Early Goals Cost City

Last updated : 31 January 2009 By Kev Monks at Pride Park

Westwood, Wright, Hall, Ward, Fox, Henderson, Beuzelin, Doyle (Sawyer 85), Bell, Morrison, Eastwood (McKenzie 46) SNU Thornton,Marshall,Wynter

Bywater, Connolly, Albrechsten, Addison (McEveley 46), Stewart, Barazite (Sterjovski 61), Savage, Green, Teale, Hulse, Commons SNU Villa, Varney, Carroll

Att 29,710 Goals Rob Hulse (14), Kris Commons (16), Michael Doyle (51)
Ref M.Jones Booked Savage
Man Of The Match Jordan Henderson was the best of a bad bunch.
Chris Coleman brought back Stephen Wright and was forced to make a change just before kick off when Ben Turner pulled up. Marcus Hall took over at centre half. Jordan Henderson and David Bell were put on either flank for their debuts. Leon McKenzie was dropped to the bench whilst Michael Doyle came in for Aron Gunnarsson.

Michael Mifsud,who allegedly asked Barnsley for £20k a week was dropped after being told to basically move on by the City boss.
This was an excellent turn out by the City support which was officially recorded as 2100 supporters. Visitors from Northern Ireland joined the City support, who took over the local pubs before the game.

Stephen Wright had not started in a Coventry City losing team since he moved to the club but that changed with a 2-1 defeat at Derby County.

City arrived at Pride Park to face Nigel Clough's side and started with new boy David Bell, whom Coleman & Ranson had unsettled enough to leave Norwich on the left, not his preferred position and Jordan Henderson, who had been brought in, in case the Bell deal fell through, on the right.

The Sky Blue Army were out in force at a packed Pride Park on a bittlerly cold afternoon but were soon trying to fathom what was going on in the City defence as Derby came at the Sky Blues with the force of a Japanese Bullet Train.

Keiren Westwood, whose applause of the City fans on the final whistle drew concerns that he could be leaving from some City supporters as they made their way out of the ground, had to dive to his right in the third minute to deal with a Commons free kick which was met by the head of Rob Hulse and bounced down. The former Crewe youngster then headed the resulting corner not far wide and then fired into the side netting.

Bell, looking less portly than when he played against City earlier in the season, did not get into the game a great deal but in the 7th minute was played in by Eastwood for a right footed shot which former Sky Blue Stephen Bywater easily dealt with.

After Robbie Savage, who was a nuisance all afternoon, not doing anything creative but just breaking up plays with petty fouls, was booked for a foul on Beuzlin, Derby seized the mantle once and hit a City defence which was still trying ot organise itself. With neither Hall or Ward looking particularly clear on whether or not they were marking Rob Hulse who won a 13th minute corner.

Martin Albrechtsten got in a header and Jason Henderson got back to clear just before the line for another a corner. When that one from Teale came in. Rob Hulse was waiting at the far post, a yard or so out after the City keeper did not get the best of touches, to head into the net.

The City supporters stared at each other in disblief as three minutes later, Derby increased their lead. Possession was lost and the ball fell to Gary Teale, who went down the left before picking out Rob Hulse. He played the ball inbetween Hall and Ward for Kris Commons, a man whom Sky Sports website had down as having moved to City, to drive into the net.

Commons was through in the 18th minute but this time, a brave block from Westwood stopped him. Whilst the Derby fans chanted their usual Forest hating stuff, there were chants of "Come On City" as the Sky Blues won their first corner of the match. It proved an easy catch for Bywater who stood and watched as a Michael Doyle long ranger flew wide a few minutes later.

With Freddie Eastwood a passenger and Clinton Morrison too often bemoaning the lack of service in the first half, it was the end that the City support was, that was seeing all the action.

Marcus Hall was forced to concede a 32nd minute corner and three minutes later, Derby hit the post twice. Gary Teale cut in from the left and thumped a shot onto the middle of the bar. Kris Commons got to the loose ball and his effort from closer range struck Westwood's left hand post.

City won a corner just before the break but the Sky Blues were booed off at the break.

At half-time, the police dealt with a bit of a skirmish outside the stadium after a Derby fan came into an area of Coventry supporters, whilst in the changing rooms, Chris Coleman,like many of the City support had enough of Freddie Eastwood and replaced him with Leon McKenzie. Nigel Clough also made a change.

This was a much better period in the second half for the Sky Blues. Right from the kick off, City displayed a bit of fight that had been invisible in the opening half.

Jordan Henderson, who delivered some good crosses in the second half from the right, drilled wide.

Then in the 51st minute, Morrison took a throw. It went back to Stephen Wright. A good ball picked out Beuzlin and it was transferred via Beuzelin to Doyle. Bywater came out and knocked the ball into Clinton Morrison's path on the right of the goal. The captain played it right into the mixer and with Bywater not wanting to get in where it counts, Michael Doyle dived to poke the ball into the net.

The City support had a bit of a celebration as some of the Derby followers to our right decided that we were the best place for their unwanted pie-crusts and various other objects. Four young lads were eventually removed by the police for this.

Derby replaced Nacer Barazite, who for me was their best player, as back in the stands, a chorus of "Shoes Off If You Love City", brought smiles to some faces and a few coverings of nasal passages.

City might have had a penalty in the 71st minute when Henderson went down and another one four minutes later when a cross by the loanee from Sunderland, who has the height and weight, that 85th minute substitute Lee Sawyer hasn't, was spotted being handled by all the City players and supporters but not referee Mr Jones.

It was not to be and City went down to defeat.