Two excellent home wins in a week have ensured that the Sky Blues continue to compete on two fronts. Last week's exciting Johnstone's Paint Trophy (or Football League Trophy) Northern Semi final win over Preston ensured the club reached the last four of a Cup competition for the first time since 1990 (I'm not counting the Birmingham Senior Cup or the FA Youth Cup). In 1990 John Sillett's team reached the semi final of the League Cup only to lose a two legged tie to Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest. The tie was settled in a thrilling first leg at the City Ground where a controversial penalty and a disputed second goal gave Forest a 2-1 victory, Steve Livingstone scoring for the City. A dour 0-0 at Highfield Road ensured Forest reached Wembley final for the second season running where they beat Oldham Athletic 1-0.
Two years earlier the Sky Blues had reached the semi final of the Simod Trophy and were the bookmaker's favourites to reach Wembley for the second season running as they faced lowly second division side Reading. The game, at Reading's old ground, Elm Park, ended 1-1 after 120 minutes and the Royals triumphed in a penalty shoot-out.
Several people asked me when City last scored two goals in injury time. The only occurrence I can recall in the modern era is an FA Cup tie at Leicester's Filbert Street in 1999. At 90 minutes the Sky Blues were hanging on to a 1-0 lead but injury time goals from Paul Telfer and Steve Froggatt gave a final 3-0 score line. I don't think City have ever scored twice in injury time to turn a losing game to a winning one before last week.
Now City are just a two-legged tie with Crewe Alexandra away from a trip to Wembley. Crewe's record in Coventry is poor - they have won only once in 10 visits and have lost eight of those games. Conversely City have a poor record in visits to the railway town. Their only victory was a 6-1 win in 2001-02 when Lee Hughes netted what was City's last away hat trick and they have lost their last four games at Gresty Road.
Six days after progressing in the JPT the Sky Blues returned to the Ricoh to put up arguably their best home performance of the season to defeat Tranmere, the league leaders. The Sky Blues' home form has been poor this season and a place in the play-offs will only be achieved if the majority of the remaining home games yield three points. I scoured the records for previous instances of the Sky Blues beating the league leaders and I believe the last time was in February 2009 when Wolves came to the Ricoh at the top of the Championship. Goals from Michael Doyle and Leon McKenzie gave City a 2-1 win with Sam Vokes replying for the visitors. Over 21,000 watched the game and saw Keiron Westwood save an injury time penalty from Ebanks-Blake. In 1997 City beat Premiership leaders Manchester United 3-2 at Highfield Road and in 1983 Bobby Gould's Sky Blues beat First Division leaders Liverrpool in a game remembered for a Terry Gibson hat trick.
George Ling wanted to know the club's record gate for a reserve game and the highest position the reserve team achieved. The all-time record crowd for a home reserve game is 12,132 v QPR for a Football Combination game in 1964-65. The 1-0 win virtually assured City's reserves of promotion to Division 1 of the Combination, a reserve league for Southern clubs. That attendance beat the previous record of 11,700 set in 1936 v Arsenal. This was the first home game of the season and the new 'promotion' stand (the old main stand which burned down in 1968) was seen for the first time but not used.
The highest average gate for reserve games was, I believe, set in 1965-66 when the average attendance was 6,342. In 1968 City joined the Central League (for Northern club's reserve teams) and in their second home game there was a crowd of 10,302 for the visit of Manchester United. I think this is the third highest reserve crowd of all time.
On the question of highest positions, the reserves were runners up in the Birmingham & District League in 1912-13, third two seasons running in the London Combination (1937-38 & 1938-39), 2nd in the Football Combination Division 2 in 1953-54 and again in 1964-65, and 2nd in the Central League in 1973-74 and 1979-80. On the basis that the Central League was always considered to be a stronger league than the Football Combination then the two second places in the 1970s are probably the highest achievements in reserve team history.