Town throw away two-goal lead

A BETTER performance was demanded and given after Sunday's debacle at Reading and, if goal-line technology was available, Town could well have won this incident-packed game.

By Derek Davis

A BETTER performance was demanded and given after Sunday's debacle at Reading and, if goal-line technology was available, Town could well have won this incident-packed game.

Inspired by Darren Currie, and aided, perhaps more surprisingly, by Jimmy Juan, the Blues took a two-goal lead but somehow contrived to throw it away.

Slack marking cost Town but perhaps not as much as the referee, and his assistant's

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reluctance to give a Nicky Forster goal that had clearly crossed the line.

City will claim they should have had a goal when Gary McSheffrey put one away but he was ruled to have fouled Sito Castro.

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It was much better than the embarrassing loss at Reading even though only one point was picked up.

After promising so much, and going two goals up, the Blues left the crowd somewhat deflated after throwing away a decent lead against a run- of-the-mill Coventry side.

Currie shone in front of new daughter Bella once more. She was at Portman Road when he scored against Crewe last time out, and Juan briefly looked like a saviour but McSheffrey and Lilian Nalis dragged Coventry back into the game.

The Blues were penned in their own third for much of the first 25 minutes and had to handle something of a Coventry onslaught, dealing with corner after corner.

The best Town could offer in that period was when Adam Proudlock gave Richard Shaw a two-yard head start and got to Currie's pass down the right flank but his cross was blocked by the recovering defender.

The returning Matt Richards made a good run down the left but ran out of ideas and the ball was cleared.

Owen Garvan got ball forward out wide to Currie but then came a poor delivery.

The winger's next ball was much better and Richards was denied a clear header by good defending but won a corner, which Stephen Bywater managed to clear.

Then a serendipitous moment turned the game. A late and nasty challenge by Sky Blues skipper Stephen Hughes left Garvan struggling and he went of few minutes later to be replaced by Juan.

The Frenchman made an immediate impact, without actually touching the ball, in the 28th minute.

A Currie free-kick from 30 yards, after a Richard Duffy handball, was directed towards Juan in the centre of goal and the on loan Monaco midfield ducked as if to flick it on and the ball carried on straight into an unguarded part of the net.

Juan whirled away to celebrate but it was not his goal. There was no doubt the next one, 10 minutes later, definitely was his.

Kevin Horlock took a left-footed free-kick from virtually the same place and Juan arrived with loads of time and space to steer his header past a stranded Bywater for his first goal in English football.

Currie had promised to be upbeat and put Sunday's defeat behind Town and was a good as his word.

The goal perked the Blues up and Sito shot through legs of a defender at keeper, while Currie dipped a free kick over the bar.

The Blues No. 10 also delivered a sublime crossfield pass into Forster's path and the striker weaved his way through three defenders but dragged his low shot inches wide of the target.

A deflated Coventry tried to regroup and were rewarded on the stroke of half-time.

McSheffrey tried an adventurous volley on the turn from 25 yards that landed on top of the net.

Lewis Price was alert to a wicked Hughes volley from 30 yards and got everything behind the catch.

He was tested again by a vicious long range drive from Duffy and could only parry the ball, which Jay McEveley did very well to clear before a lurking McSheffrey could tuck away.

It was a short reprieve as Dele Adebola flicked on a Hughes corner, their eighth of the half, and McSheffrey turned the ball in with a sweet shot in the second minute of the three added on before half time.

Sam Parkin replaced Horlock, who was suffering with a knee injury and went up front with Forster. Proudlock went wide right and Richards tucked into centre midfield.

Although the Blues started brightly, it was Coventry who this time turned the tables by equalising 10 minutes into the half.

A deep Michael Doyle cross was headed back across goal by Adebola and on-loan Lilian Nalis scored with a diving header from six yards out.

Juan got his head on another terrific Currie ball but Bywater, who looked behind the line, grabbed the effort.

An even more controversial 'was it over or not' incident followed 12 minutes from time when Parkin headed down a De Vos cross and Forster, and a few thousand Town fans, thought his shot had crossed the line before the defender got to it. The referee wasn't sure and the linesman kept his flag down.

Another quality cross by Currie on the left found its way to Forster but his shot on the turn was blocked.

Man-of-the-match Currie was determined to inspire the Blues and almost found a winner after a marvellous jinking run into the area but his shot was blocked

City will feel hard done by after McSheffrey got past last man Sito and tucked the ball away but his effort was wiped out by the referee, for a foul on the Spaniard.

Coventry had refused to let Town change the game to Wednesday after playing on Sunday and might just have got a point they barely deserved partially due to that, and the game's refusal to get into the 21st century.

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