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Late Routledge winner gives Hoofroyd the blues - full match report
Late Routledge winner gives Hoofroyd the blues - full match report
Monday, 24th Jan 2011 20:51 by Clive Whittingham

QPR opened up a five point gap at the top of the Championship with a hard fought 2-1 home victory against Coventry in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Sunday.

Justice was the watch word at Loftus Road on Sunday afternoon. For the thick end of 80 minutes it looked like any semblance of it was going to desert a QPR side that was so obviously superior to its opposition it would have been a travesty had it not taken all three points. Wayne Routledge’s late winner was not only a great relief to the majority inside Loftus Road, but a victory for style and positive football over brute strength and cynicism.

Coventry, a non-league side in style and morals, were kept in the match right to the death because of the performances of two players; a goalkeeper who has long since realised he is best off away from this sorry excuse for a football team and will leave for free in the summer, and a striker who shouldn’t playing the game at all having accumulated 14 previous convictions for punching women in the face and driving around in stolen cars. Keiren Westwood made two tremendous saves and got lucky when a free kick from Alejandro Faurlin hit the inside of his post and stayed out. Marlon King led their line superbly and predictably opened the scoring after being barracked in various amusing ways by the home supporters.

Had a side so limited in ability, ideas and ambition beaten this QPR team with a goal from someone who would still be in jail if we had a proper judicial system I don’t think I’d have ever believed in the word justice again.

Coventry manager Aidy Boothroyd says his team isn’t a long ball outfit, it’s merely efficient. Here they combined a mind numbing style of play with flagrant time wasting, injury feigning, shameful attempts to get an opponent sent off, and play acting in a deplorable, faith sapping performance for which everybody connected with the club should be abjectly ashamed. They haven’t won in eight league games now – there’s that justice word again.

QPR deserve huge credit. They were forced to watch on Saturday as Cardiff, Swansea, Leeds, Norwich and Forest all picked up points to lay down a formidable gauntlet. That heaped pressure on Neil Warnock’s league leaders to perform in a live Sky game which has proven difficult for them in the past. They were able to win the arm wrestle with the division’s most physical side with Shaun Derry a tower of strength and find ways of getting the ball on the ground and at the feet of their talented players and game winners. This felt like a big, and fully justified, victory when the final whistle finally sounded.

There was a fresh look about the QPR side that took the field just after 1pm with Wayne Routledge given a start just days after returning to the club for a second spell on loan from Newcastle and Ishmael Miller taking his place on the bench after arriving from West Brom on Saturday. Routledge played behind Heidar Helguson with Adel Taarabt and Tommy Smith for company. Alejandro Faurlin shook off the effects of a knock picked up at Burnley to partner Shaun Derry in midfield while at the back the usual defence of Bradley Orr, Kaspars Gorkss, Matthew Connolly and Clint Hill played in front of Paddy Kenny the goalkeeper with the arrival of former hero Danny Shittu apparently imminent.

Rangers had beaten Coventry comfortably at their IKEA distribution centre three weeks ago and possibly with that in mind Boothroyd picked Fredy Eastwood up front alongside disgraced striker Marlon King rather than Clive Platt who was laughably bad in the first meeting. They had long throw expert Aron Gunnarsson back in midfield too but came into the game on a run of seven league matches without a win.

Routledge wasted little time in making an impact. After just five minutes he found himself running through the heart of the Coventry defence on the end of a move that had started with a neat touch off from Helguson on halfway and subsequently included eye catching passes from first Smith and then Taarabt. On this occasion City got enough men around the Newcastle loanee and crowded him out of possession on the edge of the area.

A minute later Taarabt and Smith combined again, this time with a neat one two on the edge of the area, but the Moroccan snatched at his chance and ended up skewing a strange mishit cross shot high across the face of the goal and away from danger.

And then with the time barely in double figures Routledge produced two cracking low balls into the penalty area. The first found Taarabt at the back post and his shot was blocked by Wood. The second came almost immediately with Rangers successfully maintaining possession around the box allowing Routledge to pick out Helguson at the back post but the Icelandic striker contrived to head down into the turf and subsequently up over the bar with Westwood committed to the near post and the goal crying out to be scored.

It took Coventry 13 minutes to register an attack of any sort. Marlon King, who may well be a scumbag but was the only outfield player in the visiting team who looked anything like good enough to play at this level, cut into the QPR area and drilled a low shot that Paddy Kenny required two attempts to gather.

Although normal service was quickly resumed with Taarabt hitting a venomous low left footed shot that seemed to catch Westwood off guard and rebounded back into play off the goalkeeper’s legs Coventry then pressed again by winning a corner kick on the counter attack and then keeping the ball alive in the six yard box during a nervy goal mouth scramble that was eventually cleared. Another counter was brilliantly seen off by Derry who showed a previously unseen turn of pace to catch Baker and rob him of possession as he crossed the halfway line looking menacing.

The visiting team’s tactic, if it can be decreed as such, to deal with Taarabt and Routledge was to hit both players with rough sliding tackles the very second either of them received the ball. This seemed to intimidate Taarabt rather, who occupied a variety of different positions right across the attacking line throughout the game looking for space to have an affect, and brought the first booking of the game 20 minutes in when Doyle deliberately upended Routledge in full flight on halfway. This was one of the few decisions referee Mark Haywood managed to complete promptly and correctly in what started off as an eccentric display of officiating but had me tearing what remains of my hair out by the end of the game.

The free kick was worked wide to the left for Smith to send in a cross that Helguson met well with a header that was blocked in the six yard box – vocal appeals for a handball were waved away by the referee. Reprieved but still under pressure Coventry were indebted to Westwood who flung himself acrobatically into the air to turn Shaun Derry’s beautifully struck half volley over the bar with one hand. The subsequent corner was again only half cleared and Derry’s midfield partner Faurlin tried his luck with a similar effort but couldn’t keep the shot on target.

It was all QPR at this stage and so it came as an unwelcome shock when Coventry took the lead out of the blue. The identity of the scorer sadly came as no surprise though. After an initial long ball into the left channel Coventry actually played some decent football for the first time with Eastwood and then McSheffrey combining after Bradley Orr was left badly outnumbered in the right back spot. McSheffrey swung over a low cross, Connolly lunged for the ball at the near post and missed it and Marlon King could hardly miss from four yards out in the centre of the goal.

King had been barracked from the start of the game by the QPR fans but he was Coventry’s outstanding player by some distance and deserved his goal for an excellent display of target man play. That said, particularly in the first half, I felt Matt Connolly was too timid with him, constantly allowing the ball to bounce and giving King a chance to muscle his way in. That improved in the second half but you can see why Neil Warnock is interested in adding the physical presence of Danny Shittu to his backline.

QPR hadn’t looked, and the crowd hadn’t sounded, nervous before this despite the pressure of the situation but there was an air of doom hanging around the place as the game restarted. For five consecutive seasons now Coventry have come to Loftus Road and got a result, including a game last season where QPR absolutely battered them for 88 minutes and somehow left with only a 2-2 draw. Were we in for a repeat? Keiren Westwood, as he has done every year at Loftus Road, began his blatant clock running exercise with the goal kicks immediately.

On the half hour we got to see the good and the bad of Adel Taarabt summed up perfectly in two moves. First he kept a ball from Gorkss in tight to the byline near the corner flag, skinned his full back and then travelled along the line into the area before firing into the side netting. An impressive piece of skill that deserved better. Then in the next move two minutes later he tried to do too much, gave the ball away in a bad area and set up a Coventry counter attack that ended with Fredy Eastwood, well placed for a shot, dragging a tame effort across the face of the goal and out for a goal kick.

Referee Mr Haywood had, to this point, controlled the game in what I would call an eccentric manner. He bumbled around the field missing obvious decisions, repeatedly guessing with throw ins, and often relying on his linesman to give fouls that had taken place right in front of him. A farce erupted before half time when a Coventry player hit the ground with a head injury and City kicked the ball out of play for a throw in. What should have happened then was a QPR player throw the ball in and another Ranger return it down the field to Westwood. Bizarrely he let Coventry take the throw in that they had kicked out and then ordered the ball to go back to Kenny. When Coventry vehemently protested at this arrangement he simply shrugged and waddled off down the field. It was almost like a Sunday league game where the referee fails to turn up so one of the dads has to do it.

The farce deepened seven minutes before half time when Shaun Derry was booked for what looked to me like the best tackle of the match – hard, but perfectly fair and executed with just the one foot placed cleanly on the ball. Rangers were then awarded a rare free kick of their own to ironic cheers from the home support but Taarabt’s awesome delivery into the six yard box caught his team mates flat footed. In the next attack he ignored them and went himself, drilling a fraction wide of the post from distance with Westwood panicking.

That was merely an interlude to Derry act two. Five minutes after he’d been booked the former Palace man, magnificent at the heart of the QPR midfield to this point, went up for a header with Michael Doyle and won the ball cleanly. Doyle hit the ground clutching his head and Haywood immediately stopped the play. There then formed a procession of Coventry City players past and present from miles around massing at the feet of the referee – coach trips started to arrive, City legends long since retired flew in from foreign climes, and soon there were hundreds of them crowding round Mr Heywood en mass like Muslims heading to Mecca making huge exaggerated gestures with their arms to say that Derry had in fact attacked their team mate with his elbow and should therefore be sent off. It was a shameful display of gamesmanship. One Eastern European player flashing an imaginary yellow card at a referee after being tripped by an opponent is bad enough but a whole plethora of players crowding an official demanding that an opponent be dismissed is a disgrace. And it got worse.

When it became clear that Derry was not going to be sent off Doyle, who you’d have been forgiven for thinking may have been suffering from a fractured skull and brain bleed such was the reaction of his team mates and indeed him on the ground, made the most miraculous recovery since Jesus met two blind geezers in Galilee. Up to his feet he leapt, without even any need for treatment from a physio – which wasn’t half bad for a man who just moments earlier had been calling for a priest to come and read him his rights. To go with this literally disgusting act of gamesmanship Coventry, who had been out of possession and defending at the time of the incident, kindly returned the ball to QPR by way of hacking it out for a throw in deep in the Rangers half. And just to rub salt in the wounds Aidy Boothroyd just stood on the touchline and waved for his players to press forward and pen QPR in. Sportsmanship? The horrible little prick probably couldn’t even spell it.

Here comes that word justice again. QPR, newly fired up by the incident, went on to equalise and then go very close to taking the lead in the three minutes of stoppage time that was only added because of Doyle’s cheating and Westwood’s time wasting. Sometimes, sometimes, life is very sweet indeed.

Three minutes were added, and in the first of those Adel Taarabt pulled a Paddy Kenny free kick out of the air with one touch, tied McSheffrey and the leaden footed Richard Keogh in complete knots with a step over and drop of the shoulder and then lifted the ball calmly over Westwood and into the net. No doubt the Coventry players expected him to cut inside and do what he did but sometimes he’ just too good to stop. Westwood watched on the big screen to see how he’d done it and walked away shaking his head – the point that both teams would have been in the sheds with Coventry in front had he played the game in the spirit it was intended probably didn’t occur to him.

And it nearly got even worse as Rangers flung everybody forward right from the kick off looking for a second goal that almost arrived when Clint Hill struck a half volley from the edge of the area after City had failed to clear but couldn’t keep the ball under the crossbar. Half time, and the mood around the place had been changed completely in a dramatic three minutes that should never have taken place.

City did start the second half in a more positive frame of mind. Again Marlon King was at the heart of everything good they did as his touch off sent Baker away on a long, winding run that carried him right across the QPR half into the area where he slid a ball across the face of goal for Jutkiewicz who stretched out a leg at the far post but couldn’t make contact. Jutkiewicz was a new arrival, on at half time for Fredy Eastwood who, along with Gary McSheffrey, had been the only one in the first half trying to get the ball down on the floor to play which is possibly why he was removed and replaced with another big bastard who could field the punts down field more adequately.

At the other end more crazy refereeing started the second half as the first had ended. Heidar Helguson was first grabbed, then pulled and finally wrestled to the floor by Richard Wood in perhaps the most blatant foul we will see all season. Referee Haywood, all of five yards away, gave nothing only to then allow himself to be overruled by a linesman standing 30 yards away. Shambolic. Nevertheless it would all have been forgotten had Alejandro Faurlin scored with the free kick – instead he curled a beautiful left footed shot around the wall, past Westwood, against the inside of the post, all the way along the goal line and then agonisingly out for a goal kick on the other side. He could scarcely have come closer to scoring.

The wrestling match was to be Helguson’s last action of the game with the Icelandic striker clearly signalling he had a problem to the bench and them limping off. Ishmael Miller came on for his QPR debut as his replacement and proceeded to win every single header he went for over the course of the next 35 minutes. It’s fair to say he is a big old unit, and I doubt it will be long before the old ‘Bruno, Bruno’ chants are heard around Shepherds Bush for the first time since Devon White lumbered around our hallowed turf back in the day.

Coventry’s best moments in the second half came just before the hour mark. First Paddy Kenny was forced to juggle the ball and then beat Jutkiewicz in his six yard box before clearing a dodgy back pass he’d received. And before hearts had fully returned to chests from mouths around the ground he was called into more conventional, and spectacular, action by Marlon King.

Faurlin got the wrong side of O’Halloran and brought him down setting up a free kick 25 yards out and well left of centre. King came out of the area to have a look, and you know when a centre forward takes himself out of the mix he clearly fancies his chances with a direct shot. Indeed he did, hitting a powerful low drive after a small lay off and beating the wall all ends up. Kenny did brilliantly to get all the way across his goal from the side he was covering and then save the shot right down by his right hand post but having pushed the ball back into the six yard box rather than away the Irish keeper was then forced to make a fantastic recovery stop at point blank range as Jutkiewicz raced in for what seemed like a certain goal. Kenny eventually fell on the loose ball in the six yard box to the palpable relief of the majority inside Loftus Road. For all the long periods of inaction Kenny had to sit through on Sunday, those two saves mean three more points can be put on the ever growing list of results he has earned us this season with the form of his career.

From that point on the domination by QPR was total.

Kaspars Gorkss sounded the first warning, rising majestically at the far post to power Taarabt’s well flighted corner goalwards only to see it blocked away in the six yard box. Then Tommy Smith cut in from the right flank and worked room for a curling shot that flashed a foot or so wide of the top corner with Westwood always confident in his angles. And finally Miller collected the ball on his chest on the edge of the area, used his strength to turn and accelerate into the area and then unloaded a fine shot that had goal written all over it only for Westwood to produce a save of the season contender with his finger tips to divert it around the post. Still, on this evidence, I like the look of big Miller very, very much indeed. A proper handful who extracted a booking from O’Halloran who brought him down in full flight.

Boothroyd sent on the objectionable Sammy Clingan for Michael Doyle in an attempt to stem the growing tide of QPR attack. The Northern Irish midfielder’s first touch came when King brilliantly set him up on the edge of the area but he skied a very presentable shot high into the sparsely populated away following. Doyle will join Sheffield United this week, for reasons known only to Mickey Adams.

With the attacks coming in waves Wayne Routledge repeated Adel Taarabt’s first half trick of retrieving a cross into the area right on the byline and then showing tremendous touch and skill to bring it under control, flick it over his marker, and run along the line towards the goal. With Smith crying out for a pull back Routledge went himself and his low shot hit Westwood’s legs and went out for a corner.

Routledge didn’t have to wait long for his goal though – two minutes later Taarabt put it on a plate for him. It’s worth pointing out that the move started with a rare throw out from Paddy Kenny – a tactic we should have employed more on Sunday as Coventry were comfortable whenever we went direct and out of their depth whenever we passed the ball. The throw to Hill was then passed onto Taarabt and from that point on it was sheer genius. With the outside of his right foot he bent a majestic ball in behind the Coventry defence with the perfect weight to keep it away from Westwood. It landed plum on the toe of Wayne Routledge who showed an immaculate first touch to kill it stone dead with his right foot and then in the blink of an eye slotted it home calmly with his left. A goal of true beauty.

Last season QPR were at their free flowing best against Coventry but had to settle for a 2-2 after shipping a late goal from a set piece. Boothroyd immediately slung on yet another big rugged striker just to make them even more likeable and easy on the eye, Clive Platt joined King and Jutkiewicz in an attack that looked like it should be lining up in a Russian prison team rather than a Championship side and the biggest aerial bombardment London has seen since the war began in earnest.

Warnock sensibly introduced Fitz Hall for Tommy Smith to add height and presence to the QPR backline and Rangers were able to see it through. This despite the Coventry defenders laughably hitting the ground in a variety of theatrical ways under meagre contact from chasing QPR players which resulted in numerous free kicks going into the area, a barrage of long throws from Aron Gunnarsson, and a couple of corners including one that My Heywood plucked clean out of thin air after Platt had clearly headed the ball out himself.

In both games this season City have only ever looked like threatening QPR when the ball is at the feet of McSheffrey and Eastwood so their switch to an all out unashamed attack from the air in the closing stages probably suited us more than it did them. Still, it’s not a long ball game, it’s merely efficient according to Boothroyd who hilariously claimed afterwards that the only difference between these two sides is Adel Taarabt. My. Arse.

This victory, achieved through a mixture of superior ability and sheer determination, felt like a big one. The gauntlet had been laid down on Saturday with victories for Cardiff and Norwich and points for Leeds and Swansea – the pressure was on but QPR showed they have the stones for a fight on both the pitch and the league table. Whenever we had the ball on the ground, at the feet of Taarabt, Routledge, Faurlin and Smith, Coventry had literally no answer to it and no way of stopping us. The only time they looked able to compete was when King had the ball, or when QPR found themselves drawn into a scrap in the middle of the field that enabled Gunnarsson, Doyle and latterly Clingan to kick, bite and niggle like a pack of stray dogs. Even then, Shaun Derry was impressive once again.

The star men other than Derry were clearly Routledge and Taarabt. As well as being outstanding individuals at this level, and Taarabt’s contributions for both goals were vintage brilliance, the pair seem to combine really well. Taarabt can be criticised sometimes for failing to pass to a team mate when that is a better option than holding onto the ball, but that never seems to be a problem with Routledge who he was constantly looking to link up with through a combination of short one twos and long crossfield passes. It was cheekily suggested in the bar afterwards that perhaps he only passes to players he rates.

It’s been said this season that Cardiff have a better attack than QPR but we are stronger defensively. With Miller impressing as a sub and looking, if he can get fit and run the rustiness out of his legs, like he has the potential to be almost unplayable in this division and with Routledge, Smith, Taarabt and later Buzsaky to come in and support him and Hulse and Helguson other options I’d question whether that is still the case.

It could be a key week in our season with Sunday and Saturday games giving us a chance to gain six points on our rivals who, Norwich and Forest apart, don’t play at all in that period. With the new additions and the clear determination etched across the faces of our players in this game I’m actually reasonably confident about us winning away again for the first time in a while. We shall see at Hull City on Saturday.

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QPR: Kenny 7, Orr 7, Connolly 6, Gorkss 6, Hill 7, Derry 8, Faurlin 7, Routledge 8 (Ephraim 90, -), Taarabt 8, Smith 7(Hall 83, -), Helguson 6 (Miller 55, 7)

Subs Not Used: Cerny, Clarke, Hulse, Moen

Booked: Derry (foul)

Goals: Taarabt 45 (assisted Kenny), Routledge 79 (assisted Taarabt)

Coventry: Westwood 8, Keogh 5, Wood 6, Cranie 6, O'Halloran 6, Gunnarsson 6, Doyle 5 (Clingan 67, 6), Baker 6, McSheffrey 6 (Platt 79, 5),King 8, Eastwood 7 (Jutkiewicz 46, 6)

Subs Not Used: Ireland, Bell, Clarke, Cameron

Booked: Doyle (foul), O'Halloran (foul)

Goals: King 25 (assisted McSheffrey)

QPR Star Man – Wayne Routledge 8 A couple of other candidates, chiefly Derry and Taarabt, but this was a fine return from Routledge who revelled in the lack of pace in the Coventry defence, scored a brilliantly taken goal and was unlucky not to get a couple of assists to his name after producing some wicked deliveries from wide areas. A good signing.

Referee: Mark Haywood (W Yorkshire) 5 No big decisions to get wrong, so the mark cannot be too low, but a truly eccentric performance that looked like that of a man annoyed at being made to work on a Sunday and hungover from a big Saturday out cannot attract any more than a five. Apart from the guess work involved in so many decisions, the obvious fouls and handballs he missed on a constant basis and occasionally had to have given for him by linesmen, he spent the final ten minutes of the game giving Coventry a succession of free kicks for laughable dives by their defenders under no contact whatsoever. He finished by giving them a last chance to salvage a draw from a corner that was an obvious goal kick.

Attendance: 13,185 (400 Coventry approx) It was a shame that Marlon King scored because the chants directed his way were actually reasonably original and witty by our poor recent standards. In a small attendance, not helped by a tiny travelling party from Coventry, I thought the QPR fans were louder than they have been and I wonder whether we were perhaps acting up for the cameras as well as responding to the decent football from our team. Whatever the reason it was nice to hear a bit of volume around the place.



Photo: Action Images

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YorkRanger added 21:15 - Jan 24
The two paragraphs describing the "alleged " elbow by Derry on Doyle are pure genius.

silky added 21:24 - Jan 24
Thanks Clive, been waiting all day for this, Top report, Agree with MOM he certianly played his part!


Hoopstar added 21:29 - Jan 24
Its why I get narked when posters claim without Taarabt we'd be a lower mid-table side. Coventry are the prototype lower mid-table Championship team and while a couple of brilliant Tarbs moments may have led to the two goals we were clearly a class apart from them and would be so even without Taarabt although we are all very glad he is at the club and performing like he has been.

Coventry were utterly dire. Top report as usual.

LeedsR added 21:30 - Jan 24
Another excellent write up Clive. Your comments on the two tools of the afternoon ie Mark Haywood and Hoofroyd are spot on. What match were both of these jokers watching? Haywood seemed to be making the rules up as he went along, and the number of fouls that he missed, were it not for the fact his linesmen seemed to be doing his job for him, would have been even more laughable. Fortunately it didn't affect the end result.

Boothroyd was having a laugh wasn't he. We were all over them. No wonder they haven't won in the last 8 matches if he views them with such blinkers.

Routledge and Miller (if he can stay fit) look to be inspired signings. They're a clear declaration of intent and if they can take the pressure off Taarabt by being threats in their own rights, the second half of the season looks an exciting prospect indeed.

PS - liked the Fulham fan article too. Glad you made it back from Burnley ok. Thanks to Northern Rail, I was stuck on the other platform with a load of others wanting to go the other way. Didn't get back to Leeds till 9 - so much for a local away game!

Elliott42 added 21:34 - Jan 24
Great report Clive. We were so dominant on the day, it would have been disastrous if we would have only come away with a point. I remember this game last year. We were flying, magilton stupidly decided to take Taarabt off, and that cost us the win. I'm still convinced now that, that was the turning point last season.
A great win yesterday which had a bit of everything. Routledge and Taarabt linked up very well. Miller looked decent when he come on, and if he can get fully fit, it looks like he could slot in well. Tough trip to Hull next week, but a chance to go 8 points clear! How good would that sound.

baldyhoop added 21:45 - Jan 24
Great write up as always. Still chuckling at the comments on Alistair Campbell last week! Cov were not pretty but I thought they were a lot better than the game at their soulless place. Shame the panto villain scored but tbh I was still laughing at the kum by yah song. You can't script such genius
Thanks for you reports - always liven up the week.

coventrydouglas added 22:00 - Jan 24
As a Coventry fan, this report is hilarious.
Not because you act as if Marlon King is the first person involved in football ever to do something terrible even though the reason you are doing so well, Mr Ecclestone, is a guy who thinks Hitler was pretty cool and has made some sexist comments that would make Andy Gray and Richard Keys blush.
It's not even because, for someone who claims to be an expert on our 'non-league' side you mix up our players repeatedly.
It is because you have unfathomable hatred for a club that shouldn't even be on your radar. You are sailing towards promotion and have fantastic players. Don't worry about our little struggling club. You seem to have some moral crusade against us whereas most neutrals who watched the match have hailed our contribution to a fantastic game.
There are plenty of teams in this league who play horrible football so I don't know why you pick on us. Maybe Jimmy Hill was a nasty uncle of yours. Possibly you were showered in some of Gordan Strachan's spit during the mid-90s. Perhaps you preferred ELO's earlier work and thought they sold out with Mr Blue Sky.
Whatever it is, just chill out.

Northernr added 22:17 - Jan 24
As responses go Douglas it's not a bad one, made me smile.

Tell me, do you enjoy watching Coventry this season?

Watford_Ranger added 22:32 - Jan 24
I think the most alarming thing you've said is that it was a fantastic game. There was one team trying to get the ball down and entertain and another looking to seemingly smash the ball at the corner flags á la Wimbledon mixed in with the sort of play-acting and niggly tactics Uruguay would drool at.

extratimeR added 22:41 - Jan 24
Great report Clive, having had the pleasure of watching Coventry twice now, (once on the box and live yesterday), I can only wonder at whats required for a coaching badge from the FA ? is this what they are now turning out? theirs a lot of Boothroyds in the four Divisions, with full badges, all of whom deny they play long ball, as you say apart from King, who was very effective, and Westwood who played well, (but rode his luck), the other nine just launched it either at the corners for throw ins or just "Hoofed" it towards Paddy. Watching them every week must be painful.
Loved the Derry story!, when that clown was first tackled, (nothing wrong with it), he sat on the turf holding his ankle, when the "hordes" turned up, he rolled backwards holding his head.
I liked Miller a lot, looked very tidy with his head, and "put himself about" as well, had to laugh/groan at Heywood when he blew up in the corner at the end, when Miller shouldered the Coventry bloke off the ball, then Heywood did it again 30 seconds later to Adel for god knows what! Never understand why neither Derry or Kenny get in the Team of the week?

Thanks Clive!

qprmick added 23:06 - Jan 24
Can't wait to see Miller and Danny up for corners, should be easy pickings. I didn't think Coventry were that bad, without Adel and Routledges moments of magic we might well have been lucky to get a draw.

BlackCrowe added 23:20 - Jan 24
Douglas - lol...quality writing. Kind of wrong in my opinion (though I thought you lot looked sharp in attack in the first half) but good stuff nonetheless.

barbicanranger added 23:20 - Jan 24
This report is pure genius, had me chuckling through out.

Looking forward to Hull away - as you say if Miller can shake the rust we could have a very potent attacking line.

U R's.

simmo added 00:12 - Jan 25
Ha ha! Really douglas you compare 14 individual convictions ( which means they were proven to be factual) to someone possibly mis quoted regarding Hitler who has also made some sexist comments...

What's that? You think Hitlers tash was quite funny and you wouldn't half mind getting hold of Nigellas trifles?? Off to Parkhurst you menace!

SheffieldSteve added 00:35 - Jan 25
Great assessment Clive, and I agree with you about Routledge as 'man of the match', he played a blinder, great pass for his goal from Adel, but so well taken. We were very good, Miller looks an awesome signing, and, of course, Routledge is a great signing too. Looking forward to visiting Hull on Saturday :-D U Rs!

WallyRanger added 00:35 - Jan 25
I thought coventry had moments where they passed it around and tried playing football, They look a bit like a poor mans QPR on paper but they play more direct, and lack a quality Taarabt player, and have players weaker in other positions than ours. So nowhere near as good as us, but probably effective at what they do. They missed Carsley i think, i watched the match at the Richo Library on telly and he does the dirty work like Derry does for us, except Derry's far better i think.
Liked the article on AKUTR's by the way, first time my old mans been called sensible (regarding the Foolhahaham fan) before i think :)

NorwayRanger16 added 00:45 - Jan 25
"She said no Marlon, she said no", it's still stuck in my mind and made me and my friends LOL on sunday.
We sat right on top of where Adel hit his sublime pass for the winning goal, it was so well executed that it was hard to believe what we had just witnessed!
Massive win and a fantastic result to kick on with.

Brilliant report, spot on, the ref was dreadful. Any Coventry fans refering to this as a great game, i feel for you.
To win games like this you first have to win the battle, and make no mistake, this was a battle first and foremost. Happe to see this kind of grit from our team and happy to see the back of Coventry for a while.

Miller looks immense, a sure starter for me. He must have been moulded in the Cyrille Regis / Les Ferdinand cast, pace, tecnique and strenght in abundance.

E3ranger added 03:06 - Jan 25
Brilliant report as per - completely summed up the feeling of a "just" 3 points when I was stewing angrily at 1 nil down.

themodfather added 03:43 - Jan 25
we had a good claim for handball in first half, but this ref seemed not to want to make decisions or book players.
kenny again made vital saves, smith i thought worked so hard but his final touch let him down.
adel seemed "switched off" and then explodes into action and scores a cracker and sets up a sublime, world class winner....many asking how long before adel is truly among our "legends" like stan,rod,wgerle,stainrod....??
derry was excellent, surely one of the best signings in ages?
we could've had 4 or 5, i was usprised stats showed cov had as many or near as, shots on target as qpr...big win and a nice 5 pt gap and +28 goal diff too.

JB007007 added 08:37 - Jan 25
Many positives to take from this game.
Its all been said but, Routledge and Taarabt looked really good together on Sunday. I am also hoping to hold my hands up high soon after doubting the Miller signing. If and when he's fit he looks as though he can add a bit more up top for us. Thought he created his chance that Westwood saved exceptionally well. Not many defenders in this division will be able to handle him.
A note on the ref, the fitness tests these guys have to pass must be pretty easy. He just couldn't keep up.
Roll on Hull.

SomersetHoops added 08:49 - Jan 25
Great stuff Clive. With the exception of one extraordinary solo goal I remember from Devon White, I would say Miller is more of an Ali than a Bruno just hope he stays fit.

SuffolkHoop added 09:42 - Jan 25
Great report as usual, the longer we go on at the top of the league the more opposition fans you seem to upset!

Myke added 10:23 - Jan 25
A good hard fought victory. King, whatever one thinks of him personally, is a top striker at this level and caused Conolly all sorts of trouble all afternoon. Not convinced about him, he's too easily bullied and possibly Shittu is a better option at this level. Ironically Conolly may do better in the prem where strikers depend more on guile than brute force

RandomRanger added 11:18 - Jan 25
WOW! Clive, I know you dislike Aidy and his 'tactics' (as I do) but can't help thinking this is the first report I think you've written that comes from the heart rather than the head.

Keep up the great work. I can honestly say that your views on the game absolutely mirror my own - it's rare you find that from reporters nowadays, so your blog is always an enjoyable read.


jonno added 11:31 - Jan 25
Superb report which is exactly how I saw the game, brilliant Clive!

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