Monday, 6 January 2014

Jim's column 4.1.14

An excellent holiday period saw the Sky Blues claim seven points from three games & push up to 10th place in League One. But for a poor refereeing decision & some wayward finishing against Oldham it would have been maximum points from the festive programme. 

Both wins were terrific performances with the 4-2 win over Peterborough the first time City have twice come from behind to win a home league game since Chelsea were defeated 3-2 at Highfield Road on the opening day of the 1997-98 season. That day Dion Dublin scored a hat-trick and Leon Clarke should have had three but had a perfectly good goal ruled out for offside. 

In the Boxing Day game and on New Years Day at Rotherham a poor first half display was followed by a scintillating second half that saw deficits overturned. City have now come from behind to win on four occasions and to draw three times - the second best record in the division and a remarkable record when you consider that just over a year ago the team hadn't come from behind to win for over three years.

Former City academy players took the honours for opposing teams over Christmas with three of them netting in successive games against the Sky Blues. Swindon's Miles Storey started the run with the late winner at the County Ground in another winless day in Wiltshire - only one win in 13 league visits there since 1952. On Boxing Day Shaun Jeffers, released by the Sky Blues last summer, netted Posh's first goal and then City's youngest ever debutant, Jonson Clarke-Harris, released in 2012, scored Oldham's goal in the 1-1 draw. I don't count Storey as a former player as he never made the first team but it still means that four ex-Sky Blues have netted this season - Cody McDonald (Gillingham) and Chris Birchall (Port Vale) being the earlier ones.

The immutable law of the ex, as the famous football writer Brian Glanville described it, came into force but whilst it seems that ex-City men always score against us the statistics don't bear this out. For example Stern John played against City six times after he left before he netted and numerous prolific scorers never scored after departing. Readers wanted to know which ex-players had scored for more than one club after leaving and there a number including Bobby Gould (Wolves, Bristol C & West Ham), Ronnie Rees (WBA & Forest), Dion Dublin (Villa & Leicester), Darren Huckerby (Leeds & Man City), Robbie Keane (Spurs & Leeds) and Stuart Pearce (Forest & Man City). The best ever effort by an 'ex' though was probably the famous England test cricketer Patsy Hendren. He left City in 1911 after a brief career but came back to haunt us fifteen years later as a veteran of 37 playing for Brentford. In a 7-3 thumping at Griffin Park Patsy helped himself to four goals in what was his final season as a player.

I am not one for mid-season statistics but I have to mention Leon Clarke's scoring achievements in the calendar year of 2013. In 39 starts plus two sub appearances in the year Leon netted 27 goals in all competitions which is the best by a City player since 1963 when George Hudson netted 31 goals. Other City plays to have prolific years are the legendary Clarrie Bourton who netted 43 in 1932, 35 in 1933 and 30 in 1934, George Lowrie 39 in 1947 and Ray Straw 33 in 1958.  Leon is up there with the goalscoring giants of Coventry City's glorious history. We can only hope and pray that he stays at the club through the transfer window.

Follow me on Twitter @clarriebourton

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