Late Pen Keeps City In The Play-offs

Coventry City 1-1 Notts County 

City: Burge, Grimmer , Hyam. Davies, Stokes, Bayliss, Doyle, Kelly, Shipley (Ponticelli 71),, Biamou, (Clarke-Harris 82),McNulty. Subs; O'Brien, Willis, McDonald, McGuire-Drew, Reid.
 
Notts County: Collin, Tootle, Hewitt, Duffy, Virtue (Allesandra 56), Grant, Forte (Smith 93), Brisley, Noble (O'Connor 77), Jones , Stead. Subs: Fitzsimons, Ameobi, Smith, Milsom, Hall.
 
ATT 17,404
 
Goals; Jonathan Forte 49, Marc McNulty pen 87
 
Coventry City have it all to do in the second leg if they are to reach the play-off final on May 28th after snatching a late equalising penalty to draw 1-1 with Notts County.
 
The Play-offs it is for Coventry City, having not got enough points throughout the season to have given them the automatic promotion they should really have obtained.
 
Finishing sixth, their first top six finish for nearly fifty years, gave City a Play-off semi-final against Notts County with the first leg at the Ricoh Arena.
 
For such a momentous and historic game, you would have thought that the Ricoh Arena would have been packed to capacity but for a club with such a divided support, the numbers there were excellent for a Saturday night.
 
As the team's were announced, the rain came down and the support was soaked. The drenched support saw City playing a pretty much expected team against a County side which included former Sky Blue loanee Richard Duffy and Jon Stead. 
 
City kicked off on a pitch with some surface water on it and had a Grimmer shot blocked for a fourth minute corner.
 
Jorge Grant fired over in County's first attack before a great ball played in McNulty who struck CollIn's right hand post with a ninth minute drive that lead to a corner.
 
Being at home first in a two legged semi-final and having such a poor record at Meadow Lane, the Sky Blues had to go for it.
 
The noise level from the City support was good as two corners were weathered by City's defence which included Dominic Hyam.
 
Jones again drove wide before a 20th minute announcement was made saying that two gangways had to be cleared before the game which was going on, anyway could continue.
 
A City corner came to nothing and in the 25th minute, Chris Stokes picked up a booking for a foul that a good tackle would have stopped.
 
That led to a free kick and a corner and a booking for Doyle by Mr Ward who was getting ironic cheers on the rare occasion he got a decision right.
 
Bayliss put in a a cracking ball for McNulty who crossed in the 36th minute for Biamou to get in a shot which Collin stopped on the line.
 
Stead fired wide as did McNulty and Bayliss in the 41st minute.
 
City had the first corner of the second half which Grimmer headed over.
 
County attacked down the left and Grimmer was rounded and the ball came to Jonathan Forte to stroke past Lee Burge on his right hand side and see City a goal down after 49 minutes of play.
 
Burge saved as some of the away fans removed their shirts enjoying their side's lead.
 
City won a 58th minute corrner which ended up back with Lee Burge and Shipley fired into the North Stand seats.
 
Bayliss drove wide in the 66th minute for a City side which replaced Jordan Shipley with Jordan Ponticelli in the 71st minute.
 
Another poor decision by the referee later then followed by a correct one, gave City a 74th minute free kick which led tro a corner. 
 
That was cleared and Davies was booked by a referee whose performances against City have not been good.
 
There were two ejections made in the North Stand before Max Biamou was replaced by Jonson Clarke-Harris as time was ebbing away.
 
In the 85th minute, City were awarded a penalty. Another incorrect decision by the referee and the County players were right to appeal. But a penalty it was and Marc McNulty took it and scored to give City a draw to take to Meadow Lane on Friday.