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Coventry City 0 - 4 Blackburn Rovers

10-24. 7 am(PST) kick-off.

I watched on iFollow, with the commentary from @BBCCWRSport.

Having seen highlights from the Swansea game, and having watched the Brentford game, I was hopeful that play on the front foot would take precedence, as opposed to the uncertainty that has plagued performances against the 'big boys' of the division. The line-up, minus the change for getting Kelly in the team at #6, is the same and presented the hopefulness that was short-lived. Early on the performance reflected previous games with Blackburn playing freely inside their own half, pushing over the halfway and probing. City looking balanced and in control, but dropping deeper with any attempt to break out from their own half leading to an almost instant turn-over of possession each time with Godden playing with himself and isolated.

City's build-up is struggling against smarter opponents who press man to man and leave no real options other than the long ball, and this game was no different early on. Short passes from the back require an outlet, but with Sheaf and Kelly both showing for the ball, Blackburn crashes with them and the only outlet was long. As you see, this was before the red card and City already being pressed deep, and with 8 behind the ball (including Marosi), it leaves you no doubt that building out would be a challenge. A trend that has happened in too many instances already this season and was commonplace here. The ball either turns over from pressure or from a long ball.

You can play out of this situation, though. You can stretch the field and find pockets of space to play in, but of course, it comes with risk.

Rose receives the ball from Marosi and takes the ball outside. It encourages McCallum forward. Importantly Hyam steps out of the backline to protect against an immediate counterattack from Blackburn.

Ahead of the ball, the field is stretched with runners, but it also leaves space to receive the ball. Here, O'Hare receives the ball, and the objective for building out is achieved. It creates space behind O'Hare for the advancing Giles and a way to break the press of Blackburn effectively. This was the build-up that lead to Godden hitting the post.

There is risk attached to it, but it worked much better than the ball into tight spaces for Sheaf over the past few weeks. Those types of passes are also a contributor to the criticism of his game as of late. Today though and unfortunately, this is where the fun stutters and stops.

Allowing Blackburn time to cycle possession is one thing, but doing so after losing the ball in advanced positions leaves you exposed for any sort of direct counter-attack down that same wing and that's what happened. Yet, it didn't happen instantly, instead, Blackburn were allowed to cycle possession, and allow Rankin-Costello to step up and to pick an excellent long pass over the top for Brereton to chase onto.

Rose, having missed the attempted header scrambled to recover and fouled his man, leading to his straight red and a penalty for Armstrong to put away. The undoing for City in this instance was the respect and space they gave Blackburn, whilst not reacting and dropping to prevent such balls being such a problem.

My assumption was that a red card was no longer given as an attempt to reduce the 'triple jeopardy' but the referee signaled a push, which I think was deemed to be dangerous play and hence the red card. Again, our own undoing.

The game changed significantly after this 15-minute spell and any promise of snatching goals, like Godden hitting the post, or holding firm against Blackburn were gone and the game result becomes predictable. Texts into CWR were calling for all sorts and I can't stand the pessimism of 'holding on' or 'damage limitation' especially when the damage is done and you have nothing to lose, but it seems that neither pessimism nor optimism was displayed and City limped over the line, looking ahead perhaps to Tuesday and Friday.

I love the schedule, as a fan, but I am concerned that a "we go again" or a "better luck next time" attitude will lead us into trouble. Games are thick and fast and so far I think we've demonstrated a trend of too much respect and too much caution at the wrong times in games that needs adjusting. Mowbray said that Coventry will do well, and I think our tough opening to the season might set us up in the long run, but I don't really see an 'easier' game to look forward to. #PUSB @leedunnesoccer


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