Date: 14th September 2009 at 12:23pm
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Nicky Maynard’s red-hot form continued as the striker scored a stunning sixth goal of the season to grab a point at Coventry.

City will no doubt reflect on what might have been though, as the home side withheld a superb second half performance to deny the Robins a fourth consectutive win on Sky Blues turf.

Gary Johnson handed a debut to Costa Rican striker Alvaro Saborio alongside Maynard and it was Saborio who nearly opened the scoring early on.

City were spraying the ball around very nicely and the on-loan South American was unlucky to glance a header wide from McAllister’s deep left wing cross.

Coventry, who must surely have the quietest home fans in the league, were nearly in front against the run of play on 15 when Gerken got himself into a right pickle!

He dropped an Isaac Osbourne shot straight into the path of Clinton Morrison only for the keeper to redeem himself and claw the ball away with the striker poised.

But the home fans didn’t have long to wait as they took the lead three minutes later.

Brian Wilson afforded Marcus Hall far too much space down his side to swing his deep left wing cross in for Leon Best to loop his header past Gerken, despite claims for offside.

The goal galvanised the Sky Blues. Ben Turner’s header forced a top stop from Gerken before the cocky Morrison thought he had doubled the lead only for his effort to be chalked off for off-side.

Saborio was putting in a good shift up front and really should have equalised just before the break.

A mis-cue by Turner allowed Maynard to scamper down the right side of the box and swing over an ideal ball for the Costa Rican, who could only shoot tamely at Westwood from six-yards out.

It was a good end to the half for the City who carried on that momentum after the break with the equaliser and probably Maynard’s best strike in a Red shirt to date.

The ball came in from the left which Saborio did brilliantly to chest down and tee up Maynard who unleashed an absolute rocket past into the top corner, nearly breaking the crossbar on the way in!

The goal was nothing more than we had deserved having dominated large amounts of possession and enjoying the clearer cut chances.

City were on top again and Saborio had another glorious chance to open his account in England. Galloping onto a lost cause, he nipped in ahead of the unrushing Westwood, rounded him but could only find the side netting with the goal gaping.

At the other end, Morrison was up to his usual petulant antics and was lucky not to be giving his marching orders after swinging for Jamie McCombe right in front of the linesman. The arrogant tool escaped with a booking.

Elliott rampaged down the right side and hung up a pin point cross towards the far post. Cole Skuse looped his header towards the far corner only to be superbly denied by the fingertips of highly-rated Westwood.

City huffed and puffed for the winner but couldn’t get past the inspired Westwood, who saved a close range McCombe header late on whilst Elliott was unlucky to see his deflected cross go just over the top with the keeper routed to the spot.

COVENTRY (4-4-2): Westwood, Wright, Cranie, Turner, Hall, Osbourne (Eastwood 77), Cork (Gunnarsson 78), Clingan, McIndoe, Best, Morrison.

CITY (3-5-2): Gerken, Carey, McCombe, Fontaine, Wilson (Orr 65), McAllister, Elliott, Hartley (Johnson 74), Skuse (Sno 74), Saborio, Maynard.

Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Preston)

Player Ratings

Dean Gerken 6
Dropped one clanger in the first half but otherwise sound. Made some top saves to keep us in it at crucial times but otherwise it was a quiet day at the office.

Brian Wilson 4
Poor again. Struggled to make an impact or provide any width. Should’ve done a much better job of closing down the cross which led to the first goal.

Jamie McAllister 6
Did exactly what it says on the tin! Solid but unspectular. Held his position well and got forward when he could but he isn’t a wing-back in my eyes.

Liam Fontaine 7
Defended well and benefitted from having Carey’s experience alongside him again. Those two have a very good understanding, which was on show at the Ricoh.

Jamie McCombe 7
Won his headers and was more of a threat in the opposition box than he has been so far this season. Still very poor on the floor but had the pace of Fontaine to cover that.

Louis Carey 7
Led from the front against his former club. Organised the back three and made his fare share of crunching but crucial tackles for the cause. The odd mazy run out of defence to boot.

Marvin Elliott 7
Much better than in recent weeks from Marv. He was back to his all-action performance and proved a threat going forward on a few occassions.

Paul Hartley 6
Quiet game from the Scot, which was to be expected given his midweek excertions for his country. Good on the dead ball but will come back better next week after some rest.

Cole Skuse 6
Did his job of screening the back three well. He’s growing in stature at this level and was unlucky not to score with a looping header in the second half.

Nicky Maynard 8
Excellent again. He’s carving out a reputation as one of the league’s best strikers and was a constant threat. His strike would’ve graced any game at the highest level.

Alvaro Saborio 7
Very promising debut from the Costa Rican. He ran hard, led the line well, with unfamiliar team mates, and he would have been my MOTM had he taken one of the two great chances he had.

Bradley Orr 6
We looked much stronger when he came on down the right. Offered more going forward and stronger defensively. Hopefully he’ll be fit enough to start against Swansea on Tuesday.

Lee Johnson 5
Largely anonymous when he came on. Gary Johnson changed the system for him but he struggled to make an impact.
Played out of position on the left side of midfield but even though he isn’t fit enough to start, he didn’t give the ball away once after coming on.

Manager Rating

Took a gamble with handing a debut to Saborio and it paid off. We passed the ball well after being a bit too direct in the first half. Saying that, we craved width late on and really could’ve used the pace of Sproule (as we have nobody else) to try and stretch the game. Also would rather see Ribeiro blooded at right-wing back ahead of the inept Wilson.

Opponent Rating

Not much to say other than he’s in charge of a very poor Coventry side and must be sick of the sight of us! His side were lucky to escape with a point but don’t know what tools he had to change it around. A long season lies ahead for him and his side, me thinks.

Two Points Dropped
City dominated in possession and enjoyed the better chances. On any other day this should’ve been enough to bring home the bacon but we defended poorly for their goal and weren’t clinical enough in front of goal.

Encouraging performance from the lads though, we passed the ball superbly in the second half, but we really should be beating the weaker sides like this if we’re serious about the Play-Off’s.


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