Monday, 3 November 2014

Jim's column 1.11.14

With the Sky Blues losing 0-2 to Peterborough at half-time last Saturday few City fans would have been prepared to back a City victory, but even less would have bet on that outcome if they had realised that the team had failed to comeback from two down in 19 years!

But first senior goals from Ryan Haynes & Jim O'Brien & a swash-buckling third from Frank Nouble secured a famous 3-2 victory over Posh. I was aware that City had not achieved a comeback from two down since a League Cup victory over Tottenham at Highfield Road in 1995 when trailing at half-time through goals by Chris Armstrong & a Dave Busst own goal, Ron Atkinson threw Dion Dublin on & watched as goals from Peter Ndlovu (a penalty), Dave Busst & John Salako secured a third round victory. What I hadn't realised until I did my research was that two goal turnarounds are few & far between for the Sky Blues. In fact Saturday's was only the ninth such comeback since World War 2. The last five before last week were:

1995-96 Tottenham (League Cup) (h) 3-2
1985-86 Southampton (h) 3-2
1980-81 West Ham (League Cup) (h) 3-2
1970-71 Derby (a) 4-3
1963-64 Peterborough (h) 3-2

It wasn't the first time that Posh were on the wrong end of a three-goal comeback - the only comeback in the Jimmy Hill era was in a dramatic victory over Posh in the autumn of 1963. Peterborough's record at Coventry is extremely poor. Since they arrived in the Football League in 1959 they have played nine away games against City but having won on their first visit in 1961 they have lost seven & drawn one of the subsequent games.

When the dearth of similar comebacks was revealed many readers wondered how often we have been on the receiving end of a comeback from two down. Since World War 2 there have been 14 instances, four of them in the last 14 years. The last five will bring bad memories to some City supporters:

2008-09 Watford (h) 2-3
2002-03 Ipswich (h) 2-4
2000-01 Aston Villa (a) 2-3
1999-00 Charlton (FA Cup) (h) 2-3
1987-88 Southampton (h) 2-3

Four of the five were at home with the Villa Park defeat the result that condemned the Sky Blues to relegation from the Premier League & the Charlton Cup defeat (a last minute Jonathan Hunt goal sending City out of the Cup) was for me the start of the club's slow & sad decline to where they are today.

James Maddison didn't get on to the pitch last week but did celebrate a milestone by scoring his first City goal at Oldham's Boundary Park four days earlier. James, who is not 18 until later this month, scored with the help of a deflection off a defender but became the fourth youngest goalscorer in the club's history. The ten youngest are now:

1. Brian Hill v Gillingham (a) 1957-58 16 years 273 day
2. Colin Holder v Shrewsbury (a) 1960-61 17y 78d
3.Tom English v Bristol City (h) 1979-80 17y 307d
4. James Maddison v Oldham (a) 2014-15 17y 332d
5. Willie Carr v Charlton (FAC) (h) 1967-68 18y 21d
6. Peter Hill v Preston 1949-50 (a) 18y 33d
7.Ellis Lager v Bournemouth (h) 1935-36 18y 93d
8. Conor Thomas v Blackpool (a) 2011-12 18y 94d
9. Bobby Gould v Mansfield (LC) (h) 1964-65 18y 124d
10. Steve Sedgley v Oldham (LC) (h) 1986-87 18y 155d
                                                     Brian Hill

Keith Ballantyne asked me how many appearances Spanish International Vicente Engonga made for the Sky Blues during his brief spell at the club in 2002-03. Engonga, a defensive midfield player who played over 350 La Liga appearances for Celta Vigo, Valencia & Mallorca & won 14 Spanish caps, joined City on a short-term contract in February 2003. City were struggling badly at the time (they went 21 league games with only one win during that spring) and in his eight appearances (including three as a substitute) he made little impact on the club's woeful form.

He played in the following games:

Rotherham (a) lost 0-1
Bradford City (h) lost 0-2
Grimsby (a) sub won 2-0
Preston (a) sub drew 2-2
Derby (a) sub lost 0-1
Stoke (h) lost 0-1
Gillingham (h) drew 0-0
Millwall (a) lost 0-2

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