Coventry City 1-2 Swindon Town: The late late show
Swindon Town made the journey to Northampton on Good Friday to face Coventry City. A late 2-1 victory was our reward, but further developments off-the-pitch proved to be a distraction as the battle for the ownership of Town continues. Writes Scott Keith.
So instead of the Ricoh Arena, it was a trip to sunken Sixfields to face Coventry in front of the most hardcore of ‘home’ fans. While sentiment is not something usually worth reserving for opponents, the collective SISU, Stadium and Coventry City Council shambles that has seen the Sky Blues move is pretty shameful and has stripped them of considerable dignity.
That didn’t stop more than 1,000 Town fans heading along for an Easter day out. Mark Cooper made minimal changes to the side after the win over Brentford. Louis Thompson was ruled out with injury so Ben Gladwin started in midfield in the same formation, and with it confirmed that Grant Hall’s season is over, there was no central defender on the bench as Darren Ward remains out of favour. Coventry had an unusually well groomed David Prutton in midfield, and Mark Marshall among their subs.
It was a brisk start, with a corner inside the opening seconds after keeper Joe Murphy produced his first good stop, a one handed save to deny Michael Smith, who’d met Alex Pritchard’s cross with a firm header. If Mr & Mrs.Murphy had put their boy on a rack from an early age, I suspect there might have been a Premier League keeper in the making.
Town soon established an early dominance with one of their more flowing displays of recent weeks, and Nathan Thompson was a regular outlet on the right. When Nathan Byrne dinked a ball into the penalty area, Thompson was the furthest player forward, and while he couldn’t get his shot away, he occupied three defenders, so when the ball broke loose, Alex Pritchard was free to drill in a shot and make it 1-0 inside 10 minutes.
It was then consistent possession and pressure, as Murphy made one further stop from Massimo Luongo’s long range effort. 22-goal Coventry striker Callum Wilson was kept in check extremrely well by Raphael Rossi-Branco, who was always in position to thud in a tackle on the forward that would stop him using his obvious pace. Jay McEveley, nominally on the left, continued to roam free and Gladwin showed another side to his game, using his tall frame to break up play with some precise tackling.
But as half-time approached with collective pats on the back imminent, John Fleck weaved his way in from midfield and his left foot shot zipped past Wes Foderingham from 25-yards and it was 1-1. If Nathan Delfouneso hadn’t headed wide, there would have been a candidate for the most unjust half- time lead of the season.
The second half was played much more as if the pitch had turned into some form of bog. It was leaden footed, and neither side really produced any sort of passing fluency. Gladwin shot just wide after winning the ball from Delfonueso and McEveley didn’t score again, thumping one into the travelling support, who were rumbling with the Miles Storey chant.
The outstanding Troy Archibald-Henville almost scored when a corner was poked back to him, but Murphy was close enough to untie his shoelaces by the time his shot arrived and smothered it.
Substitute forward Nathan Eccleston connected with one cross in stoppage time which Jack Stephens hacked clear, but then came a moment that allowed everyone to forget about the ongoing contest between Seebeck FC and AFC Swinton Reds (currently in extra time)
A thumping Luongo tackle won the ball in midfield in the final minute of stoppage time. McEveley, out on the right in his role of random, swung in a perfect cross to the edge of the six-yard box, and the not always loved Smith earned instant acclaim by heading in another Sixfields later winner.
Away end mayhem ensued, with even a sprinting Foderingham hurtling the length of the pitch to join in the fun.
With Peterborough then losing in their evening game with Bradford, sixth place remains hanging in the air for another week, like the tastiest apple at the top of the tree.
Now to find out who’s actually going to decide which of this really quite good side get new contracts.