All entries for Saturday 30 September 2006

September 30, 2006

Coventry 0 Plymouth 1

The Sky Blues lost their unbeaten home record at the hands of a tough and well organised Plymouth side. Mickey Adams’s side never really recovered from a slow start and were punished when debutant Cherno Samba headed home eight minutes from time.

Coventry made three enforced changes from the defeat at Crystal Palace last weekend with Cameron and John coming in for the injured Doyle and McKenzie, and Whing replacing the suspended McNamee.

Surprisingly Adams decided to stick with Burchill and Tabb on the flanks so that yet again the side had a rather narrow look. Unfortunately Plymouth wide men Buzsaky and Norris also spent much of the game tucking in on either side making the play very compact.

The Sky Blues made most of the running early on, however it was Plymouth who had the best of the chances with both Reid and Norris going close on the break.

Throughout the first half Coventry huffed and puffed, but got little change out of the Plymouth defense. Stern John brought probably the best save of the first 45 from Pilgrims ‘keeper Luke McCormick with a powerful shot launched from the edge of the area.

At half time it was apparent that Coventry would have to play much better in the second half if they were to break Plymouth down. Ian Holloway’s team looked very content to be holding their hosts at 0-0 and had in fact been wasting time since about the first ten minutes of the game.

The second half began with neither manager seeing fit to make changes, and whilst Coventry had more of the play they had few chances to show for it.

On 65 minutes Dele Adebola replaced the ineffectual Birchall who had struggle throughout the game on the right. This resulted in a reshuffle across the middle which saw Cameron switch the right, Tabb come inside and Adebola take up a position on the left wing.

Unfortunately the change did not have the desired effect and the Sky Blues began to lose the midfield battle with the impressive Norris and less impressive Buzasky both going close for the visitors.

On 73 Hutchison replaced Tabb and the Sky Blues changed to a 4-3-3 formation with John and Adebola either side of Kyle. A minute later Cherno Samba replaced Reid up front for Plymouth and with what was only his second or third touch put his side ahead.

The goal came from a Plymouth break down the left. The ball was crossed in from the wing and Samba rose to head home a debut winner whilst pretty much unmarked in the box. Mickey Adams wil be unimpressed that his side conceeded what was a relatively soft goal, however Coventry really should have done more to kill off the game by this point.

The last ten minutes were pretty comfortable for Plymouth with the Sky Blues failing to put on any real pressure. Perhaps the most interesting moment was a ruck that developed after Tony Capaldi was dragged from the pitch by a Coventry player after going down injured.

As would be expected boos rang around the Ricoh Arena as the final whistle blew on what was a very disappionting game for Mickey Adams men. Plymouth were organised and combative, but Coventry clearly were the more talented side. Given the Sky Blues patchy away form they cannot afford too many more home games like this, however hopefully today was just a blip that will soon be forgotten.

Coventry: Marshall, Whing, Page, Ward, Hall, Birchall (Adebola 65), Cameron, Hughes, Tabb (Hutchison 73), Kyle, John.
Subs Not Used: Doyle, Heath, Thornton

Plymouth: McCormick, Connolly, Seip, Doumbe, Capaldi, Norris, Wotton, Nalis, Buzsaky (Aljofree 78), Chadwick (Summerfield 85), Reid (Samba 74)

Subs Not Used: Larrieu, Sawyer

Goals: Samba 82

Att: 19,545

Ref: M Halsey (Lancashire)

Logical Thinking From McLaren

With the inclusion of Scott Parker in the lastest England squad for the upcoming games against Macedonia and Croatia it seems that Steve McLaren is going to stick with the formation and tactics that have served him so well thus far in his reign as national coach.

And I for one can’t blame him. I was worried that with the injury to Owen Hargreaves, McLaren would be tempted to meddle with his winning formula, however he appears to have kept his head and gone for a like for like swap in Parker.

Okay, so McLaren’s England have not yet faced a particularly tought test, but the side has had such a fluency to it that I for one would have been disppointed to see Steven Gerrard, for example, come back inside. And anyway, Parker is a very good player – arguably as good as any other McLaren could put in and it is definitely time for him to show what he can do in the national shirt. With any luck he’ll have just as great an impact as the curly Canadian one.

September 2006

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