Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Ricoh Arena – Coventry City

30th April 2016

Coventry 3-1 Sheffield United 

Aware that the Ricoh Arena incorporates a hotel boasting rooms “with a view of the pitch”, I though it may be quite fun to book our Saturday overnight stay at the hotel, and watch this afternoon’s match from the comfort of our own accommodation.  But then perusing the small print, I noted hotel check-in on match days is not available until after 7PM?   Hmmmm, apparently “our” room (had we booked it) would be used during the match for corporate hospitality, with the two hours post full-time required by the hotel staff to frantically attempt to clean it up for the plebs.  So: “a view of the pitch” meant just that – one could look out one's window.....but only upon the empty stadium.  No Thanks – instead Son & I booked (at just over half the price) into the remarkably plush Crown Court Hotel, a few miles away.  A place I can heartily recommend.

Hotel apart, I found I rather liked the Ricoh Arena and, although the stadium looked only around a third full this afternoon, both sets of fans made sufficient din for it not to appear that way.  My sole complaint I suppose, was that the front row seats we had been allocated appeared to sit outwith any elements-protection offered by the roof.  But that was fine, as we were able to move further back at half time.

Coventry City went into this, their final home league match of the season, stuck in mid-table limbo, their fans probably still coming to terms with the disappointment of a season that had at one point promised so much.  A 5-0 away win at Crewe just after the New Year had seen The Sky Blues consolidate fourth place in the league, but a wretched run of one win in ten followed, and Coventry tumbled out of contention.

The bewidelringly busy badge of Coventry City FC, featuring
a castle balancing upon an elephant balancing upon a football,
being steadied by an eagle and, what I take to be a phoenix.

The Ricoh Arena, Coventry

The Ricoh Arena, Coventry
Panorama of The Ricoh Arena, Coventry

Panorama of The Ricoh Arena, Coventry

Ricoh Arena East Stand.

Sheffield United, at the start of play, still harboured arithmetically-possible hopes of sneaking into the play-off spots, but the concession of two quick goals this afternoon hardly aided their cause.  Former-Celt Marc Antione FORTUNE’s fourth minute deflection off Adam Armstrong’s goal bound shot owed more than a little to (ahem) Good Fortune, but there was no luck involved in Andy ROSE’s finely worked second four minutes later.  

The aforementioned Fortune and Armstrong looked an impressive pairing I have to say, particularly during the opening 45 minutes.  And I now understood why a young boy I had heard outside the ground had been plaintively asking his grandfather “Is Armstrong going to stay next season, Papa?”  “I am sure he will, I am sure he will” came the not totally reassuring response.  Armstrong is presently on loan from Newcastle and (Son assures me), if The Toon go doon, he will be pulled back for next season’s Championship campaign.  

United got back into things with decidedly soft-looking penalty award around the hour mark.  Even after watching the incident on TV afterwards, I still could not work out what infringement the referee thought he saw.  Not that Billy SHARP cared, as he bashed the ball straight down the center of the goal with home 'keeper Reice Charles-Cook doing that rather obliging diving-out-of-the-way thing, goalkeepers seem to enjoy these days.  

Chances came and went at both ends after this point, the best being wasted by Coventry sub Jacob Murphy who chose to shoot from an acute angle rather than squaring to the unmarked Armstrong.  The former did make amends three minutes from time, his lost-cause harrying leading to Portugese midfielder Ruben LAMEIRAS completing the scoring.  

The 3-1 victory resulted in Coventry leap-frogging their visitors in the league table, but in truth both the these (relatively) Big Fish are going to find themselves swimming around the (relatively) Small Pond that is League One for at least one more season.

Adam Armstrong - Coventry City

Che Adams (Sheffield United) & Aaron Martin (Coventry City)

Jacob Murphy - Coventry City

Billy Sharp scores - Reice Charles-Cook dives out of harm's way

Coventry City v Sheffield United - April 2016

Coventry City v Sheffield United - April 2016


Time-up (almost)

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