Coventry City finally won a league game at Boundary Park, Oldham on Saturday with a late Cody McDonald goal. It was City’s first league victory since the last Saturday in March (at Hull) and came after 14 games without a win – the worst run since the dreadful spring of 2003 when Gary McAllister’s team of loanees and raw youngsters went 16 matches without victory.
Oldham’s pitiful attendance of 4,022 was evidence how far the Sky Blues have fallen in recent years – the lowest league crowd to watch City since 2002 when 2,077 rattled around Selhurst Park watching a 1-0 City win over Wimbledon. Gates at Oldham have never been massive – when City played there three times in the Premiership/Division 1 in the early 1990s there were never more than 12,500 present – but in January 1964 they attracted 20,000 for a midweek game against Jimmy Hill’s Sky Blues. City’s players must have found it strange, going from playing in front of 58,000 at the Emirates to 4,000 at Boundary Park.
Gary McSheffrey reached a major milestone at Oldham, making his 250th first team appearance for his home town club. He became only the 29th player in the club’s history to reach the figure and he is now level with the great Clarrie Bourton and close to overtaking Dave Clements (257) and Lloyd McGrath (258) in the all time list. He is also now up to tenth in the all-time City scoring lists having netted 70 goals in all competitions and is close to overtaking Dion Dublin (72) and George Hudson (75).
Next Tuesday the Sky Blues travel to York City’s Bootham Crescent in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy – their first visit to the ground since August 1959 when 9,400 watched City gain a 1-1 draw thanks to a Jack Boxley goal. That was one of only two league visits City have made to the small ground in the shadow of York Minster. City’s most famous visit was an FA Cup third round visit in 1938 when they were joint top of the old Division Two (and the bookies favourites to get promotion) having lost only twice in 22 games. The Minstermen, languishing in the lower half of Division Three North pulled off the shock of the day beating the Bantams 3-2 in front of what was a record crowd at Bootham of 13,917. Somehow I doubt there will be that many in the ground next Tuesday.
Richard Whitehead was intrigued by my story of Tamworth born ex-City goalkeeper Horace Pearson the other week. Richard, a Villa fan who writes for the Times, hails from Wilnecote near Tamworth and reminded me that in the 1931 FA Cup final (Birmingham v West Brom) both goalkeepers hailed from Tamworth. The legendary international ‘keeper Harry Hibbs was between the posts for the Blues and Harold Pearson (Horace’s cousin) was in goal for the Baggies.