Coventry City 3-2 Arsenal
The Barclays Reserve League South
Highfield Road
Tuesday, March 8, 2005
Kick-off 7pmMORE PICTURES
ARSENAL
  • Michael Jordan
  • Sean Kelly
  • Kerrea Gilbert
  • Emmanuel Eboue
  • Mitchell Murphy
  • Sebastian Larsson
  • Stephen O'Donnell
  • Fabrice Muamba
  • Ryan Smith
  • Arturo Lupoli
  • Jeremie Aliadiere
  • Issa Kadir 82
SUBS NOT USED
  • Luke Webb
  • Mark Howard
  • Ben Gill

COVENTRY CITY
  • Jonathon Tuffey
  • Andrew Whing
  • Craig Reid 45
  • Andy Hall
  • Isaac Osbourne
  • Mark Howard
  • Sean Cooney
  • Andy Morrell
  • Craig Pead
  • Eddie Johnson
  • Liam Nicell 45
  • Graham Barrett
  • Neil Wood
SUBS NOT USED
  • Rikki Bains
  • Stuart Wall
  • Liam Davis
COVENTRY CITY3Barrett 22, 50
Wood 68
ARSENAL2Stokes 44, 51

By Andy Verspeak

A double strike from Anthony Stokes was not enough for Arsenal to avoid defeat as they went down 3-2 to Coventry at Highfield Road. The Gunners came back from behind twice, but couldn't muster a third equaliser and take a share of the points.

Coventry were the better side in the first half and had a deserved lead, but with only minutes to go before the break Stokes was brought down in the box and got up to convert the penalty himself.

Five minutes into a much livelier second half saw Coventry take the lead again, but Stokes responded immediately with a fine solo effort. The Sky Blues' decisive strike came after 67 minutes from an indirect free-kick after Michael Jordan handled a back-pass.

Neil Banfield had to make two late changes to him team before kick-off with Stuart Taylor and Sebastian Larsson withdrawn from the starting line-up. Jordan and Stokes were drafted into the Arsenal team.

Jeremie Aliadiere, on the road to recovery, started the game and Emmanuel Eboue also made his first reserve start.

Coventry started brightly and created chances down the right wing through Andy Morrell and Andrew Whing. Arsenal's first real chance came when Stokes was tripped outside the area. The free-kick was whipped in low but Jonathon Tuffey saved well. Ryan Smith also looked lively for the Gunners in the opening minutes.

The Sky Blues made the most of their first-half possession and took the lead on 22 minutes. A deep cross from Craig Pead found former Gunner Graham Barrett unmarked in the box and he sent a looping header over Jordan.

They nearly doubled their lead a few minutes later when Eddie Johnson fired wide after a neat build-up. Pead found Wood with a long ball out to the left flank. Trickery from Wood sent him past Sean Kelly before cutting it back to Johnson, but the Coventry striker sent a low left footed effort across goal but wide of Jordan's far post.

Coventry had dominated the first-half, but the Gunners did show signs of life towards the end and were given their chance a minute before half-time when Stokes was tripped inside the box.

Aliadiere played the ball wide to Stokes who cut inside from the right. The pair then combined with a delightful one-two to send Stokes racing into the box. With only Tuffey to beat, he was tripped from behind and the referee had no hesitation in awarding the spot-kick.

Stokes duly dispatched the penalty, sidefooting to the keeper's bottom left corner, and it was all square at the interval. Coventry made two half-time changes, Liam Nicell replacing Johnson and Craig Reid coming on for Whing.

The second-half was a much better spectacle, and also much better for Banfield's side. They started the way they had ended the first-half and created some early chances, but found themselves behind again after five minutes due to some sloppy defending.

Barrett claimed his second of the match in almost identical circumstances to the first. Arsenal failed to clear a long ball properly and the ball was headed back into the box. Barrett was again unmarked and again sent a looping header over Jordan.

This time however the Gunners responded in kind and Stokes took it upon himself to level the score a minute later. The game had barely restarted when Stokes picked up the ball on the right wing, skipped past two defenders, advanced into the box and swept a low shot across the keeper and into the far corner of the net.

From then on the game became much more open and either side conceivably could have won it.

The Sky Blues winner did come, but it came via an Arsenal mistake. After Coventry pressure, Kelly was forced to pass the ball back to Jordan who picked it up. The indirect free-kick was given, Barrett tapped it and Wood rifled it home from inside the box.

Arsenal came forward looking for a third equaliser but never really created a golden opportunity. Smith took a jinking run one step too far and was dispossessed in the box, Stephen O'Donnell wasted a free-kick, sending it high and wide and in the 85th minute Stokes went down in the box again after neat footwork but the referee was not interested.

Issa Kadir replaced Aliadiere with eight minutes remaining and the Sky Blues held on for a slim victory.

  • The reserves next home game will be on Monday, March 14 against Chelsea. As ever, it will be played at Barnet FC, kick-off 7pm and entrance is FREE. For a full list of fixtures click here.

   MATCH PICTURES 


Jeremie AliadiereJohnson chases EboueLupoli holds off HallStokes strokes home the penaltyOsbourne keeps an eye on MuambaStokes goes close


 2004/05 FIXTURE LIST  

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 8 Mar 2005