1st Jul, 2022

Russell Slade remains up for the challenge as Sky Blues hit rock bottom after Chesterfield loss

Steve Carpenter 16th Jan, 2017 Updated: 16th Jan, 2017

FOOTBALL: RUSSELL Slade has expressed his determination to steer the Sky Blues out of the League One relegation after falling to another disappointing defeat away at fellow strugglers Chesterfield.

Slade’s side sit rock bottom of the table after losing out by a single at the Proact Stadium on Saturday, with Dan Gardner scoring what proved to be the only goal of the game 13 minutes from time to extend City’s winless streak away from home in the league to eight matches.

“It’s made me more determined to do something about this,” said Slade. “The league position doesn’t lie, the numbers do not lie and there is no excuse over a season.

“However, there are still plenty of points to be won throughout the season and we still have a wonderful opportunity to do something about it.

“It’s a challenge but we have to embrace it and be mentally tough in these circumstances and makes the right decisions and the right choices.”

Slade gave a debut at right-back to recent signing Kevin Foley, while Nathan Clarke returned to centre-back in place of Jordan Turnbull who was dropped to the bench.

An early mistake by Lee Burge almost presented Chesterfield with an early opportunity but after being caught in possession the City keeper made amends with a low save.

George Thomas fired straight at Ryan Fulton with 16 minutes played while Stuart Beavon was proving to be a handful for the Chesterfield defence in attack.

Coventry-born defender Ian Evatt sent a looping header narrowly over the bar shortly after the half-hour mark before the best chance of the half for the Sky Blues came six minutes before the break.

Debutant Foley did well to break free down the right and he delivered a low ball across goal which was met by Thomas but his flick was just inches wide of the goal, while at the other end Sam Hird headed straight at Burge.

Ten minutes into the second period the Sky Blues thought they had gone ahead when Thomas’s deflected shot fell to Marcus Tudgay who poked the ball home from close range but the linesman’s flag was up for an offside infringement.

The visitors worked another chance to go ahead in the 69th minute when Ryan Haynes worked his way into the box but his left-footed shot was fired straight at Ryan Fulton in the Chesterfield goal.

Just two minutes later Thomas had a chance to score the opener when he was set up by Kyel Reid but he fired wide of the target.

Chesterfield made their opponents pay by scoring what proved to be the winner in the 77th minute. The ball found Dan Gardner on the edge of the box and he beat Burge with a thunderous drive into the top right-hand corner of the net.

Substitute Gboly Ariyibi headed over when he should have done better and in extra-time Thomas should have earned the Sky Blues a point when he was picked out at the far post by Kyel Reid but the young Welsh striker blazed his effort over the bar from five yards out.

“I don’t think we got to the levels in the last two games and that’s what I told the players in the dressing room,” Slade added. “They’ve got to be the best version of themselves if we are to get out of this situation.

“It’s a little bit of a messy game and I don’t think there was much in it. I did think we looked the most likely to score before they did, but we failed to convert some chances.”

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