Team: Cerny, Borrowdale, Hall, Connolly, Leigertwood, Routledge, Faurlin, Watson, Buzsaky, Taarabt (Reid), Simpson
Subs Not Used: McWeeney, Ramage, Williams, Gorkss, Pellicori, Agyemang
Attendance: 13, 712
As we know, Coventry have been a bit of a bogey side for us in recent times. Although the visitors had their share of good chances, we really should of taken all the three points with our second half display. Best was unmarked when his looping header sailed into the net to put Coventry in front. A lovely ball from Faurlin found Simpson close to goal and he sort of flicked it past the keeper for the equaliser. A cross from the left found Best in acres of space and he arched his head back to powerfully head the ball over the bar when he should of done much better. Cerny made an outstanding save when he dived low to parry the ball away to safety and the visitors also went close when the ball was kicked off the line just before half time.
Two groups of soldiers marched onto the pitch at half time from opposite ends of the ground and some others nursing injuries, including one on crutches, arrived from the tunnel. It was very moving as they received a magnificent ovation from the crowd. Well done to the club.
Rangers absolutely dominated after the interval and some of the football was wonderful to watch. Taarabt surprised everyone with a lob which bounced off the crossbar. We attacked at speed and hit lovely long cross-field balls, some audacious flicks and close one-two’s. The pressure paid off with Buzsaky firing us into the lead. We should of capitalised on this but Coventry levelled from a free kick when the ball was crossed into the box, unchallenged it resulted in another header hitting the back of the net. It was a cruel blow given Rangers dominance. It was probably Faurlin’s best game so far, a disappointing crowd, two points dropped but Rangers in fifth spot.
We should’ve won this encounter but didn’t because of poor defending by the centre backs. I thought our full backs had decent games though. We ran them ragged in the second half and battered their defence. I think they got into our box twice during this period and we were a complete shambles both times. To concede two headed goals from set pieces when both our centre backs are well over six foot just isn’t good enough. I don’t recall Hall winning one header and some of his passing was atrocious. Connolly was static for their first goal and he didn’t even try to jump!
Two points most definitely dropped. We could of, and perhaps on another day would have, had a Tottenham hatful in the second half. So many shots went just whistling over the bar, all practically identical from the edge of the box and going over the right hand side of the goal. The game had started off rather evenly when all of a sudden, out of a nothing ball, ex-R’s loanee Leon Best, headed unchallenged into the far corner, with Cerny either misjudging it terribly or for some unknown reason he just watched it float into his net. That was poor from him and also Connolly who should have been marking Best. The goal itself rather shocked us, and I barely registered the fact that they had scored at all ! Our reply came 25 minutes later following some good passing football with Faurlin chipping the ball through to Simpson to deftly touch past the keeper.
At the start of the second half, we came flying out of the blocks and were all over Coventry. The pressure didn’t tell until the 69th minute when a short-taken corner eventually broke to Buzsaky whose shot took a wicked deflection and beat Westwood in the Sky Blues goal. We continued to dominate for another 5 minutes or so when Taarabt got taken off. A change was probably needed but everything had been going through Taarabt and the Coventry defence simply couldn’t handle his second half form. A couple of boos rang out at this decision but these quickly stopped to applaud his performance and to welcome Steven Reid on his home debut. Almost immediately, the visitors broke and against the run of play, grabbed a goal needlessly given away by Buzsaky and following some average defending and some more, poor goalkeeping, the ball ended up in the net. Cerny started whinging at his back four, but various other sources seem to point the finger of blame at him. I must admit that I had a slightly impaired view of the goal.
Cerny: 5 – At fault for both goals but did make a good save in the first 10 minutes
Leigertwood: 6 – I didn’t really notice him doing anything amazing, or for that matter, anything bad
Connolly: 6 – At fault for the first goal but did make a goal-line clearance at 1-1. His partnership with Hall looked shaky at times
Hall: 6 – He suffered from a shaky partnership but was generally ok
Borrowdale: 7 – Did very well against a good winger in Bell, was ok going forward. He could still do with more support from Taarabt though !
Buzsaky: 7 – Some good stuff at times but needlessly gave away a free kick for their second goal when they were going nowhere
Watson: 7 – Some good runs to the edge of the box and on another day could have had at least one goal
Faurlin: 8 – Again, he could have scored with one of his whistling shots from the edge of the box. Worked well with Watson
Taarabt: 9 – His second half performance, especially once he’d hit the bar with a cheeky lob, was mesmerising and their defenders could do nothing but foul him
Rouledge: 8 – He made some good runs but occasionally got pushed off the ball. He’s been doing well up-front
Simpson: 8 – Good deft touch for the goal. He could have added another to his tally
Reid: – Only on for 15 minutes but didn’t look anything special. I was a bit confused as to where exactly he was playing ? Hope that he improves
Magilton: 7 – His team selection was good and the lack of subs was most certainly justified, but probably (in hindsight) took off the wrong man and we seemed to lack a certain spark when chasing the game at 2-2
Referee (Jones): 6 – He got most things right, including the sending off, (the only argument Wright could have is that his second bookable offence was one that you often see going unpunished beyond a free kick, if the offender is already on a yellow), but was very picky in making sure the ball was in exactly the right spot for free kicks etc.