COVENTRY CITY 2-1 LEEDS UNITED TUE FEB 14TH AT Ricoh Arena
City: Murphy, Keogh, Cranie, Clarke Christie, Deegan, Norwood, Baker, McSheffrey, Platt, Nimely. SNU Dunn, Eastwood, Bigirimana, Ruffels, Willis
Leeds; Lonergan, Lees, O’Dea, Smith (O’Brien 74), Clayton, Pugh, Delph (Brown 61), Snodgrass, Becchio, McCormack (Nunez 20), White. SNU Taylor, Townsend.
HT CCFC 1-1 LUFC FT CCFC 2-1 LUFC NOTS (Number of Tickets Sold) 15,704
Referee Patrick Miller. Assts S. Bratt & I. Crouch.
Booked Pugh,.Nimely, Brown, White, McSheffrey
Goals: Gary McSheffrey (20 & 92), Ross McCormack (31)
Man Of The Match – Very difficult decision tonight – Gary McSheffrey, Clive Platt and Richard Keogh jointly polled the same votes with nominations for Oliver Norwood and Alex Nimely.
CITY SUPPORT: Considering it was Valentines Day, this was a good turn out of City supporters who made plenty of noise.
Andy Thorn had to make changes due to the injuries of Sammy Clingan who could have joined Leeds if Ken Bates had not blocked it and Richard Wood. As expected, Jordan Clarke and Carl Baker came into the team with City U18’s players Josh Ruffels and Jordan Willis on the bench.
Coventry City moved up to 22nd in the Championship table with a thrilling 2-1 victory over Leeds United at the Ricoh Arena.
There was not the 20, 000 crowd that City had been hoping for at the Ricoh Arena on a not too cold night but those there did not fail to notice that amongst the City players tonight there was an air of determination that we have not seen enough of this season.
Leeds, backed by 3,200 fans who made it known early on that they were not happy with Ken Bates, might have had the play in the opening five or so minutes but with Oliver Norwood, Alex Nimely Gary Deegan and Gary McSheffrey, all keen to do plenty of running and tackling, the Sky Blues came back.
They had three corners but in the 19th minute, Alex Nimely surged into the box and went down under a challenge from Danny Pugh. Out came a yellow card for Pugh and a penalty for the Sky Blues.
Against a club he was loaned to, during his time at Birmingham City, Gary McSheffrey sent Andy Lonergan the wrong way to delight the City support and put the Sky Blues ahead.
Becchio and Norwood both had efforts on goal but in the 31st minute, Leeds drew level when the ball came across from the right and fell for McCormack, who along with Becchio looked offside. However, there was nothing from the assistant on the Tescos Stand side and Ross McCormack was able to send a low drive past Joe Murphy, who probably should have been a bit more over to the left and into the net.
The decision to give the goal annoyed some City supporters around me and they took the vengeance out on referee Pat Miller, who City supporters will remember from the 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace in 2010.
If anything, all the goal did was to increase City’s resolve. Clive Platt was unlucky when his shot from a corner was blocked for another.
Norwoord fired at Lonergan before we arrived at half-time after Clive Platt beat Lonergan in the air but saw his header cleared.
There was plenty of noise from both sets of supporters as the second half got underway.
Danny Pugh sent a long ranger not far over before a great 57th minute ball through fell for Carl Baker, who with only Lonergan to beat flicked over the bar.
Both sides sang their club songs to urge on their teams in what was becoming a cracker of a game.
A 71st minute free kick lead to a corner and after an initial clearance, Norwood rifled wide. Two minutes later, after substitute Michael Brown had been cautioned for a trip, Norwood curled another free kick wide.
The hard working Cyrus Christie whipped in a cross for another corner before the Leeds fans went mental in the 82nd minute when Ross McCormack, who had been the visitors most likely player to score was replaced by Nunez. A chorus of “You Don’t Know What You’re Doing” boomed out of the away end, followed by a chorus of “One Simon Grayson” aimed at Ken Bates and the man he moved up to take temporary charge Neil Redfearn.
With six minutes to go, Nimely and Baker worked together, for the Scouser to send a ball over the far post which McSheffrey headed into the side netting.
Carl Baker got into the penalty area two minutes later and went down but nothing was given.
Then McSheffrey attacked down the byline and sent a clever ball across the box for Alex Nimely who stabbed at it but from a couple of yards out, sent the ball agonisingly wide.
Five minutes of stoppage time was announced and the City support collectively held their breath as Leeds won a corner. Unlike other matches where goals have resulted from late corners, this was not a good corner and City were able to clear upfield.
This they did with the ball going to Alex Nimely. He went on a mazy run and got into the area. Just as he was getting the ball on his left, Aidan White stuck out his lright leg and down went Nimely.
There was no hesitation from the referee and a second penalty was awarded to City after White had been carded. Gary McSheffrey stepped up. He had the weight of the Sky Blue world on his shoulders but coolly dispatched the ball past Lonergan before taking his shirt off in jubilant celebration as the City support went absolutely mad.
It might not have been a Valentine’s Day Massacre but it was a victory that makes Sky Blue life better going into the crucial game at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.