Nuneaton Town 1 Coventry City 0 - Abandoned After 53 Minutes
19th July, 2014.
Match report courtesy of Coventry Telegraph;
Coventry's first pre-season friendly came to a spectacularly premature end when a ferocious thunder storm engulfed Liberty Way eight minutes into the second half.
The two teams were forced to retreat to the dressing rooms as the 1,690 spectators – 866 of them from Coventry – scrambled for shelter and although the downpour ended as suddenly as it began inside ten minutes, the large pools of water all over the pitch made referee Wayne Barratt’s inspection a soggy formality.
Sky Blues boss Steven Pressley admitted that he had never experienced conditions like it during his career as a player or a manager but Boro counterpart Brian Reid joked that it was reminiscent of his spell in the Philippines where tropical storms are a fact of football life.
“Out there they have red lights flashing in the stadium when there’s forked lightning about because people can be killed and that was my main concern,” he said. “It’s a shame for the fans but the referee had no choice.”
Pressley agreed: “It was incredible, almost a monsoon, and there was certainly no way we could have carried on afterwards. It’s a pity because we were looking forward to getting in a good work-out before our trip to Italy but you can’t plan for things like that.”
The Sky Blues, who flew out to Lake Garda in the early hours of this morning, named two mix-and-match 11s – new recruits Danny Pugh, Jim O’Brien and Danny Swanson lining up for the first half while Ryan Alsopp and Shaun Miller made their all-too brief debuts in the second alongside Marcus Tudgay, the experienced striker who is looking to earn himself a contract after being released by Nottingham Forest.
Pressley was particularly anxious to run the rule over Miller and Tudgay because lack of firepower looks likely to be his major problem at the start of the imminent League One campaign.
Youngsters George Thomas and James Maddison were at the sharp end of a 4-4-2 formation for the opening 45 minutes and they found it difficult to make any impression on a powerful home back three reinforced by towering midfield enforcer Anton Brown as City enjoyed the bulk of the possession but Boro, playing their fourth summer fixture, shaped as the more coherent unit.
The Sky Blues conjured up the first genuine chance in the 25th minute as O’Brien whipped a free-kick round the wall but James Wren dived full-length to turn it round the post.
But it was Boro broke through in the 37th minute from another dead-ball situation as City old boy Adam Walker curled in a perfectly-judged delivery from the right and although Lee Burge parried Gavin Cowan’s initial header the ball looped up for skipper Gaz Dean to convert with a gentle back-header from virtually on the goal-line.
The second period opened with the floodlights on to combat the gloom produced by the thunderclouds drifting over Liberty Way and after City had almost snatched an equaliser – Conor Thomas’s flick beating Wren but ricocheting wide off the far post – the heavens duly opened.
“It’s frustrating,” admitted Pressley, “because even though we only got seven or eight minutes in the second half we were already shaping up much better.
“I wasn’t happy with the way we played in the first half and I told the players that. I appreciate that was our first game while Nuneaton have already got some good game-time under their belts but that’s no excuse. We’ve worked hard in training on certain aspects of our game with the lines shifting. Today the lines never shifted, we never saw the high press and there was a lethargy about us
“Everybody has got to understand that performances like that aren’t acceptable at this football club whatever the circumstances or the time of year.”
Reid – appointed to the Nuneaton job on Pressley’s recommendation – was much happier with his side’s efforts saying: “I was reasonably pleased with the first half.
“Coventry put on a few more first-teamers at the break and it would probably have been tougher for us against fresh legs. But hopefully people will realise that we are starting to take shape and are hard to beat.
“That’s the first thing I wanted to look for when I came to the club and no team is going to come to Liberty Way and pick up easy points this season.”
Nuneaton Town (3-5-2): James Wren; Gavin Cowan, Gaz Dean, Theo Streete; Jorrin John, Adam Walker, Anton Brown, James Armson, Adam Mekki; Hernan Zanni, Pablo Diyuka.
Substitutes not used: Ben Starosta, Ryan Quinn, Delroy Gordon, Connor Franklin, Daniel Kavanagh.
Coventry City first half ( 4-4-2): Lee Burge; Aaron Phillips, Andy Webster, Stuart Urqhart, Danny Pugh; Jim O’Brien, Jack Finch, Jordan Shipley, Danny Swanson; George Thomas, James Maddison.
Second half: Ryan Alsopp; Jordan Willis, Jordan Clarke, Danny Seaborne, Ryan Haynes; Devon Kelly-Evans, Conor Thomas, John Fleck, Ivor Lawton; Marcus Tudgay, Shaun Miller.