Coventry City fans leave their seats at the Ricoh Arena before the final whistle at their peril and risk missing an exciting finale. On Tuesday night against Blackpool, City, once again, had victory snatched from their grasp in injury time with Keith Southern’s header grabbing a point for the Tangerines. This followed the drama last Saturday when Lukas Jutkiewicz missed an injury time penalty that would have sealed three points for the Sky Blues over Reading. These late mishaps come hard on the heels of the two very late goals at Crystal Palace which also cost City a victory. Perhaps it is time Andy Thorn and Steve Harrison coached the team on how to play out the latter stages of a game. Early in his managerial career last season, Thorn was given warnings when injury time goals cost City dearly at Preston and Middlesbrough. Mind you Aidy Boothroyd hadn’t deal with the problem either. His team suffered home defeats from late goals conceded against Cardiff (Jay Bothroyd) and Norwich (Grant Holt) and what looked like a certain victory at Doncaster was thrown away with James Hayter’s 88th minute goal. This season seven points have been lost in the closing minutes, points that would now have City just outside the play-off positions instead of the relegation area.
Jutkiewicz’s penalty miss was the fifth by a Coventry player at the Ricoh Arena, but the first in almost two years, home or away. The other miscreants at the Ricoh have been Michael Doyle, Elliott Ward (possibly the worst City penalty ever v Southampton), Sammy Clingan and Leon Best. Best was the last City player to miss from the spot, in the 1-0 home win over Doncaster on Boxing Day 2009. Between then and Tuesday night City had netted eight spot-kicks. Clinton Morrison (1), Lucas Jutkiewicz (4) and Marlon King (3).
My prediction skills on Coventry City attendances went awry on Tuesday night. Based on recent seasons the midweek September home game is generally one of the lowest of the season and with City’s poor form this season I fully expected there to be under 12,000, possibly as low as 11,000 at the game. The recorded attendance of 12,822 was boosted by a good following from Lancashire (over1,000 travelled with the Seasiders) and some Indian summer weather so it is hard to say whether City’s gates have bottomed out.
City fanatic Dean Nelson has built up a fantastic collection of television film clips of Coventry City but has struggled to find one of the most memorable goals in the club’s history. In October 1986 at Hillsborough, Steve Ogrizovic drop-kicked the ball from his own penalty area, the ball bounced once and cleared Sheffield Wednesday’s ‘keeper Martin Hodge and ended up in the net. If anyone has a video clip of this goal or knows whether it was ever filmed should contact Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dean has developed film shows for different eras and is planning a 1960s film night at the Transport Museum on 24 November to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Jimmy Hill’s arrival at Coventry City. Next year he is planning a 1987 film night at the Coventry Museum as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the FA Cup victory.