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On reflection perhaps the sense of euphoria that I felt leaving the ground yesterday was a bit OTT but you know, a 3-0 win is a 3-0 win and I can't remember the last time we had one to celebrate. For long periods of time Coventry did look the tidier team, especially in midfield where they passed the ball around in neat little shapes without often threatening - and in contrast to where Rich sits, round me lots of folk were of the opinion that Sherwood was over the hill. Got to say I don't make much of a point of watching to opposition players that closely so they have to stand out for me to notice them - for example I "noticed" Thierry Henry the last few times we played the Arse - and I didn't really notice him. But if he did look OK I reckon its was more down to our centre of midfield being lightweight and making him look good than anything else. This was the biggest concern yesterday - Walton isn't up to it, yet, let's give him a chance to develop before burning him out and wrecking his confidence - he's a CHalf, he's not a ball player, not a midfield player. Wright - an enigma. Hand in every goal and yet largely invisible in the rest of the game. We'll have to hope that we get a ball winner alongside him and see how that works.
Coventry looked the better team for the majority of the first half and it was only down to Sullivan - our best acquisition for a while - that we we're still in the game, although we did create a few chances. Then coming to the end of the half Wright swung a free kick deep beyond the far post and Carlisle headed a high looping ball back across goal to drop in at the far post - wonderful, but against the run of play definitely.
I think we shaded the second half - apart from the two goals - both good following up after the keeper had made decent initial saves - we had several other opportunities to score - Pugh, Deane, Butler and worst of all Joachim heading variously over and wide from promising positions. For once it was nice to see us put away a team reduced to 10 men - its normally us that crumble in that position.
Sullivan - good basic keeping, brave shot-stopping and excellent organisation of his defence
Kelly - had a good game, did little wrong and linked well with Richardson
Crainey - a mate of mine who hadn't seen Crainey play before was watching him closely and was reasonably content - and to be fair I didn't think he did too much right or too much wrong - he was caught out of position a few times - I don't like his habit of popping up in between the CHalfs - but he also made some good covering tackles - he is one-paced that's true - but for me the juries' still out - definitely not premiership quality, but then neither are we.
Butler & Carlisle - while I still have a hankering to see Kilgallon in there because I think he's a better CHalf than either of these two - I will take these over Duberry any day (oh by the way Duberry the Kop were booing you they weren't shouting "DoooooBes" so stop clapping and gurning at us when you jog down here for your warm-up you plank.) B & C were solid apart from a couple of early gaffes by Carlisle - It can't be a coincidence that when we've played these two at the back we've only conceeded one penalty. Carlisle - nice goal too.
Richardson - was excellent - him and Pugh when played wide on each side are the pick of our team for invention, pace and threat - a couple of times he bolted 40-50 yards down the right spinning past a couple of markers like a wing man born and bred - the crossing sometimes lacked finesse but other times it was great. Both of our last two goals cam from pressure brought about by his runs down the right. Also set up Joachim with a beautiful cross from the left that Julian should have buried.
Pugh - looks like we got a good deal here - as someone said, there may be a problem hanging onto him but we'll have to cross that one when we come to it. Good to see him still following in in the 93rd minute, deserved his goal.
Joachim - at last a goal - let's see if it kicks him off - he deserved it again for his work - and we deserved it for the several decent chances he's missed so far.
Deane - big awkward offside Deane. Never really looked like scoring but did flap his arms around a lot.
McMaster - was on long enough to have a hand in the third goal - not much else really.
Ricketts - on for 2 minutes.
Crowd - it may have been our smallest in the league for a while but its set to get smaller as the blackshirts in the Kop were going round with little pens and notepads writing down lots of seat numbers - don't they want an atmosphere?