Nuneaton Town 1 Coventry City 4
Saturday 13th July 2013 (Friendly)
Match report courtesy of Coventry Telegraph;
Coventry City finally got back to action after a summer of discontent.
There were fears that the temperature, the fans’ continuing fury at the thought of playing at Northampton and a beer festival next door in the grounds of the rugby club would produce the perfect storm.
But, in reality, it all passed off peacefully apart from a couple of early pitch invaders, a scrawny youth and a portly semi-streaker clearly only there for the craic.
The supporters made it clear that as much as they dislike the people who run their club, they have no beef with the manager or the players.
And Steven Pressley was delighted to be talking about football on the back of a convincing workout against their local non-league hosts who have traditionally made a fist of the annual fixture, having beaten the Sky Blues last summer and held them to a 2-2 draw the year before.
Disappointingly for Pressley’s opposite number Kevin Wilkin, Boro came up short this year as the away fans were treated to three second-half goals that rounded off an impressive first outing of the pre-season for the City manager’s threadbare squad that remains at least half a dozen players light due to the on-going transfer embargo.
There is no area that is shorter right now than at centre-half where sod’s law has already reared its ugly head with the news that Jordan Willis – currently Coventry’s only recognised centre-back – picked up a knee strain in training and had to sit out Saturday’s match at Liberty Way, newly-named the Sperrin Brewery Stadium.
That opened the door for 16-year-old Academy midfielder Jack Finch who was forced to play the entire 90 minutes out of his natural position alongside come-back kid Jordan Clarke in blistering heat and on a day when both sides made wholesale changes at half time.
But both acquitted themselves admirably after dusting themselves down after conceding an early goal after a stray pass from Carl Baker allowed Louis Moult to glide past the youngster and take a second stab from Clarke’s initial block to score the opener for the home side in only the sixth minute.
However, any thoughts of Nuneaton getting a foothold in the game soon evaporated when the fit-looking Callum Wilson, who started up front with another untried teenager Ben Maund, was played in on the left and finished neatly from an acute angle with 14 minutes on the clock.
City proceeded to enjoy plenty of possession with John Fleck pinging the ball about in midfield but had very little to show for their efforts until the second half when they really bossed the game, so much so that returning goalkeeper Lee Burge – who had helped Boro avoid the drop during his late season loan spell – never had a single save to make during his 45 minute shift in the sizzling sun.
Spearhead striker Leon Clarke was one of nine changes and quickly made his presence felt as a lone centre-forward, finding the back of the net with a well-placed header from a Cyrus Christie cross eight minutes into the re-start.
City stroked the ball about well, got it wide and back in to the box with several players looking sharp and lively, including the likes of midfielder Billy Daniels who forced triallist Boro keeper Laurie Walker to tip wide at full-stretch.
But the former Leamington and Kettering stopper could do nothing to stop Clarke who thumped home his second from the penalty spot after the impressive Franck Moussa was tripped by another triallist, Danny Andrew, for the first of two late goals in as many minutes when Moussa turned smartly in the box to wrap things up with a neat finish in the 86th minute.