Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
Unbeaten at home, and hosting a Swansea side with the worst away record so far this season in the division. Only a fool would predict what the outcome would be. The rest of us are football fans.
Coventry City vs Swansea City – 02/11/21
Christ alive lads, my bum’s still cold in my seat and we’re 1-0 down. A poor clearance fell to usual suspect Jamie Paterson, whose low shot wasn’t powerful, yet accurate enough to skim off of Simon Moore’s fingers and in.
Thankfully, the goal was so early that a lot of fans were still making their way in, and thus we were in full voice following the kick-off; probably because they thought that was the kick to start the match, not restart it.
As we are an obliging club, we made sure that the supporters were fully in the ground before conceding the second. A quick move down our left saw Ian Maatsen get pulled away from the ball, and Jake Clarke-Salter put up a weak defence to the attacker. A few touches later, and a deflected shot from Joel Piroe looped over Simon Moore and in.
This goal set the blueprint for Swansea’s attacks. Letting us get men up the pitch, then hitting us on the break with quick moves down the flanks, especially on our left. The two attacking players behind Piroe; Paterson and Olivier Ntcham, combined well with wing-backs Jake Bidwell and Ethan Laird, respectively. Maatsen and Clarke-Salter had a particularly rough time of it during the first half.
As the half grew on we eventually found our footing, and clawed a goal back thanks to a powerful Kyle McFadzean header from Gustavo Hamer’s corner. We were making our best inroads from clipped balls over into the channels for Matty Godden and Viktor Gyökeres to run onto, and one such instance provided a great opportunity for the latter, only for goalkeeper Ben Hamer to make himself almost twice his own size to prevent a chipped shot from going in.
We came out for the second half with as much intent as you would expect this Coventry side to do, but clear-cut chances were at a premium. More often than not, we were getting through on goal but further out wide, meaning we had to then turn inside and find a pass or cross, giving the Swansea defence time to get back and cut it out. In the end, our best chance of levelling the tie was at the death, as Fankaty Dabo’s left-footed curler was tipped over by Hamer (this occurred immediately after I uttered “He won’t shoot”).
And so ends the unbeaten run at home this season. Maybe this result will signal the start of our season settling in, and we may find ourselves in a league position more befitting our performances over the last few weeks.
One thing I’ve found with this side is, sometimes it seems really difficult for us to score goals. Not down to a lack of cutting edge, but sometimes down to a lack of guile when in good positions to take a shot on. Compare this to Swansea, who, especially in the opening period of the game, seemed willing to try a shot from anywhere within 25 yards of goal. On the other hand, Coventry often seem to want to weigh up their options before trying such an act. Even some half-chances go begging as we try to craft a more perfect chance for ourselves; one opportunity late on for Gyokeres proved evidence to this case, as instead of at least trying a shot at the keeper’s near post from a tight if not impossible angle, he held up and waited for support from a square passing option, leading to said passing attempt being cut out.
Another, perhaps more alarming point, is a lack of a Plan B from off the bench. Apart from bringing on Jodi Jones and switching to a Football-Manager-experimental 3-3-2-2 as he did tonight, you do wonder what else Mark Robins could have done with his substitutions to help get us back into the game. Perhaps this is why we often don’t see subs coming on until it’s far too late for them to be of any influence, such as with Tyler Walker’s touchless cameo tonight. One thing that’s missing is a substitute that can stretch a team as the clock winds down and legs tire. Jones would be that player but the change in system led to the front four not finding much space at all in the middle of the park. From the others in our squad you’d say Fabio Tavares is the most likely candidate to fill that gap, but to do that would be to put a lot of hope in a player that’s never kicked a ball at this level, nor played any senior football in quite some time. Obviously that fact has to change at some time, it just has to be the right time.
Let’s hope we can bounce back on Saturday against Bristol City.