Last Saturday's goalless draw with Walsall attracted a lot of criticism from City supporters but I for one didn't think it was as bad as several home games this season & whilst the lack of goals is a cause for concern we should be celebrating a more solid defence. Since the Cup exit to Worcester the side have conceded one goal in four matches & that was a sloppy mistake that nine times out of ten would not have been punished. Prior to Worcester they had conceded 17 goals in seven league games. Saturday's clean sheet meant that the team have two successive clean sheets for first time for over a year. The last time consecutive clean sheets were recorded was in autumn 2013 when wins over Walsall (1-0) & Notts County (3-0) took City up to 11th place despite starting with a ten points deduction.
Several fans have asked me how City's record for the calendar year compares with the worst years in the club's history. So far, in 2014, Steven Pressley's side have won 10 out of 42 league games & won 43 points. The worst calendar year was in 1984 when Bobby Gould's team won just nine games out of 43, totalling 35 points.
In a 46-game calendar year the worst record was in 2011 when Aidy Bothroyd started the year in charge but was replaced by Andy Thorn after 12 games. The team won 11 out of 46 games, earning 40 points. Other bad years were 2003, 1997 & 1996. In all of those years the side amassed only 42 points. In conclusion, therefore, it is not going to be one of the club's worst years.
I didn't mention last week that City's long run without an away victory had been ended with the 1-0 victory at Colchester. Not only was it the first away league win of the season but the first since March 29th when a Callum Wilson brace earned City a 2-1 win at Crewe. That was 11 away games without victory & just four draws. The club's worst ever away run was between January 1924 & April 1925 when they went 28 trips without a victory.
Last week I wrote about Jack Doran who appeared just once for Coventry City in 1915 but scored two goals. City fan David Selby sent me a pen picture of Doran from the Norwich City A-Z by Mike Davage & I have done some more research.
Davage's book reveals that Doran was gassed at the Battle of Somme & again at Cambrai whilst in Major Frank Buckley's 'Football Battalion'. On being demobbed after the First World War, Doran signed for three clubs within five months of 1919 (Brentford, Newcastle & Norwich). Southern League Norwich were managed at the time by Major Buckley & Doran emulated his feat for City by scoring twice on his debut for the Canaries. In 25 Southern League games the burly, curly-haired, Doran scored 18 goals before fellow Southern League club Brighton stepped in to sign him in February 1920. He scored 10 goals in 10 games for the Seagulls & ended up as top scorer for both clubs that season. That summer the complete Southern League became the new Third Division & Doran netted 21 goals (half of Brighton's total) in their first season in the League, a feat that earned him a call-up to the Ireland team that played England. In 1921-22 he continued his goalscoring, netting ten goals in his first seven games & 23 in total in a struggling side as well as winning two further Irish caps.
His phenomenal scoring attracted considerable interest from bigger clubs & in the summer of 1922 he signed for Manchester City. Doran made only three appearances for Manchester City, scoring once, before the club attempted to convert him to a centre-half. He then moved back to the Third Division for a few months with Crewe but his career was in a nose-dive. Short spells followed with Mid Rhondda United in the Southern League & Shelbourne in Ireland. He also played for Fordsons in the Irish Free State League before finishing his playing career with Boston in the Midland League. He then returned to Ireland where he coached Waterford. After retiring from football, he became a publican in the north-east of England, and died in Sunderland of the effects of tuberculosis, aged 44.