COVENTRY CITY V REDS MATCH REPORT Some health issues had determined that I would not see a Reds match for several months, so it was nice to get back to the excitement of live football again. Unbeaten Barnsley against a Coventry City side finding its feet in League One after promotion last season and with the additional piquance of Mark Robins facing the club from which he resigned some seasons ago over, I think, the sale of key players, such as Jason Shackell. The pitch in the very plastic sky blue stadium looked immaculate – hope it stays so after Wasps Rugby have scuffed it up a bit. The following side took the pitch: Davies Cavare Pinnock Lindsay Pinillos Brown Dougall Mowatt Thiam Bahre Moore So, no Potts, who is still injured and Jacob Brown in for a first full game debut after some useful cameos, notably at Scunthorpe earlier in the season and Bahre in for Moncur. The first half It was very scrappy for the first few minutes, neither side being able to string together any coherent moves and the ball held for no more than three/four passes by either team. There was an early scare for the Reds when Conor Chaplin, in whom we were reportedly interested to sign, found himself with a clear sight of goal from the right side of the area, but placed his left foot shot wide of the left-hand post. I was expecting the net to bulge. It was a let-off and resulted from some sloppy play at the back by us. Jacob Brown then had two good chances to give us the lead. Firstly, he was alert and quick-sharp to intercept a poor pass across the Coventry defence, but the keeper, Burge, who was to have an outstanding game, got the end of a boot on to it and deflected it on to the post and out. It looked a bad miss on live viewing, but it was actually a really good save – and only just at that. Young Jacob then had another clear shooting chance as a result of neat build-up play, but, a bit like Chaplin, side-footed precisely, but wide. I don’t think this was nervousness by Jacob. He did well to get into the right positions to receive those chances, showed alertness and quick-thinking in the first and the goals will surely come for him on this showing. He did not seem to let it phase him, which is another good sign. It should be said that, at times, Coventry were finding their form, and their young and quick side’s passing gave them some spells of very good possession in which the Robins mantra of a fast, passing game was on show to good effect. Luke Thomas was specially impressive. The Derby loanee looks a real find and one for the future as Harvey Barnes was for us last half season. Watch out for him in the future. So to half time without any significant scares. Second half: The Reds started with a greater sense of purpose and commitment and looked more dangerous than at most times in the first half. The moment of the match from the Reds’ point of view was some very good build-up play bringing the ball to the feet of Mamadou Thiam, who tricked the defender to go outside, then cut back on to his right foot to send a screamer towards the top right corner of Burge’s goal, only for the effort to be met by a world class save in terms of agility and reflexes. Not that I was ever a Wednesday fan, but he did remind me of Ron Springett (and maybe Peter) in that moment. Great save. Unlucky Mama. It then looked as though Coventry had taken the lead when our defence didn’t clear and the ball ended up pinging back across the box for Chaplin to slot home. It was impossible to tell from where I was sitting, but it looked tight and, on the replays, it looked inexplicable, but still. Lucky for us this time, but the warning signs were there and it was turning into an end-to-end game with a lot of energy from both sides. If anything, it was Coventry who were starting to look the more dangerous and they were cutting through our midfield shield rather too frequently and easily, meaning our back four were coming under increasing pressure. Just when it was looking like an entertaining 0-0, our defence faffed again and the ball travelled at least twice across the area before coming back again to be met by the head of the impressive defender Jordan Willis for 1-0. There would be some considerable doubt about the legitimacy of the free-kick from which the goal came, but we still should have defended it better than we did. We had more than one chance to clear it. The substitutions then seemed geared to find the goal (s) to get us something from the game. Moncur for Bahre, who had a good game, was a straight swap and George clearly wanted to make an impact, cutting in dangerously from the right wing, but then sky-ing his shot into row Z. Adeboyejo came on for Brown and it was three up front as we went looking for the goal. Victor did nearly make it with one of his trade-mark, did he really mean to do that back-heels, but the excellent keeper was wise to it. Good footwork from Victor and I am sure that he did mean it and that it wasn’t that he lost control. The keeper did have to make a save. The final change was McGeehan on for Lindsay, which I thought would mean three at the back, but Kenny Dougall played a little deeper in order to keep cover. It was not to be and, with six minutes added due to the seeming indisposition of an assistant referee just after the Chaplin disallowed goal, we couldn’t find the goal we possibly deserved and the unbeaten record was gone.