I probably took in as many Coventry matches per season as Scunthorpe.

The highlight, of course, being that unforgettable day at Wembley against Spurs when Brian Kilcline lifted the FA Cup (although the semi-final against Leeds at Hillsborough was just as good!).

Even after the advent of SULSESC, I always used to try and make at least one Coventry home match a season although that record has waned somewhat in the last 10 years or so.

In all of the last 30-plus years, the prospect of a Scunthorpe v Coventry match-up has been confined to the third round FA Cup draw.

Until this season, of course. City’s tumble from the Premiership to the relative obscurity of the Championship, coupled with United’s meteoric rise through the divisions, brought the two clubs together for a league match for the first time ever (I just wish it could have been at Highfield Road!).

In the eighties, my loyalties might have been divided but not so tonight. It did seem a little strange, however, being at a Coventry match and supporting ‘the opposition’ for the first time in my life.

A decent turn-out in the away end, both from Scunthorpe generally and SULSESC in particular, couldn’t disguise a dismal attendance of only just over 14,000, City’s lowest ever league gate at the new Ricoh Arena which was less than half full.

With United on the crest of a slump, and City woefully inconsistent, a draw was always a likely outcome, and so it proved. Nigel Adkins would have been far happier with a point than Ian Dowie however.

In truth, Coventry could, and should, have had the game sewn up by half-time. United were hanging on from the first whistle but only remained on level terms at the break thanks to some dreadful finishing from the home forwards and a linesman who persuaded referee Jones that Youga’s foul on Tabb was outside the box after the match official had initially pointed to the penalty spot.

It proved only a temporary reprieve for the Iron as four minutes after the restart, Tabb was brought down by Murphy for a clear penalty. To rub salt into United’s wound, Jones showed a red card to Murphy, which meant Lillis’ first touch was to pick the ball out of the back of the net after Doyle’s successful conversion from the spot.

It looked all over for United, a goal down, a man down, and having offered very little as an attacking force for the first 50 minutes.

Oddly, however, the visitors looked much improved thereafter.

After Jim Goodwin’s free-kick from 25 yards out had rattled the Coventry crossbar, Jack Cork equalised from close range after connecting with Marcus Williams’ cross.

The frustrated Sky Blues threw on all three substitutes in a desperate attempt to find a winner, and their cause was helped when Youga picked up two yellow cards within a minute, leaving United to play out the closing stages with only nine men.

It led to an exciting finish, Coventry throwing everything forward in search of the decisive goal but United hanging on grimly for a point they just about deserved.

From a personal point of view, it was perhaps an appropriate result…