IMPROVING Coventry City embark on what boss Mark Robins is now calling a “ten game season” away at Crewe on Saturday – after moving back into the play-off places.
He repeated the phrase at this morning’s press conference, when he added his players must move on from past disappointments, after City lost a two-goal lead in their last game.
Tuesday night’s entertaining 2-2 draw against free-scoring League Two high-fliers Luton Town featured some of the Sky Blues’ best attacking football this season – in extreme contrast with last week’s dour 1-0 home win against lowly Barnet.
It took their unbeaten resurgence to four games, and saw a first-half bombardment featuring some sublime one-touch passing football through the midfield, where academy graduate Tom Bayliss returned to the centre alongside Michael Doyle, in place of the more defensive Liam Kelly.
Strikers Johnson Clarke-Harris and Marc McNulty worked tirelessly with contrasting powerful runs and deft touches, including McNulty’s 45-minute strike from a free-kick outside the box to make it 2-0.
The returning Peter Vincenti got the opener after just three minutes after a magical turn on the left by Ryan Haynes beat two defenders before the keeper parried a Bayliss strike straight to the tall wide man in the box.
Coventry however let the second-placed Hatters back into the game with a soft goal on 55 minutes.
The otherwise excellent right-back Jack Grimmer sloppily conceding a free-kick before keeper Lee Burge missed the cross from the free-kick which enabled Cuthbert to find the net.
As City defended deeper throughout the second half while still managing to create excellent chances, former Sky Blues transfer target James Collins headed home the equaliser in the dying minutes from another superb cross.
It meant Coventry had taken four points from Luton, in continuing to impress against the more attacking top teams.
It serves to emphasise Saturday’s potential banana skin, given City’s disproportionately poor record against the League’s strugglers.
Crewe Alexandra are 19th, seven points outside the drop-zone. The Sky Blues had to work hard for a 1-0 home win against The Railwaymen in September.
It is not yet known if new recruit, the returning goalscoring midfielder Carl Baker, will be available. International clearance was held up this week, following the veteran’s brief stint in the Indian Premier League.
Robins said after Tuesday’s match: “It was a really good game. Even after they levelled we were on the front foot trying to get the winner.
“It is disappointing because we have thrown away two points but the point we have picked up has taken us into the play-offs. We have now got a ten game season.”
He added: “We started brilliantly. We took the lead early and we played some really good stuff on the front-foot while keeping them away from our goal.
“We dealt with them really well defensively and earned ourseleves a two-goal lead.
“We spoke at half-time about being solid and competitive. I wanted to make sure we weren’t dropping deep to keep them away because a clean sheet would have obviously won us the game, and we have been decent at that this season.
“We conceded a really poor first goal. It was a silly foul to give away and the cross came in with quality.
“.. We played a lot better than we did on Saturday against a far better opponent. On Saturday, Barnet were having a real good go for different reasons.
“There are no easy games. I think Crewe on Saturday is going to be a really good game, followed by Grimsby at home.
“We have just got to keep going. There is no need to get uptight about anything. This is a good point and we are unbeaten again.”
“We want to be positive now and focus on the job in hand,” said Robins.
He said today: “We have a ten-game season ahead of us. Whatever had gone has gone and there is nothing we can do about it, but what we can do is our very best in the upcoming games.
“There are a lot of tough games left. You can see at this stage of the season that there are a lot of sides fighting for their lives.
“We go now to Gresty Road and Crewe Alexandra will be a different challenge. They need the points as well as we do. This is an interesting part of the season.
“Everyone would like to be up at the very top, but football isn’t like that. We need to relax and enjoy the challenges.”
Referring to Michael Doyle’s final promotion push with Portsmouth last season winning 12 of their final 14 games, Robins added: “There is no reason as to why we can’t. It has been done before,” he said with a laugh.
“As always in football thought, we are taking it one game at a time. We have played four and won two, drawing two.”