Odd ...... four players who were supposedly out for 'weeks' were miraclously fit enough to play today at The Ricoh Arena - it was a warm welcome back for Francis, Hughes, Pugh and MacDonald who were returned to first team action after 'injury'.
The less said about the first 45 minutes the better. It was simply the biggest load of tripe I've had to sit through for years. If this was League One football, then I'm an injured Dutchman (sorry - we have two of those already!). The passing was dreadful, the understanding between any of the players was non-existent. It begged two questions:
- Did anyone on the pitch know anyone else or were they dragged off the street?
- Was the round leathery thing they were kicking something you'd see when kids play pass the parcel? Cos no one wanted it!
Hopefully the second period was going to be better - it marginally better for one side than the other.
Coventry City started the second period the brighter, winning their first corner of the game in the opening few minutes after James was at full stretch to push the ball around the left hand post as we looked at it from behind the goal the Sky Bues were attacking. From that corner City went close to taking the lead as the ball rattled off the cross bar.
The Cherries did find their way to the Coventry City penalty area - unlike last Tuesday in Crawley - when MacDonald forced a fine save from Murphy in the Cov goal, tipping the ball over at full stretch. The resulting corner came to nothing in the 56th minute.
The goal wasn't long in coming though - just 5 minutes to be precise. When it did it was all too easy as McGoldrick (remember him?!) was unopposed from barely 6 yards out, leaving James exposed and little chance to make a point blank save. It was all too easy.
The goal bouyed our hosts to try pushing forward more often as they realised that the Cherries had a very soft under belly, which if exposed will concede - just like Tuesday!
Listening back to my match commentary in writing this report comments like "there's no one following up in the centre" (when the ball was played into acres of space) and "it's been passed back to David James (from the half way line)" spring out from all of the other comments.
The result leaves the Cherries in the drop-zone. Mitchell did want the Cherries out of League One? At this rate he'll get his wish .......
James - My man of the match for the two fine saves he made. Didn't have much else to do.
Francis/Daniels - Did okay, but nothing to write home about.
Elphick/Addison - One of the weakest central defensive partnerships I've seen for a while. Do these guys actually know each other? Certainly lacking when the goal came.
Grabban - Ran around a lot to little effect - made the wrong decisions when moving forward. Is he out of his depth in League One?
Hughes - Not one of his better matches by some distance.
MacDonald - Poor.
Carmichael - The lad did okay during his 49 minute spell on the pitch. Got caught in possession a few times though - needs to be quicker at this level.
Pugh - Did okay first half, but had 2-3 players round him in the second without too much support.
Barnard - Can we send him back? Totally ineffective and a complete waste of space/money.
Partington - Too slow at times.
Tubbs - Received little/no service with which to work.
Fletcher - Legend.
AFCB: James, Francis, Elphick, Addison, Daniels, Grabban, Hughes, Carmichael, MacDonald, Pugh, Barnard
Subs: Jalal, Cook, Zubar, O'Kane, Partington (for Carmichael, 49 mins), Tubbs (for MacDonald, 75 mins), Fletcher (for Barnard, 80 mins)
Andy Burton, Portsmouth