City Fail To Upset The Form Guide

Last updated : 23 October 2004 By Kev Monks
Like the City supporter who was told before the game by Chairman Mike McGinnity that he would be selling the club to Jojar Dhinsa in five weeks only to then admit he was joking, we ended up being very disappointed as many of the 800 plus disgruntled City fans filed out of the JJB Stadium chanting "Sack The Board" & "Reid Out" after a 4-1 defeat at Wigan Athletic.
As we made our way up the traffic heavy M6, hopes were high that City were could win their first game in eight matches against a side unbeaten in fourteen.
Things had started pretty well as a City side which only had one change with Louis Carey in for Andy Whing,forcing a corner after only 27 seconds which was followed by another.
Paul Jewell's team have got to the top of the league by playing physical football and in the fifth minute, Lee McCulloch fouled Doyle who got up to find Eddy Johnson with a free kick. Before Johnson had a chance to shoot,the ball was cleared off his toes and City had their third corner of the game.
The City fans were camped in the East Stand of an impressive JJB Stadium (a ground I'd rather the Coventry Arena was modelled on that the Crisp Bowl) and for some reason there was a strong police and steward presence.
One of the supporters in the away end had shown the devotion to travel to the game from Yorkshire by bike and was not best pleased when he discovered that the stewards had dismantled his means of transport and taken it into the ground, leaving a back wheel chained via a bike lock to the lamp post.
Back on the pitch, City reject John Filan saved from an Eddy Johnson right footed shot in the ninth minute and the ball was cleared upfield to produce a corner for the home side.
Four minutes later, our thoughts turned to one of "Here,we go another stuffing coming up" when a free kick was awarded to Wigan. The ball was played back by the hard working Jimmy Bullard and fell for Alan Mahon to lash a low right footed drive past the unsighted Luke Steele from twenty yards.
Mahon next saw his name in the referee Mr Cable's (well that was the name according to the programme) book rather than on the stadium scoreboard on the wall behind us for a reckless challenge on Andy Morrell.
In a spell of what was some of the best football City have produced under Peter Reid, the Sky Blues took the game to Wigan with Stern John rising to nod over from a Steve Staunton cross.
Andy Morrell was trying to do his bit in midfield despite not being a natural midfielder and a lovely 22nd minute ball from the former Wrexham player found Rohan Ricketts on the left. The Spurs loanee ghosted past two players but ran into a third and lost possession.
With Stern John slip sliding away,another Doyle free kick saw Filan forced to punch the ball away for a throw under pressure from John and Johnson.
When the next free kick arrived in the 29th minute, it proved to be the vital cog in getting the Sky Blues level. Rohan Ricketts had kept his footing and got down the left flank to the edge of the area. He was shoved off the ball by Matt Jackson and a free kick awarded. Michael Doyle took the kick and this time waiting on the end of it was Eddy Johnson who powered a header firmly into the back of the net.
It was no more than City deserved and with Nathan Ellington and Jason Roberts who was abused by City supporters at every opportunity (well he was trying to seek an unfair advantage at every chance he got and did play for West Brom) threatening, City's defence remained steadfast only conceding two corners for the remainder of the half.
Coventry managed one corner in that time and some good work in the 42nd minute by Johnson to set up Ricketts who swept the ball over the bar from sixteen yards.
What was said or put in the tea at half-time,I don't know but it was the home side who emerged the livelier.
Andy Morrell won a 47th minute corner which Filan caught. Wigan won one two minutes later and in the 52nd minute had restored their lead when a Nathan Ellington shot which looked like handball was not dealt with and David Graham netted from four yards for his first goal for the Latics since his move from Torquay United.
The City supporters began to call for Gary McSheffrey who was on the bench with Patrick Suffo, Bjarni Gudjonsson, Eric Deloumeaux and Scott Shearer and although there was some brief excitement as Eddy Johnson forced two corners, Wigan went further ahead in the 61st minute.
A Mahon shot from a Bullard free kick had been pushover over the bar by Luke Steele. Bullard took the corner and floated the ball over for Nathan Ellington to beat Steele with a close range header.
With the home side getting more than their fair share of decisions (any referee who is swayed by a crowd of only 9,600 needs to consider if he is up to the job) and chants of "Reid Out" growing louder, Rohan Ricketts was replaced by Bjarni Gudjonsson in the 72nd minute.
The confidence lacking Icelander did show the City support what he is capable of which a superb through ball which Eddy Johnson headed over.
The home side were always dangerous and always looking for another goal,something not seen in a City team for a long while and in the 78th minute,a long kick from John Filan was met by Jason Roberts who ran into the penalty area on the left side. Steve Staunton came across and Roberts crashed to the ground. It didn't look that bad a challenge but Mr Cable, thought it was a straight red and with some City supporters shouting "Off". the referee dismissed the unpopular Irishman for what later turned out to be foul and abusive language.
Jason Roberts took the resulting penalty kick and blasted it wide and high into a stand of home supporters.
Down to ten men,City looked as frail as their Chairman but Reid opted to go for broke for the last five minutes replacing Andy Morrell who had taken his fair share of knocks and bangs with Gary McSheffrey. This was a double substitution and the fourth official - a Mr Hutchinson raised the board with Rohan Ricketts' number 28 on it.
When he finally worked out that Ricketts had already left the field of play,on came Patrick Suffo to Stern John drawing a massive cheer from the City fans.
Things were getting heated amongst the Coventry support who took time off from abusing Roberts to start arguing with each other.
Time was ticking on and in the second minute of the three added by Mr Cable,Wigan won two corners. The second was sent over by Leighton Baines and substitute Mike Flynn headed in at the far post.
What was at times in the first half very promising had transpired into City's second 4-1 defeat in three away matches and it is not good enough.
ATT 9,632
GOALS Alan Mahon (14)
Eddy Johnson (30)
David Graham (52)
Nathan Ellington (61)
Mike Flynn (92)
Booked Mahon
Sent Off Staunton
Man Of The Match - Eddy Johnson
Mare Of the Match - John,Ricketts,the referee,Peter Reid take your pick
Steele,Carey,Staunton (Sent off 79),Shaw, Leacock,Hughes,Doyle,Ricketts (Gudjonsson 72),Morrell (McSheffrey 85),John (Suffo 85), Johnson SNU Shearer,Deloumeaux