FOOTBALL: AN EMOTIONAL Mark Venus described Saturday’s 4-1 defeat away at Oxford as the worst performance under his reign.
The Sky Blues failed to show up at the Kassam Stadium and found themselves 3-0 down at half-time with Jamie Sterry scoring an own goal to leave the visitors with a mountain to climb after the break.
A fourth goal came for the home side on the hour mark and Marcus Tudgay’s 90th minute penalty proved to be little more than a consolation goal for the 1,500 travelling supporters for whom it was an afternoon to forget.
Venus said: “That was the worst for me, all aspects of the game. We were naive.
“They are young, we’re at the bottom of the league and that isn’t a fluke after 18 games. Our frailties are goals conceded, it is a catalogue of things we need to improve on if we are going to pick up points in this league.
“We work hard to improve things and bring in players to help them, the team needs a hand. And we need more men in the football club. We were brushed aside too easily today.
“It hurts, it is your profession. It kicks you in the ribs and beats you up but that is sport, it is emotional.”
Oxford were quickly out of the blocks and both Lewis Page and Gael Bigirimana both had to make important blocks early on before the hosts took seventh minute lead.
Former Sky Blues loanee Chris Maguire was able to bring down a long ball from the back and push it into the direction of Hemmings who beat Lee Burge with a low finish.
Macdonald flashed a dangerous shot narrowly wide of goal before the home side doubled their advantage on the half-hour mark when Hemmings did superbly well to make space for a shot in the area and his effort deflected off Jamie Sterry past the helpless Burge.
Just four minutes later the result was pretty much settled after Page brought down Maguire inside the area and the Scottish midfielder stepped up to fire home the resultant spot kick.
Burge was Coventry’s only shining light throughout the match and he pulled off a fine reflex save to keep out Hemmings in front of goal and deny Oxford a fourth before half-time.
Young Welsh defender Cian Harries was introduced at the break and it had a positive impact but the visitors could not find a way back into the match, with Ruben Lameiras seeing his shot blocked and Vladimir Gadzhev’s 25-yard curler drifted wide of goal.
The result was put beyond doubt when Macdonald beat Burge and Tudgay slotted home a penalty after Jamie Sterry had been bundled over inside the area.
“I’ve got my opinion, but bottom line is they had more intensity than us, they closed us down,” Venus added. “They put us under pressure and we couldn’t handle the ball up to the centre forward.
“We did everything wrong. They have experienced winning in the league under me and now they have tasted defeat. We aren’t a team who can win five on the trot.
“We have to keep adapting to the league, certain aspects we can’t handle. We were beaten on the day by a better side, who had more purpose and meaning.”