Last Saturday against Barnsley the Sky Blues snatched victory in added time at the end of ninety minutes for the second home game running and won another valuable three points. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, scoring late winners is a very rare occurrence for the Sky Blues but one that lifts the fans so much. Someone mentioned to me that Norwich City made a habit of scoring late goals during their promotion season last year and I thought I would research the detail. City fans will remember that Grant Holt scored a very late winner at the Ricoh Arena in December 2010 and on checking the records I discovered that it was one of 19 goals scored by the Canaries in the last ten minutes plus injury time. When you add up the extra points they won with these goals it comes to a staggering 24 points. In other words without their late goals they would have finished the season on 60 points instead of 84, leaving them in fifteenth place instead of second!
Conversely if you analyse the late goals conceded by the Sky Blues this season it can be seen that City have lost ten points by conceding in the last ten minutes of games. With the late goals against Leeds (home and away) and Barnsley, five points have been saved.
The facts support the view that successful teams score late goals and struggling teams concede late goals. I wondered how many late goals City scored in their last promotion season in 1966-67. I discovered that in the second half of that campaign they netted eight goals in the last ten minutes of games that earned the team seven extra points (two points for a win in those days). Without those seven points Jimmy Hill’s team would have been level on points with third-placed Blackburn and would have had to rely on goal average for promotion.
Many of you know that I was a supporter of Lockheed Leamington as a youngster and still follow the results of Leamington FC. Paul Vanes is a keen fan of the Brakes and is researching the history of football in Leamington including the aforementioned clubs and Leamington Town who played in the town before World War Two and go back to pre-1900. Paul is hoping to publish a book of his findings in 2016 – to coincide with the 125th anniversary of organised football in the town. Another Lockheed fan Don Chalk and I have lent Paul old Brakes programmes and books to assist his quest.
Paul was in touch this week to tell me the sad news that Sid Ottewell, Lockheed’s legendary manager from the 1960s, had passed away aged 95 in an Eastwood nursing home. Sid had a lengthy playing career making 191 appearances netting 54 goals for Chesterfield, Birmingham City, Luton Town, Nottingham Forest, Mansfield Town and Scunthorpe United. As a manager he was in charge of Spalding United and Bourne Town before he was invited to join the Brakes in 1960. His arrival sparked a golden period in the Brakes history as they won the last Birmingham League title then the first one under their new name of the West Midlands (Regional) League, the club switched to the Midland Counties League in 1963/64 and the following season Lockheed were champions. Cup success came with the lifting of the Birmingham Senior Cup in 1961 (5-1 over Rugby Town at Highfield Road) and finalists a season later whilst in the FA Cup, the fourth qualifying round was reached twice.Paul supplied me with Sid’s managerial record which is better than most:-
Played 346 league games, won 203, drawn 62 with just 81 defeats, goals for totalled a magnificent 924 and only 516 against for a haul of 468 points. Brakes fans saw goals galore as one hundred thundered into the opposition net for seven successive seasons with the highest being 126 in 1965/66.