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19 August 2017 Venue Ricoh Arena Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

PREVIEW| Exiles head to the Ricoh Arena to take on Coventry City

16 August 2017

Coventry City will be looking for promotion straight back to League 1 after relegation from the division last season. Relegation came after only winning nine games all season, with 12 draws and 25 defeats meaning they finished 23rd in the table – 11 points off safety. However, there was some joy for the Sky Blues last season, as they were crowned EFL Trophy champions in April, beating Oxford United 2-1 in the final at Wembley.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of our encounter.


Previous League results and Carabao Cup

A tough seven game pre-season schedule seems to have done the trick for the Sky Blues, as they are the only team left in League 2 with a 100% record

Jodi Jones scored a hat-trick on the opening day, as Coventry eased past Notts County at the Ricoh Arena 3-0.

They followed that up with another clean-sheet, as they edged out Grimsby Town 2-0 at Blundell Park. Marc McNulty scored the opener, somewhat controversially, before Jack Grimmer sealed the win with a header late on.

However, Coventry didn’t fair that well in the Carabao Cup, as Blackburn Rovers knocked them out with a 3-1 win. Duckens Nazon scored the solitary Sky Blues goal, but the League 1 side were too powerful and advanced to the next round.


Team News and Summer Signings

As expected following relegation, Mark Robins has had a full overhaul of his playing staff, signing 11 new players and letting 12 go.

Striker Marc McNulty is one of the more notable incomings, joining from Championship side Sheffield United.

Three other players have joined the club from the Championship, with defenders Jack Grimmer and Dominic Hyam joining from Fulham and Reading respectively; with attacking midfielder Tony Andreu joining from Norwich City.

Current captain Michael Doyle also joined the Sky Blues this summer. Doyle, 36, spent eight years with the club between 2003 – 11 before re-joining the club from Portsmouth in the off-season.

Of the departures, George Thomas is the most notable. The striker, 20, was Coventry’s top-scorer last season, with nine in all, including the winner in the EFL Trophy final. Leicester City was his destination this summer, with the fee due to be decided by a tribunal – around £450k is currently being suggested.

Four players are still looking for clubs after departing the Sky Blues, with others going to League 1, Scottish Premiership and even the Cypriot First Division.

Ahead of our visit, Coventry have concerns over a few players.

Goalkeeper Lee Burge played for the u23’s in mid-week as he recovers from a shoulder injury so could be available, with Ryan Haynes definitely ruled out.

Defender Jordan Willis, forced off last week at Grimsby, will face a late fitness test.


One to watch – Jodi Jones

Age: 19

Position: Winger

Goals this season: 3

Previous clubs: Dagenham & Redbridge

Jodi Jones announced himself on the League 2 stage for Coventry with a hat-trick in the 3-0 win over Notts County. 

That wasn’t Jones’ first taste of the fourth tier, however, as he became Dagenham’s youngest player to make a Football League appearance when he came on as a substitute against Portsmouth in February 2015.

Originally, Jones joined the Sky Blues on an emergency loan on 18th March 2016, before signing permanently that summer for an undisclosed fee. The teenager played 45 times last season, scoring two goals and has also netted this year during pre-season.

SKY BET currently has Jones at 6/1 to score the first goal, with odds of 2/1 to score at any time.


Manager – Mark Robins

Robins took the reins at the Midlands club for the second time in March, leading the club to an EFL Trophy success following the dismissal of Russell Slade.

This season is his tenth as a manager and he has spent that time managing several clubs in the Football League. Robins spent 5 months at Coventry from September 2012 before leaving for Huddersfield Town.

As a player, Robins started out at Manchester United. He is credited with one of the most iconic goals in the club’s history, as his strike saw the Red Devils beat Nottingham Forest 1-0 in the FA Cup on 7th January 1990– a game which had United lost, the media were speculating that Sir Alex Ferguson would have been sacked.

After his spell at Old Trafford, Robins played for several clubs, including Norwich City, Manchester City and Leicester City.


Stadium – Ricoh Arena

The Ricoh Arena is currently the biggest stadium in League 2, with a capacity of 32,609.

Built in 2005, the Sky Blues have resided there ever since, except for a brief time in 2013/14 when they were forced to play games in Northampton after a dispute with the stadium’s landlords.

Exiles supporters will be housed in the South Stand, behind one of the goals.

Pre-match, County supporters will be allowed to use the Grosvenor Casino, located next to the club shop. However, you must be 18 or over to enter.


Previous meetings

The two clubs have met competitively on 41 occasions. Of those meetings, it is Coventry who have the better record, with 18 wins, 7 draws and 16 defeats.

However, the last competitive meeting came in 1961, while the more recent meetings have occurred in friendlies.

In both the 2014/15 and 2016/17 seasons, the two clubs met at Spytty Park.

On 29th July 2014, an Ismail Yakubu header gave County a 1-0 victory, before the Sky Blues exacted revenge on 23rd July 2016 with their own 2-0 victory – George Thomas and Jordan Willis with the goals.



Referee: Paul Tierney

Assistant referee 1: Darren Cann

Assistant referee 2: Nick Hopton

Fourth official: Mark Dwyer

Tierney is currently in his 9th season as a Football League referee. He is also a qualified Premier League referee, with 2016/17 being his first season on the list.

His first Premier League game came on Saturday 30th August 2014 as Swansea City beat West Brom 3-0 at the Liberty Stadium. Three yellow cards were given out during the game.

Last season, Tierney officiated on 32 games, 10 of which were in the Premiership. He brandished 110 yellow cards and five red cards during that season.

He was also the fourth official at Vicarage Road last Saturday, as Watford and Liverpool played out an entertaining 3-3 draw.


County Connection

Tierney has refereed County on one previous occasion. That came on Tuesday 16th September 2014 as the Exiles drew 0-0 with Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park.

Kevin Feely and Mark Byrne were both booked that day.


Other games around the League (All 3pm kick-offs)

Accrington Stanley vs Mansfield Town

Carlisle United vs Cheltenham Town

Chesterfield vs Port Vale

Crawley Town vs Cambridge United

Crewe Alexandra vs Barnet

Exeter City vs Lincoln City

Forest Green Rovers vs Yeovil Town

Luton Town vs Colchester

Morecambe vs Swindon Town

Stevenage vs Grimsby Town

Wycombe Wanderers vs Notts County.

Tickets are onsale in the Ticket Office Friday 18th August.
Open 10am-7pm. 

Can’t make the match?

You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the club’s official Facebook and Instagram pages.

Don’t forget – if you reside outside of the UK, you can watch the game live by subscribing to County’s iFollow service. Commentary by Tim Thraves can also be found at the Match Centre. 

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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT| Exiles secure famous victory at the Ricoh Arena

19 August 2017

The Exiles secured a first league win of the season with a 1-0 triumph at Coventry City.

Debutant Reece Cole scored the solitary goal on 53 minutes, firing home from around 22 yards with a shot that crept under home goalkeeper Liam O’Brien.

And despite constant pressure following the goal, the County defence held firm to keep the home side out and secure the three points.  

Mike Flynn elected to make three changes to the side that was held to a 1-1 draw at Crewe Alexandra last week. David Pipe returned to the defence, in place of Dan Butler, as County appeared to set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

New signings Reece Cole and Joe Quigley came in for their Exiles debuts, in place of Sean Rigg and Shawn McCoulsky. Ben Tozer made his eagerly awaited return to the bench following a long injury absence.

Interestingly, Frank Nouble and Pipe were making appearances against a former employer. Nouble made 34 appearances whilst on loan at the club from Ipswich Town, scoring six goals during the 2014-15 season, with Pipe making 25 appearances for the Sky Blues during the 2002-3 season.

Mark Robins named an unchanged side from last week’s 2-0 victory over Grimsby Town. That meant the home side set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Marc McNulty leading the line.

Jodi Jones, scorer of a hat-trick on the opening weekend, operated on the right-hand side – with Stuart Beavon and Peter Vincenti the other attackers.

Mark O’Brien created the first opportunity of the game for County, but lashed over with a volley from just inside the area on four minutes.

That was the only chance created by either side in the opening ten minutes, County playing some nice intricate passing through the middle but finding it hard to break through the stubborn Coventry defence.

As the game approached the quarter-hour, it would be a fair reflection to say that County were looking the likelier to score an opener. To Coventry’s credit, they were preventing the Exiles from creating a meaningful opportunity, but County were looking dangerous at every attack.

Ben White, menacing on the left-hand side for County, looked composed going forward, but Jack Grimmer was reading everything and stopping White making dangerous runs into the area.

O’Brien flashed a header across goal that wasn’t converted, as County continued to press.

That came before Coventry created their first opportunity, although Rod McDonald headed straight at Joe Day from their first corner of the game on 20 minutes.

Reece Cole came inches away from a deserved County opener on 25 minutes. The 20-year-old drove down the Coventry right with real intent, fizzing a cross along the area that was deflected onto the post by Jordan Willis.

An injury to Coventry’s Peter Vincenti caused a temporary halt in the game as the game approached the half-hour, as County looked to press home their advantage.

Quigley almost broke through the Coventry defence on 36 minutes, only to see home goalkeeper Liam O’Brien react well and smother the attempt.

Day made a smart save to deny Grimmer with five to go in the first-half, Vincenti heading over from the resulting corner.

White fired over for County with a speculative 50-yard effort as the clock ticked into added-time, two minutes indicated by the fourth official.

And if it wasn’t for the reactions of Day, County may have fallen behind right at the end of the additional time.

Jones and McNulty combined on the County right, and floated a ball over to Vincenti. The midfielder headed back across goal for Beavon, who failed to convert from all of two yards, Day producing two point-blank saves to keep the scores level.

That brought proceedings to a close for the first-half, which despite the late scare, County clearly edged.

Dolan and O’Brien were expertly reading all the Coventry attacks, O’Brien particularly strong dealing with the aerial presence from the home-side.

And County started the second half in the same manner, Willmott inches away from connecting to a cross-field Nouble ball on 48 minutes.

Quigley did superbly well minutes later to drive past Willis and advance into the area. Dolan couldn’t quite connect to the cross.

But County weren’t kept out for long as debutant Reece Cole netted on 53 minutes.

Cole, optimistically firing from distance, somehow squeezed the ball under the goalkeeper to give County the lead.

An injury to Mark O’Brien temporarily brought the game to a halt on 57 minutes, but after treatment was okay to carry on.

McNulty created the opening Coventry attempt of the second half on the hour-mark, only to blaze high and wide after a clever counter-attack.

That seemed to spark manager Robins into action, making two substitutions to try to get his side back into the game.

Tony Andreu came on for his home debut, replacing Beavon, with Ben Stevenson also taking to the field.

And the home-side came so close to an equaliser on 65 minutes, Day making a finger-tip save to deny Stevenson.

It was clear that Coventry were getting a greater foothold in the game and Flynn retaliated with his own double substitution.

Scot Bennett replaced goal scorer Cole, with Lamar Reynolds replacing Quigley on 70 minutes.

Reynolds came so close to doubling the County lead, but shot into the side netting after waltzing past Stokes and into the area.

That forced Robins into an attacking substitution, Maxime Biamou coming on for defender Jordan Willis.

Day denied Biamou on 84 minutes, before tipping over a Jones delivery moments later.

Reynolds was booked for County right on 90 minutes, as five minutes were added on.

But Coventry City couldn’t force an equaliser as County held on comfortably for a famous away victory on the club’s first ever visit to the Ricoh Arena.


County: Day, Pipe, Labadie (C), White, Willmott, Dolan, Nouble, Cole (Bennett 68), O’Brien, Demetriou, Quigley (Reynolds 68’)

Subs not used: Bittner, Butler, Tozer, McCoulsky, Jahraldo


Coventry: O’Brien, Grimmer, Willis (Biamou 79’), McDonald, Stokes, Kelly (Stevenson 60’), Doyle (C), Vincenti, McNulty, Jones, Beavon (Andreu 60’)

Subs not used: Burge, Hyam, Pearson, Nazon


Referee: Paul Tierney

Attendance: 8,745 (908 away)

Next up for County: Leeds United (Away) Carabao Cup (22nd August)


Photo used not from today's match.

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