Scunthorpe United v Coventry City

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Football League Championship

Scunthorpe United0(0)Coventry City2(1)

McSheffrey 31, Murphy 73 (og)

Scunthorpe United :
Murphy, McNulty, Jones, Byrne, Nolan, O'Connor, J.Wright (Thompson 75), McDonald, Sears (Dagnall 66), Forte, N'Guessan.
Subs not used:
Slocombe, McClenahan, A.Wright, Togwell, Godden.

Coventry City :
Westwood, Keogh, McPake, Wood, Cameron, Carsley, Doyle, Gunnarsson (Clarke 90), King (Jutkiewicz 84), McSheffrey (Eastwood 90+1), Platt.
Subs not used:
Ireland, Cranie, Bell, Baker.


by Coventry Evening Telegraph at Glanford Park

THE record books will show that Coventry City wrapped up their 2-0 win at Glanford Park with an own-goal by Scunthorpe keeper Joe Murphy.

But as far as anyone in the Sky Blue camp is concerned, that 73rd-minute clincher belongs to Marlon King - his first in nine appearances since joining the club in September.

And Aidy Boothroyd is convinced that it will be the first of many for the striker who was mobbed by his delighted team-mates before he made a beeline to the touchline for a fatherly embrace with the manager.

King-s shot, which came after he exchanged passes with Aron Gunnarsson, smacked against the foot of the right-hand post and was clearly heading back into play when it ricocheted off the decked Murphy and over the line.

But Boothroyd insisted: "I think that's his goal - the lads were saying in the dressing room that it will be very difficult to take it off him.

"He had a tough game today because their centre-halves played very well against him and Clive Platt but in the end they managed to grind them down and Marlon got his goal.

"It can take one like that to put you on the road to getting a hatful. His touch is terrific, and he's been getting in some great positions without quite being able to get that finish, but hopefully the floodgates will open now.

"He will get better as time goes on, especially with the likes of Lukas Jutkiewicz, Freddy Eastwood and Roy O'Donovan keeping him at it because he knows that if he drops his standards they'll be in."

Whatever the technical disputes about the goal, it was, if nothing else, King's second assist of a game in which he produced his sharpest performance in a City shirt, and he was desperately unlucky not to score an uncontestable goal when Rob Jones cleared off the line on the stroke of half-time.

His first key contribution resulted in Gary McSheffrey warming the travelling crowd's spirits on a bitterly cold day in Lincolnshire, following arguably the best move of the match.

It started with Michael Doyle, the combative midfielder pushing the ball forward to Gunnarsson who fed Richard Keogh on the overlap.

The right-back picked out King in a pocket between two defenders in the box, and he steadied himself to hit a shot that was blocked by the keeper but rebounded to McSheffrey who raced in unattended from the left and managed to make the all-important connection to establish himself as City's top scorer this season.

"It wasn't the cleanest of strikes because it was quite a bobbly surface and it went in off the post so it was a bit scrappy but I will take that," said the lively McSheffrey, who now has five for the term and is only one away from his 50th for his home-town club.

"Marlon found himself in loads of space and was unlucky not to score himself, but it was a good save by the goalie and it just fell into my path."

McSheffrey celebrated by making himself an instant snowball and throwing it at King - the pitch having been cleared by the groundstaff and volunteer fans who had been hard at work from early in the morning to ensure the game went ahead.

And although it attracted a measly 4,397 - the smallest crowd to watch a City league match since just over 2,000 turned up at Selhurst Park against Wimbledon in 2002/03 - it was certainly worth braving the freezing temperatures for the travelling fans who saw their side complete back-to-back victories which lifted them - temporarily - to fifth in the table.

It was Scunthorpe's seventh home defeat of the season and in truth wasn't the best of games. But then the conditions weren't particularly conducive to terrific football and the Sky Blues set about their task in a purposeful manner, looking to get an early grip on the game.

And, aside from a third minute scare when they had Keiren Westwood's brilliant reflex save to deny Michael O'Connor from eight yards out, they pretty much succeeded.

They looked in control in the midfield where Gunnarsson and McSheffrey were far more of a threat than The Iron's wide men Danny N'Guessan - largely kept in check by Richard Wood who was again deployed at left-back - and Freddie Sears, who received close attention from Keogh, particularly effective in cutting out long diagonal passes in search of the forward who was eventually taken off on his 21st birthday.

And once Coventry got their noses in front they knew that, barring a disaster, victory was theirs against a United side who have failed to salvage a single point from any game in which they have fallen behind in this season.

Ian Baraclough's men did mount a second half fight-back for 15-20 minutes, forcing seven corners as the Sky Blue midfield suddenly stopped winning the second balls.

But City's back four - led by the superb James McPake alongside the cool-headed Nathan Cameron - held firm to log their second consecutive clean sheet and fourth win on the road this term.

The attention quickly turned to King who, having unofficially notched his first goal for City, was produced to face the media for the first time since joining the club.

And the relief was there for all to see - most importantly in his own mind - that he is finally up and running.