Pillaging the lower reaches
Yesterday’s entertaining share of Midlands spoils at the Walkers will have been seen only by an anti-Murdoch few, pitted as it was against the Manchester Ship Canal derby. That’s a pity. Leicester and Coventry served up a textbook example of what’s good about this league. The Foxes purred in the first period, adroit passing in and around the penalty box handing them a 2-0 lead in no way devalued by a goal that should not have stood; after some tea cup jettisoning from Chris Coleman, Coventry drew on a wellspring of enterprise to get back into the game and general equilibrium was achieved.
Noteworthy were a number of game-marking performances from ex-lower division stars. Coventry did very well from pervious forays into the lower reaches: Scott Dann and Danny Fox having been swiftly moved on like exotic futures. Still with the club and recruited around the same time, ex-Carlisle keeper Keiren Westwood’s progress has often been appended with the statement “best at this level” but newer recruits were equally as impressive on the day. Transfer window purchases Gary Deegan (from Bohemians) and professional ranks newcomer Carl Baker both had bright afternoons, the latter filling in at wide right having spent sections of his prior career as a front man, a kind of latter day Michael McIndoe. In December, The Sky Blues looked washed up amid the credit crunch; smart trading is now lending them equity.
Leicester’s January was quieter but they have reacted well to the cruel blow of Matty Fryatt’s absence. Ex-Yeovil keeper Chris Weale may have failed to stop James McPake’s volley, but his has been a comfortable season at a new home, Michael Morrison arrived from along the Backs a while ago now but is doing well to keep Wayne Brown out of the team and Paul Gallagher looked as good as I have seen him for some time. Leicester will fret in only a minor way at the profligacy given their points cushion.
As for the Beeb, Mark Bright continues to exude the air of a man naked without a researcher by him, but Steve Wilson showed he is prepared to spend hotel room time putting some homework in. Jake Humphrey may be a bit happy clappy but given he has to front Formula 1, the Superbowl and the Olympics, his enthusiasm for this battle by the Soar was admirable. Steve Claridge is now a notable lone voice opposed to goal line technology although his cropping up on just about every show going at the moment (I spotted him on ESPN last week) shows he still needs the money. Gary Speed was just fine.