FOOTBALL: A FRUSTRATED Russell Slade did not hold back as he read the riot act to his Sky Blues team after watching them fall to yet another defeat, this time at relegation rivals Oldham.
Despite fighting back after going a goal down early on, the Sky Blues let in two second half goals in the space of four minutes and although substitute Kwame Thomas gave the visitors hope at Boundary Park, Slade’s side were unable to find an equaliser.
A fifth successive defeat in the league sees the Sky Blues remain rooted at the bottom of the table and they now find themselves ten points away from safety with just 16 games to go until the end of the season.
“I thought we were the better sides in parts, created chances but at the end of the day we conceded three goals,” said Slade.
“What frustrates me is we execute a game plan in parts, but we let our standards slip. Lack of appreciation for the basics at times, it is quite incredible.
“I don’t get why players can’t see that, we’ve played some good stuff. Great second goal, five minutes of madness and we’re 3-1 down.
“Two opportunities to clear the ball, we can’t do it. We have to deal with it. What frustrates me is we play to a decent standard in pockets of play, but we let it slip. It is a mental weakness.
“We were unlucky not to score four goals. Camped in their box for the last five minutes. We have to be more consistent, you can’t do this job part-time. It is relentless, ruthless. We have to be brave and bold.”
Slade opted to make four changes to the side that beat Wycombe in the Checkatrade Trophy in mid-week, with defenders Nathan Clarke, Farrend Rawson and Kevin Foley all being brought back into the side, while Vladimir Gadzhev came in for the injured Stuart Beavon.
Oldham made the breakthrough with seven minutes on the clock after some suspect defending allowed Ryan Flynn to get to the byline and his cross was deflected in off former Republic of Ireland defender Foley.
Within just a minute however the Sky Blues were level when Marcus Tudgay travelled with the ball before hitting a superb right-footed shot from 30 yards out which sailed into the back of the net.
The muddy pitch at Boundary Park was proving to be a problem for Slade’s side, who at times played some neat football but there was to be no end product before the break.
Derby loanee Rawson headed a George Thomas corner narrowly over the bar while Callum Reilly was desperately unlucky to see his curling effort come back off the bar following a neat one-two with Tudgay in the 32nd minute.
Chris Taylor tested Riece Charles-Cook from long range and Kyel Reid fired over after some good work down the right by Foley but it remained 1-1 at the break.
The Sky Blues looked the more likely of the two sides to score again after the break and they were unlucky to hit the woodwork again in the 50th minute.
Reid beat his man down the left before crossing for Thomas who controlled brilliantly before dispatching a shot which struck the post.
The home side took the lead for the second time in the match in the 65th minute when Charles-Cook dropped a long ball into the box by Brian Wilson and Lactics skipper Peter Clarke was able to poke the ball into an empty net.
Just four minutes later it was 3-1 when Ryan McLaughlin was able to run through the City defence unchallenged before beating Charles-Cook with a neat, low finish.
Substitute Kwame Thomas gave the visiting supporters hope when he rose highest to head Ryan Haynes’ cross and cut the deficit to one goal, but despite their best efforts the visitors were unable to force an equaliser.
Attendance: 3,766 (389 away)
Coventry City: Charles-Cook, Foley, Clarke (c), Rawson, Haynes, Reilly, Rose, Gadzhev (K.Thomas 68), G.Thomas (Lameiras 85), Reid, Tudgay.
Subs not used – Burge, D. Kelly-Evans, Turnbull, Bigirimana