RE­SULT DIDN’T MAT­TER, COV’S RE­TURN DID

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE -

ON oc­ca­sions such as this, the match is an ir­rel­e­vance.

This was about the ban­ners say­ing ‘Wel­come home lads’, the PA belt­ing out The Boys are

Back in Town, the cheers that greeted pic­tures of Jimmy Hill on the big screen. This was the cel­e­bra­tion of a club’s iden­tity and its sup­port­ers’ en­dur­ing loy­alty.

Yet the play­ers only just held their part of the bar­gain. The at­mos­phere that buoyed them in the open­ing half-hour was equally sti­fling in the game’s fi­nal third, the weight of ex­pec­ta­tion clearly tak­ing its toll.

As Coven­try’s play­ers fell deeper and deeper in a bid to pro­tect their lead, so Gilling­ham pressed, play­ing on jan­gling nerves.

They didn’t get the equaliser they de­served, but both man­agers can be right­fully proud of the way their troops dealt with a unique oc­ca­sion.

As Press­ley said, this was a game that showed the po­ten­tial of Coven­try – if 27,000 peo­ple turn up ev­ery week, plenty of teams will crum­ble.

STAR MAN RYAN HAYNE

S Covent

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