The Cherries' line-up showed three changes from Saturday's defeat at the hands of Sheffield United, with Pugh, Painter and Pitman being replaced by McQuoid, Fogden and Tubbs, and Ritchie returning to left back.
After an early injury to Coventry left-back Dickinson which left so much
blood on the pitch that a bucket of sand had to be produced, play finally got properly underway with the Cherries showing the attacking flair that had been so little in evidence against the Blades. The visitors' defence was all over the place as wave after wave of Cherries
attacks bore down on the open end. With Ritchie getting forward on the left and Fogden on the right, and the pace of Grabban and Tubbs up front, it seemed only a matter of time before we scored. An excellent Tubbs volley drew a sharp save from Murphy and Grabban should have converted a headed assist from Fogden, strangely electing to use the outside of his right foot when his left seemed the obvious choice.
However, the best chance fell to Tubbs who, anticipating a weak back-pass, found himself one-on-one with Murphy, only to stab the ball the wrong side of the right-hand post. For most of the half, Coventry were rarely able to threaten the Cherries goal, although Moussa tested Jalal with a powerful drive which the latter saved at the second attempt. As so often happens when a side fails to score when well on top, we got hit by the inevitable sucker punch just before the interval. We were awarded a throw-in on the half-way line. The ball was cleared downfield, pursued by Cook and the visitors' striker Clarke. With the ball unadvisedly allowed to bounce, Cook was brushed aside far to easily by the Coventry man who advanced on goal before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net. Disaster!
The second half continued in the same vein with the Cherries doing nearly all the attacking and Ritchie in particular looking dangerous. However, the Sky Blues defence which had looked so jittery in the first half began to settle down and the stream of crosses from both wings were all comfortably dealt with. Whenever we threatened, the visitors seemed to get bodies in the way.
The manager tried to change things around by introducing Pitman, Fraser and finally the old war horse Fletcher, but to no avail. Nothing would drop for us. To rub salt into the wound, near the end Coventry were awarded a dubious free-kick, in the aftermath of which Grabban was adjudged to have handled in the box and Baker dispatched the resulting spot kick with aplomb A disappointing result, but the players couldn't be faulted for effort. With a little more luck, the result could have been very different. Afterwards I heard some people saying we should have signed a big striker who could get his head on balls into the box. Possibly, but we're still the highest scoring team in League 1 with the strikers we've got! Our luck will turn.
MOM goes to Ritchie who looks a great signing, although Fogden ran him close with a high-energy display.
AFCB: Jalal, Francis, Cook, Seabourne, Ritchie, McQuoid, Arter, O'Kane, Fogden, Tubbs, Grabban
Subs: Allsop, Partington, MacDonald, Hughes, Fraser (for Fogden, 72 mins), Pitman (for Tubbs, 72 mins), Fletcher (on for McQuoid, 80 mins)
Ellis Griffin, Chertsey