City’s upturn in form continued at Fratton Park on Tuesday evening with a convincing 3-0 win over Portsmouth. The win completed the club’s first ‘double’ of the season, after City’s opening day victory at the Ricoh. It ensured that the Sky Blues did the ‘double’ over at least one team for the eleventh season in a row. You have to go back to 1999-2000 for a campaign where City didn’t achieve the ‘double’, that team, boasting Robbie Keane, Gary McAllister and the Moroccans may have been dubbed ‘the Entertainers’ but failed to win a single away game.
As I said last week City have met Pompey very infrequently over the last 45 years but it was still the first win at Fratton Park since August 1966 when goals from Ray Pointer and Bobby Gould secured a 2-0 win. Tuesday’s victory was City’s biggest away victory for almost three years, when a 5-1 win at Colchester helped save City’s bacon and only the second time this season the team have scored more than two goals. Coincidentally two of those goals at Colchester were from the penalty spot, Elliott Ward the man on target at Layer Road. Marlon King emulated Ward’s feat at Fratton and took his tally of league goals to nine. His scoring form is excellent and although he is unlikely to better Gary McSheffrey’s 15 goals in 2005-06 (the best by a City player in the post-Premiership era) he may well reach 12 which would be the best total since Gary’s record campaign. Marlon’s goals per game ratio however is the best in the modern era with nine in 20 starts.King only settled in the side in November after fitness issues and the conundrum is why the team have they slumped to the lower reaches of the table whilst King has been relatively prolific with his goalscoring.
Portsmouth’s Haydn Mullins became the first City opponent to receive a red card this season for his handball offence ensuring that one record stays intact; it is 14 years since we went through a whole season with no opposing players sent off.
Next Friday, Good Friday, City play host to Scunthorpe in what will be the first Good Friday afternoon home game since the club joined the Football League in 1919. Traditionally Coventry factories worked on a Good Friday and were closed on Easter Monday and Tuesday and as result the club would usually play home and away fixtures against the same club on the Monday and Tuesday, with occasionally an away game on Good Friday. In the days before floodlights (i.e. pre-1955) the Tuesday game would take place in the afternoon and with few at work a big crowd was usually guaranteed. Only once in almost 100 years have City played at home on Good Friday, an evening game with Sheffield United in 1975. In 1913 and 1914, when City were a struggling Southern League side they played afternoon games on Good Friday. I understand that some Coventry firms still work on Good Friday and fans working for these are likely to miss the game and the decision to play on Friday will have upset many people of a religious persuasion.