COVENTRY CITY 1-1 LEICESTER CITY BY KEV MONKS
Coventry expected every player to do his duty and this they did as the M69 derby finished in a draw.
In what was a week that saw both Chairman Mike McGinnity and manager Peter Reid come under severe criticism from the club's supporters, what was needed was a victory against those from up the M69.
Peter Reid made a number of changes from the team that had lost in the televised game against Ipswich a fortnight ago and gave new boy Rohan Ricketts, a debut in place of boo boys victim Tim Sherwood.
Ricketts was applauded when his name was announced in a team that saw Dean Leacock return to City's defence and started in a 4-4-2 formation with Eddy Johnson partnering Stern John in attack.
For the visitors who were managed by Howard Wilkinson, Dion Dublin returned to the side and was deservedly abused through out the game for the manner in which he had left Coventry City and joined Aston Villa.
With City attacking the West End and Calum Davenport amongst the 18,054 crowd, a 56 second foul by Jason Wilcox on Andy Whing earned the former England player a ticking off from referee Chris Foy and City a free kick which Steve Staunton wasted.
With the police, who had already been busy dealing with the fights that had broken out pre-game, diving up the home part of the Sky Blue stand to sort out a problem, a foul on Matthew Heath saw the ball played out to Scott Gemmil who lost possession to Ricketts. The loanee from Spurs was thwarted in his attempts to go forward and Kevin Harper raced through and fire a damp squid of a shot that Luke Steele was easily able to deal with.
The proper City's first corner of the afternoon came in the fourth minute and saw Michael Doyle's flag kick come to nothing. A second followed two minutes later and like the first nothing came of it.
Eddy Johnson was looking far more livelier than he had done for City Reserves in their 0-0 draw at Chelsea and a lovely through ball found Michael Doyle in a good position. Doyle went to shoot but Lillian Nalis got there first and conceded the first of two corners.
Steve Staunton was enjoying a lot of freedom on the left flank and in the tenth minute, he sent over a ball which sailed high into a packed and noisy West Terrace when John and Andy Morrell were available. The Irishman picked up loads of abuse temporarily interrupting that reserved for Mr Dublin.
The team from a city famous for nothing apart from nicker stitching,were forced to make a change in the 14th minute when Wilcox was stretchered off and replaced by Trevor Benjamin.
Another Staunton cross missed everyone before the visitors won a 16th minute corner that saw Harper link with Gemmill but blaze a shot well wide.
They won another three minutes later when Luke Steele dived across to make an excellent one handed save from a Harper shot.
The on loan City keeper made another excellent save in the 22nd minute from a David Connelly effort for their third corner in quick succession.
After Scott Gemmill had limped off and be replaced by Gareth Williams,Coventry started to get back into the game and a through ball from the hard working Stephen Hughes found Andy Morrell who drilled the ball across the face of the goal. Johnson retrieved the ball found Staunton who banged it back in. The ball hit Martin Keown on the arm but nothing was given by referee Chris Foy who has officiated at Coventry City Ladies matches only a few years ago.
With the ejection rate ever increasing amongst the 3,600 visitors, Trevor Benjamin raced through on goal in the 31st minute only for Steele to dive to his right and beat away the ball.
City broke away and as Morrell challenged Keown for the ball,the former Wrexham striker was flattened by a forearm smash from the defender who contributed to the departure of Mickey Adams. We squealed for a booking or more but nothing was given.
Four minutes later,Keown who must have been thanking his lucky stars that it was only the supporters who seen his challenge,hacked a ball in from Eddy Johnson over his own crossbar for a Coventry corner.
Just before the interval,a fine save from Steele to push the ball over the bar gave the visitors their fourth corner of the half.
With the weather now having turned from rain to sunshine,the Sky blues started the second period on the attack with Staunton firing another effort over the bar.
Michael Doyle was his usual busy self and he worked with Johnson to give City a 49th minute corner. When Doyle's kick came in,Morrell sent the ball over and Stern John headed just wide with a far post header.
Back came the visitors with a Benjamin right footed thirty yard volley which flew six foot wide of Steele's right hand post.
If that was a let off for the Sky Blues,then City were certainly riding their luck to the max when Dion Dublin knocked down a 53rd minute ball into the path of David Connelly. The Irishman who has played in the Dutch League, was only six yards out and all he had to was to keep his shot down but thankfully, he leant back and blasted it high over the crossbar much to every Coventry supporter's relief.
The game now lifeless, so lifeless in fact that I was letting people know that Coventry City Ladies game at Manchester City had been postponed whilst the game was going on.
But after Patrick Suffo had come on for Stern John in the 65th minute and James Scowcroft had replaced Kevin Harper,the game sprang into life.
Unfortunately,it was the visitors who were doing the jumping up and down as a ball from the right in the 69th minute by Connelly by passed the City defence and picked out the unmarked Dion Dublin who tapped into the net.
Another corner for the away team followed before Trevor Benjamin became the first player in the match to be cautioned when he was carded for a reckless challenge on Andy Whing.
The goal woke up City who after a Michael Doyle free kick was scrambled off the line replaced Rohan Ricketts with Graham Barrett. Although I had no problems with the introduction of the Irishman who sat out his country's World Cup games over the last seven days. Ricketts was having a decent game and I would have kept him on.
The visitors won two more corners and things were looking exceedingly gloomy. However, football is a strange mistress and sometimes events can change in any instant.
In the 79th minute, Andy Whing went on the over lap down the right, he delivered a looping ball in the direction of Andy Morrell. However, Chris Makin got there first and turned the ball past the very portly Kevin Pressman and into his own net.
The parts of the ground housing Coventry supporters went ballistic with stewards flying round in a bid to stop any celebrations getting out of hand.
Coventry were back and in the 84th minute,they nearly scored again with a superb twenty yard from Graham Barrett. However, the shot which looked a goal all the way dipped and flew off Kevin Pressman's right hand post and was cleared away.
Three points would have been an excellent result but it was not to be an it was honours even.
HT CCFC 0-0 Scumbags
FT CCFC1-1 Scumbags
GOALS - Dion Dublin (69)
Chris Makin OG (79)
Man Of The Match - Stephen Hughes took the votes from Andy Morrell,Richard Shaw, Luke Steele,Andy Whing and Eddy Johnson
Steele,Whing,Shaw,Leacock,Staunton,Doyle,Hughes, Ricketts (Barrett 73),Morrell,Johnson,John (Suffo 65) SNU Shearer,Sherwood,Giddings