COVENTRY CITY 1-1 IPSWICH TOWN BY KEV MONKS
Date 01/01/11 At Ricoh Arena
Some controversial decisions saw Coventry City start 2011 with only a 1-1 home draw against Ipswich Town.
Whilst City manager Aidy Boothroyd admitted he has aspirations for his team after the defeat to Queens Park Rangers which again highlighted the fact that City are not currently able to compete with the better clubs in what is a poor division, some of the City support were demanding a change in tactics and in particular the dropping of the hoofball tactic, which is not helping to entice stay-away supporters back to the Ricoh Arena, in favour of playing to the players strengths.
Again with no creative midfielder in the starting eleven which saw starts for Freddy Eastwood and Lukas Jutkiewicz in place of the suspended Gary McSheffrey and the dropped Clive Platt, City's front two of King and Eastwood were forced to work for their share of the ball in a first which saw City attacking the Jewson Stand first on a cold, grey afternoon at the Ricoh Arena.
Many of the City support which included supporters from Sweden, Norway and Melbourne in Australia, were obviously still nursing hangovers from the New Year celebrations as those who had made it to the Ricoh Arena on a day when the buses in Coventry weren't running, were pretty quiet in the first half.
Not that there was a lot to sing about as the Sky Blues brand of hit and hope football continued against Roy Keane's side who included former Sky Blue loanee Marton Fulop in goal with former City short term keeper Azza Lee-Barrett on the bench.
Twice, the City goal came under pressure in the first ten minutes with first Nathan Cameron and then Richard Wood making good clearances.
When City did get forward with King, who had forced a 12th minute save from Fulop, driving in from the right, Freddy Eastwood looked the best bet of making something happen and in the 17th minute, he was not far wide with a left footed drive from the edge of the area.
Lukas Jutkiewicz, who was forced to wear a bandage around his head after being caught by a stray elbow, something else missed by the referee, put in plenty of effort on the left foot City but as the game went on, his effect on the match became less and less.
Rory Fallon sent a 20th minute header wide and eight minutes later, a stunning twenty yarder from Carlos Edwards hit the bar and came crashing down, nowhere near the goal-line before it was cleared.
Norris had two efforts before Eastwood hit a shot form the edge of the area that Fulop pushed round for a corner. Richard Wood headed over and when Wood fired high and wide from a Bell cross two minutes later, the Ipswich fans burst into a chorus of Rugby Union song "Sweet Chariot", which was apt as Ipswich were playing in all black.
Ipswich went up the other end and Westwood dived to his left to push away a cross that had come from the side nearest the left flank. The ball fell to the unmarked RORY FALLON who hit a 42nd minute shot into the CT Stand net and put Ipswich in front.
It had not been a good way to start the New Year but three minutes into the second half and with some City fans still getting back from their half-time refreshment, Coventry were level. Marlon King did well to play in FREDDY EASTWOOD, on the edge of the area from a long Westwood kick and the striker hit a powerful drive that flew into the net before celebrating with the City fans nearest the corner flag between the CT and Tesco Stand.
In the 58th minute, Marlon King went in on O'Dea. He got the ball but it looked two footed as well as clumsy and after seeing Aron Gunnarsson dismissed for the same thing, it was no surprise that King was eventually red carded after a brief melee which included Fallon, who received not even a talking to, blatantly shoving players in a bid to try and get even more players dismissed.
The City fans were fuming, letting Mr Booth know exactly what they thought of his appointment for this game and three minutes later, they were going mental when Jason Scotland went in two-footed on James McPake and only got a caution.
Back to the action and Jack Colback wasted a great opportunity to put his team back in front when he fired well when clean through.
Clive Platt was sent on and in the 73rd minute, the City fans were going mad once more when a goal was ruled out for offside. There was a free kick that got sent over to the far side. It was clear that Richard Wood was not offside when he got the ball and played it back for James McPake to slot into the net from eight yards.
It looked good to me, much of the City support, and the players who protested but the goal was ruled out and the match stayed level.
We had the sorry sight of an Ipswich fan being taken out of the visitors end on a stretcher ten minutes from time and in the 87th minute, there was more spleen being vented by the clearly frustrated and annoyed City support when Lukas Jutkiewicz got into the area and went down under pressure from Tommy Smith and another defender.
Eastwood left to a good ovation when he was replaced by Cranie and he missed City going wide through Doyle and Jutkiewicz, as they earned a point from a game where some better officiating may have seen them starting 2011 with the victory they just about deserved.