Dec. 29, 2021

Total Cov Blog #24 - Coventry City 0-1 Millwall, 29.12.2021.

Total Cov Blog #24 - Coventry City 0-1 Millwall, 29.12.2021.

After weeks since our last game, Coventry City were finally back in action tonight at home to Millwall. Huddersfield away earlier this month feels like a whole lifetime ago, despite it only being a couple of weeks in reality - both our games against Stoke and Cardiff ahead of tonight’s fixture had been postponed due to COVID outbreaks in our opponents’ respective camps. It’s been frustrating having no football to watch over the Christmas period, so I was buzzing ahead of tonight’s game!

Despite some initial uncertainty about whether Millwall would be able to field a team due to COVID, eventually the game was confirmed and ahead of kick off I felt confident that we would come away with the points tonight. The players have had a rest over the last couple of weeks, and with Millwall supposedly down to bare bones, tonight was an opportunity for us to get back into the swing of things and back to winning ways - we haven’t won since Bristol City at home at the beginning November, so it’s about time we picked up some points! I went up tonight with my mate Callum, who was of the same opinion and who shared my confidence.

I was interested to see that we were missing some key players tonight when the teams were out, most notably Simon Moore in goal. Fankaty Dabo was also not involved, Gustavo Hamer is injured at the minute I think so also missed out. Tyler Walker had beaten Viktor Gyokeres to a starting place as well, which is a big surprise and I can only assume Viktor isn’t fully fit, otherwise he’d have been involved from the start up top with Matty Godden. It was a big opportunity for Walker though - if he could impress, he may well keep his place in the side for Luton on home on Saturday.

Walker had a chance early on in the game but it looked he couldn’t sort his feet out quickly enough, and he wasn’t able to get a shot away after some good build up play from Callum O’Hare. Sadly this seemed to set the tone tonight as to how the evening would go for us - nothing was coming off for us when we got near the Millwall penalty area. There was some promising signs during the first half but that final ball or touch just wasn’t there when we needed it.

O’Hare had the best chance of the half, with the ball breaking for him around 30 yards away from goal. O’Hare managed to get a shot away from the edge of the box, but it was straight at the Millwall keeper and the rebound then just didn’t fall properly for Tyler Walker to follow up on. The majority of the half was a bit scrappy, but we were on top of Millwall and they didn’t seem up for it all.

We looked the better side by a mile, but couldn’t find a way through and there was definitely some rustiness there amongst the players. Perhaps the couple of weeks off they’ve had has been a curse rather than a blessing? I really felt that we should’ve been putting the game to bed before half time tonight, especially with Millwall looking distinctly average, but we just couldn’t find a way through despite being in the ascendency.

I would’ve liked to have seen a change made at half time to freshen things up for us. Tyler Walker had looked lazy, I wasn’t impressed with his first half performance at all - Liam Kelly had been a bit of a passenger in midfield as well, with Ben Sheaf seemingly doing most of the work in that area. As it happened though, no changes were made during the interval.

Millwall had a couple of early chances in the second half, which didn’t allow us much time to settle into the game but once we did again we looked in control. We struggled to carve out any real chances of note though, and I thought we looked like we were lacking our usual spark - something was just missing tonight. The lack of quality in the final 3rd was actually frustrating to watch, and I really thought that Mark Robins needed to make a change as soon as possible. Eventually a change came with just over 20 minutes to go - Gyokeres and Jamie Allen entered the fray but bizarrely it was Matty Godden who made way for Big Vik up front! I don’t think Walker’s performance had warranted him staying on the pitch so Robins must have known something that I didn’t. Godden had looked ok in my eyes, albeit maybe lacking match sharpness. I was happy that Liam Kelly was withdrawn in the middle though, as Jamie Allen would surely provide a lot more energy and this was what we needed at this point after what had been a lacklustre second half so far.

Callum O’Hare had a little run through and it looked like he was brought down by a Millwall defender on the edge of their box - I couldn’t tell if it was inside or out, but the referee gave nothing! No free kick or penalty, and O’Hare wasn’t punished for simulation - it looked to be a foul from where I was but if it wasn’t, then surely it was a dive? Either way, it was beginning to look like it wasn’t going to be our night.

Sure enough, with just over 10 minutes left on the clock Millwall had managed to scrape what would prove to be the winning goal. They hadn’t been in the game at all, they had been actively time-wasting and were clearly playing for a draw, but somehow the ball found its way to Tom Bradshaw in our 6 yard box off a Millwall set piece - Bradshaw duly poked it under Ben Wilson much to our frustration. It was against the run of play and undeserved but in truth, we hadn’t deserved a goal in the second half either - I’m not quite sure how the ball ended up dropping to Bradshaw either, it bounced around a couple of times and wasn’t dealt with properly by ourselves and before Wilson knew it he was picking the ball out of the net behind him.

It summed up an incredibly frustrating evening for us - we came into the game expecting a win, and ended it having been on the end of some textbook football shit-housery. We were short of quality and short of ideas in the second half especially, and I can’t recall a clear cut chance from the half which is terrible considering that we were on top of Millwall all game. We ended up desperately chasing a point in the last few minutes when we should’ve been closing the game out to secure the points. It’s woeful, and it reminded me painfully of one of those classic Football Manager type games where the computer decides it’s about time you lost despite being the better side. That kind of frustration is all too familiar to me!

I usually like to focus on the positives but I’m finding it very hard to pick any out from that performance. Nobody had a particularly good game - yes we were on top, but it didn’t take much to achieve this as Millwall had looked so poor by comparison, and when it came down to it they grabbed their chance to win with both hands and we failed to do this. I really hope that Mark Robins gives the players the hair dryer treatment ahead of Luton on Saturday as tonight’s performance was poor, there’s no other way to describe it really.

But still, it’s better than not playing at all I suppose!