Championship game 22

Huddersfield 1- 1Coventry City

This was the first time I had seen Coventry in person, as since 1972 we have been in different Divisions and last year we could not attend due to Covid restrictions. Having seen them on TV though I expect a tough game against a side that moved the ball quickly.

Coventry started brightly moving the ball well without any real cutting edge in the final third. A little over playing of the ball rather than pulling the trigger sooner. For us we looked a little nervy at times and struggled to string a number of passes together in their half until O’Brien cut infield releasing Toffolo who wasted no time in squaring the ball to the edge of the box for an unmarked Ward to run onto and sweep home. It was a really good free flowing move and a good finish but unfortunately we failed to replicate it again. As the first half continued it was Coventry with most of the pressing and good chances as we were often left chasing shadows. They looked after the ball well and we tended to panic in possession. The second half started a little brighter as Koroma managed to feed Holmes on the move and his effort was turned onto the post. Shortly afterwards though it was Coventry on the attack and with teh defense well beaten they unleashed a shot which came back off our post. As the half pressed on we retreated more and more trying to defend the lead that we had. The best chance of all the game fell to Pearson on the edge of the six yard area as he was all alone with just the keeper to beat but diverted his header wide of the target. It was no surprise and less than Coventry deserved when they finally equalised deep into injury time.

A share of the points flattered Town but Coventry are finding it hard at present to score and that was clear with their lack of confidence in front of goal. I’m sure it will come back again and from what I have seen of them this season they are one of the best footballing teams in the league. Equally their fans were the most vocal seen at the stadium this season, somewhat helped by the lack of Town support probably due to the lunch time kisk off, sky TV and Covid.

At present we are struggling to hold onto a lead. We are difficult to beat which is a vast improvement from recent seasons and we do well at scoring first in games, but we then invite pressure onto urselves and lack the strength in depth to change the course of a game.

Ratings

Nicholls

By far the best Town player on the park today. Continues to play with real confidence. Yes over the course of a game with the amount of the ball he sees he will make the occasional mistake but he more than makes up for it with his command of the area. His positioning makes it look like the strikers are weak, very reminscant to ‘Super’ Steve Francis. If it had not have been for Lee then we would have been well beaten.

Rating 9

Lees

Good in the air and continued to show that today. Struggled with the movement of the Coventry players but did well despite this. He is still a little slow in possesion and failes to pick out a decisive pass but there was a lack of movement in front of him.

Rating 5

Pearson

Again good in the air but a little slow in possession and at picking out that pass. He started the season really strong when attacking corners but that threat appears to have subsided and missed the best chance of the game today.

Rating 5

Colwill

A couple of good early runs forward put Coventry under pressure and helped to create openings but once we had taken the lead it was a case of dig into the trenches and defend. Inevitably we did not hold on and I feel that Colwill would be better in a side looking to take the game to the opposition. He didn’t have a bad game but again conceded possesion too many times.

Rating 5

High

One of the better players at looking after the ball today but again there were a lack of forward options for him. Defensively he did struggle though and was looking a little tired as the game progressed. I would like to see High build up his strength if he is going to remain as a holding midfielder.

Rating 5

O’Brien

Failed to really drive forward with the ball much today other than the one occasion when we scored. He put his foot in a few times but failed to real halt many attacks and turn the possession over. Not one of his better games today.

Rating 5

Toffolo

Presented a good ball for Ward to convert early on, but I would much prefer to see him operate as a left full back or in a wide left role. He comes in side a lot and then the option of a ball out to the left is no longer there for the man on the ball. One of our more committed players but not at his best yet this season in the formation e are playing.

Rating 5

Thomas

His form has dipped since his Welsh call up and you can see how much he wants to change things that he is trying almost too hard. Defensively he does a good job for us on the right and he offers himself up as our only clear outlet ball going forward by sticking to the right side of the pitch. His decisions in teh final third is where he is struggling at present and just needs to go back to the bascis. Has a tendency to take one touch too many or over hit the cross/shot. Needs to keep his head up over the ball and not always look to put his laces through it.

Rating 6

Holmes

Was lively at times but usually in our own half trying to maintain possession with 3 men on him. Has the desire but the decision making is not right, he looks to do too much too often and should just release a one time pass rather than taking 12 touches. Défense is not really his game but again I can’t fault his effort.

Rating 4

Koroma.

A number of fans were somewhat frustrated with him and certainly he is not delivering the way he did last season but the formation is different now and what he is being asked to do is different. I thought he made a nuisance of himself until being subbed. Supplied the ball for Holmes at the start of the second half which nearly resulted in a goal and was generally looking bright without any real end result. I was disappointed to see him go off as I thought he was teh better of our outfield players.

Rating 6

Ward

Took his goal really well and did have a couple of other occasions when he got on the ball, but he failed to deliver the pass or shot quickly enough. Ward looks to be enjoying his football now but needs better service on the ground. He will put himself about and challenge in the air but that is not his game.

Rating 5

King Carlos.

The Crown is certainly slipping and many Town fans are frustrated but we are in a better position than the last few years and it is not as if we are one of the Championships rich clubs. Did he gets things wrong today or is he doing the best he can with the resources available? I think he did get some things wrong but overall he is doing as well as we can hope with what we have. We were fortunate to pick up a point today. In fact over the last 6 matches we have been second best in each game but we are difficult to beat and are managing ti pick uo some points along the way. We have to make sure though that we offer more in the games particularly from a winning position.

We missed Hogg today. High is doing well but a bit of experience is needed in there as O’Brien lacks the consistancy but on his day is fantastic. The balance within the side from the left and right flanks is not right and I feel as a attacking force it makes us easy to defend against. Yes, we will get a few chances in a game but with the lack of balance we will rarely create more than 4 or 5 openings. We could change to a wing back with Toffolo on the left and Koroma in front of him as I feel that would get the best out of both of them, but then he operates on the right behind Thomas? It is clear though that as an attacking force it is not working at present.

Koroma coming off for me was the wrong move. We were not offering much upfront at the time but what we were offering was coming through him. Taking him off for the defensive Turton removed our attacking threat. I understood why he looked at Turton, but for a Holmes or High or Thomas would have been better. Again I understood bringing Campbell on but he could have left Ward on and removed Thomas or Holmes as it would have given an outlet in the final third for the guys when they won the ball.

The mentality was too negative after taking the lead and the players are lacking confidence at present. We can carry on as we are and the remaining of the season is going to be long and hard, we will pick up some points but are going to head down the table or we can try and change the formation to accommodate the resources that we have, the football may be better.

Rating 4

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