City Out Of League Cup

MIDDLESBROUGH 3-0 COVENTRY CITY BY KEV MONKS

Not surprisingly, the class between half a Premiership team and Coventry City told as City were beaten 3-0 at Middlesbrough.

Like lambs to the slaughter,we headed off up to North Yorkshire as was, for City's first away game at a Premiership ground since that fateful day at Villa Park in May 2001.

We opted to set off early and after a very decent meal in a Japanese sushi bar,we made our way through the labryinth of subways from Middlesbrough town centre to the Riverside
Stadium on the banks of the River Tees.

Before the game,the seeds of discontent felt my many supporters was again aired, when current City Chairman Mike McGinnity reacted angrily to taunts of "Sack The Board and "Dhinsa" by storming over and shouting "I Don't Appreciate That",to be told "So What" by an irate supporter with Joe Elliott, coming over and attempting to calm down the situation.

Peter Reid who missed out with a bid to sign Luton striker Steve Howard, (probably due to Graham Hover demanding an extortionate price for Gary McSheffrey), "rested" Stern John whose form and lack of goals has seen the Trinidadian fall victim to the boo boys.

Also missing from the team beaten at Wigan were Steve Staunton whose dismissal in that game was not over turned by the FA. Rohan Ricketts had played for Spurs in the last round,so the midfielder also missed out.

In came Stuart Giddings,Bjarni Gudjonsson and Eric Deloumeaux to face Steve McLaren's half strength side which did not include George Boateng.

In an atmosphere akin to a pre-season friendly,rather than a League Cup tie which this was, the 350+ City supporters including one who was nearly killed in a motorway accident, had their heads in their hands when Middlesbrough took the lead.

Just over three minutes were on the watch of referee Uriah Rennie,when Gudjonsson lost the ball,Stewart Downing got down the left and crossed. Luke Steele fumbled, Dean Leacock tried to clear and Szilard Nemeth banged the ball into the net.

Playing with only Johnson up front, the loanee from Manchester United nodded wide from a sixth minute cross by the industrious Stuart Giddings.

Boro were playing a good passing game whilst we were more bothered about a smoke bomb which had been let off in the away end.

The home side won two more corners as the presence of the gestapoesque stewards and police increased.

In the 24th minute,Boro increased their advantage and a Downing cross was completely missed by Steele allowing James Morrison to head in at the far post.

City were finding it hard to find any fluency but after a 28th minute long ranger from Eric Deloumeaux effort and six minutes later,Eddy Johnson won a corner which Morrell headed over from a Hughes cross.

With five minutes of the half left,Andy Morrell won a corner and Louis Carey rose to head over.

Another followed three minutes later when Villa reject Ugo Ehiogu hacked away. Doyle took the kick but a poor effort was easily caught by Boro keeper Carlo Nash.

This was as good as it got for the City supporters who kept singing as the game went into the second half in an air of "Stuff The Board, Support the team on the pitch."

Boro brought Danny Graham on at rhe interval and in the 57th minute, Peter Reid, who was booed by some younger Boro fans as he made his way into the ground for his time at local rivals Sunderland, made a change replacing the ineffective Gudjonsson with Patrick Suffo.

And then it came - the biggest cheer of the night when Doyle crossed and Johnson rifled a shot at Nash on the hour mark.

Boosted by this,a foul on Suffo gave the Sky Blues a free kick some twenty yards out. Suffo stepped up and rifled an effort which Nash dived to his left to save.

With Tony Mahon on, the competition holders went further ahead in the 70th minute when a through ball fell for Danny Graham. The City defence appealed for offside as the youngster curled the ball past Steele. Complaints were made to the referee who was having none of it.

As the few Boro fans in a poor crowd of 11,833 celebrated,Gary McSheffrey replaced Eddy Johnson.

McSheffrey went close with a 25 yarder which was not that far away before some of the support who had spent a lot of money,time and effort to watch another second rate performance started to demand a change of Board or one who can fund the neccessary players who can get us out of this mess.

Louis Carey needed treatment in the only stoppage of the game but when the defender got to his feet, still suffering the effects,it was his defensive partner in Richard Shaw who was replaced by Andy Whing.

Chants of "Stand Up If You Love City" aimed at the stewards and the Sky Blue Song rang out as Boro played out time to record an easy victory .

Plusses from this game are hard to find and unless,funds are found for new players then it is likely to continue for a very long time.
HT MFC 2-0 CCFC FT MFC 3-0 CCFC
ATT 11,833
GOALS - Szilard Memeth (4),
James Morrison (24)
Danny Graham (70)
Booked None
Man Of The Match - Stuart Giddings followed by Eddy Johnson
Mare Of The Match - Luke Steele for his costly howlers
TEAM
Steele,Carey,Giddings,Shaw (Whing 80), Leacock,Doyle,Gudjonsson (Suffo 58), Hughes,Deloumeaux,Morrell,Johnson (McSheffrey 70) SNU Shearer,Pead