Sunday 2 February 2014

Jim's column 1.2.14

16-year old George Thomas became the sixth youngest player in history to wear the Coventry City shirt on Tuesday night at Leyton Orient. The Welsh youngster, unknown outside the club until a few months ago, was 16 years and 310 days old and was also the third youngest player to start a competitive game for the club-  only two days older than Isaac Osbourne and 37 days older than Brian Hill. The three other younger debutants having been used as substitutes.

The top ten youngest players are now:

1. Jonson Clark-Harris (Aug 2010) 16 years 20 days (sub)
2. Ben Mackey (Apr 2003) 16 years 167 days (sub)
3. Gary McSheffrey (Apr 1999) 16 years 198 days (sub)
4. Brian Hill (Apr 1958) 16 years 273 days
5. Isaac Osbourne (Apr 2003) 16 years 308 days
6.George Thomas (Jan 2014) 16 years 310 days
7. Perry Suckling (Aug 1982) 16 years 320 days
8. George Curtis (Apr 1956) 16 years 351 days
9. Dietmar Bruck (Apr 1961) 17 years 9 days
10. Conor Thomas (Jan 2011) 17 years 71 days (sub)

Sadly the Sky Blues were unable to extend their unbeaten run of five league games at Brisbane Road and suffered their fourth away defeat of the league campaign. For the first time in a league game this season they failed to net an away goal. The highlight of the night was yet another penalty save by Joe Murphy - this time from Kevin Lisbie. The Irish keeper has excelled with spot-kicks this season, saving four of the six he has faced & I believe he set a new club record. Information about penalty saves is patchy before World War 2 but since then several keepers have saved three in a season including Bill Glazier, Jim Blyth & Murphy himself in 2011-12. Glazier's saves were in that exciting but nail-biting 1967-68 season & his saves were all away from home & from stars of the day Denis Law (Manchester United), Charlie Cooke (Chelsea) & Francis Lee (Man City). Lee, especially, was renowned as one of the top penalty takers of that era & Glazier's efforts were outstanding. Jim Blyth saved three penalties in 1977-78, another exciting season when the Sky Blues scored 75 goals & narrowly missed out on a European spot. Jim saved from Liverpool's Phil Neal in a 1-0 victory at Highfield Road, from Leicester's Dennis Rofe in a 2-1 win at Filbert Street but his most crucial save was in the last minute of the 5-4 victory over Norwich City when he foiled John Ryan's attempt to make it 5-5. In 2011-12 Joe saved from Messrs Hunt (Reading), Martin (Ipswich) & Danns (Leicester).

The curtain has fallen on Leon Clarke's Coventry City career and the unhappy striker has had his wish for a move to his hometown club granted. He has left behind a lot of bad will at the club & amongst Sky Blue supporters but at least the club have pocketed a large cheque as some compensation. His scoring record at the club was impressive with 28 goals from 43 games plus 2 substitute appearances in all competitions. This equates to an impressive scoring rate of 1.53 (a goal every 1.53 games) and he is up there with some of the great goalscorers in the club's history. You won't be surprised to learn that leading the way is the legendary Clarrie Bourton with a rate of 1.32 (182 goals in 241 games), followed by David McGoldrick 1.33 (18 in 24), George Lowrie 1.44 & Terry Bly 1.45 (29 goals in 43 games). Leon is fifth in that table and whilst he may end this season as the club's leading league scorer unless Calum Wilson or Franck Moussa overtake his total of 15 league goals, he has failed to beat McGoldrick's 16 league goals of last season which was the best haul since Dion Dublin's 18 back in 1998. Talking of Moussa I understand the Football League has awarded him the second goal at Rotherham, taking his total goals for the season to 12 (10 league & 2 Cup). I find the decision puzzling as however many times I watch the clip of the goal it looks a clear header by Cyrus Christie not Moussa but there you go.
Follow me on Twitter @clarriebourton 

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