COVENTRY CITY 1-0 BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
SAT DEC 31TH AT The Ricoh Arena, Coventry
City: Murphy, Keogh, Wood, Christie, Cranie, Thomas, Deegan (Bigirimana 81), Bell, Baker, Jutkiewicz, McSheffrey. SNU Dunn, Jeffers, McPake, Hussey
Brighton: Ankergren, El Abd, Greer, Dunk, Taricco (Buckley 60), Harley (Foster-Caskey 65), Navarro, Sparrow, Noone (Lualua 60), Mackail-Smith, Paynter. SNU Hall, Brezovan.
HT CCFC 1-0 BHAFC FT CCFC 2-0 BHAFC ATT 14,158
Referee Mark Haywood. Assts Marvyn Amphlett and Carl Dunn.
Booked – Navarro, Deegan, Dink, Christie
Goals – Gary McSheffrey 33, Lukas Jutkiewicz 53
Man Of The Match – Gary McSheffrey took the votes with nominations for Wood and Keogh.
CITY SUPPORT: City supporters from as far away as Melbourne in Australia in a crowd that backed the team all game. _________________
CITY TEAM NEWS
Andy Thorn brought in Martin Cranie and Gary Deegan to replace Chris Hussey and Gael Bigirimana who were on the bench with fit again keeper Chris Dunn.
John Clarke and Tim Fisher along with Mr Ritchley the former CEO of Coventry Building Society who is being touted as a possible Chairman and new boy Steve Waggott who has been brought in to help with the transfers.
Coventry City ended 2011 on a high with a 2-0 home win over Brighton & Hove Albion to lift themselves off the bottom of the Championship table.
With hopes that SISU will be out of our club before the FA Cup game against Southampton, City went into the match knowing that it was imperative that they followed up the Boxing Day victory over Bristol City who had won at Southampton last night with a victory on the final day of 2011, especially seeing as second from bottom Doncaster had lost at Watford 4-1 in an early kick off.
Kicking off earlier on New Years Eve, may well have been a better idea as the crowd on a mild but dull day at the Ricoh Arena ten minutes before kick off was sparse to say the least.
The ground had filled up a bit by the time, the teams which saw a Brighton side in their worst away kit for years, took to the field.
Brighton, looked lively early on with plenty of off the ball running and positional play and they won the first corner of the game in the third minute after being allowed to break from their own half.
As the stewards were taking their place under the scoreboard and the customary “SISU Out” chants boomed round the ground, Cyrus Christie whipped in a cross, which Jutkiewicz got to, only for his ninth minute effort to be blocked and Ankergen in the Brighton goal at the Away Stand end able to get hold of the ball.
The game got a bit stop start around a twenty yarder from McSheffrey and three chances and a corner for the visitors before a good move from City down the left and just after the half hour mark, was sent not far wide by Deegan.
In the 33rd minute, the City support were going mad when Gary McSheffrey intercepted the ball and raced forty yards before beating Ankergren neatly to put the Sky Blues ahead.
It was a cracking goal but the talk of it soon died down as the referee and his assistant with the yellow flag in front of the Tescos Stand started to rile both sets of supporters with some very strange decisions.
Not too worry as in the 53rd minute, Carl Baker had a shot beaten away by the keeper. McSheffrey got to the ball and sent in a peach of a cross for Lukas Jutkiewicz to head powerfully into the net from about eight yards out.
Such was the work rate and effort from every City player with Messrs Keogh, Wood, Cranie and Christie, calmness personified, Conor Thomas playing the holding role really well, whilst Gary Deegan added some much needed bite to the midfield and McSheffrey and Jutkiewicz up front battling like Trojans, Brighton boss Gus Poyet was forced into changes.
One of his additions Lualua did initially cause some concern and saw Christie pick up a booking but with Keogh and Deegan on hand to help out, any threat to the goal defended by Joe Murphy, who has his easiest game in a City shirt was confidently dealt with.
Ankergren prevented a third goal when he pushed a Jutkiewicz drive over the bar in the 71st minute and ten minutes later, with Gael Bigirimana on for Deegan who left to a standing ovation, Jutkiewicz was denied a penalty when he was clearly elbowed by Gordon Greer .
Nothing was given and the City support rose on the final whistle to applaud the Sky Blue players for a 2-0 victory and the six points we wanted from these two home matches over Christmas and New Year, which give us some confidence, hope and belief to take into 2012.