Shackell ends his long wait for return

Coventry City Res 1, Norwich City Res 0: After almost four months on the sidelines Jason Shackell returned to action last night when he played 75 minutes in the Reserve team defeat against Coventry City, the game played at Rugby Town's Butlin Road Stadium.

The Barclay Premiership Reserve League South

Coventry City Reserves 1, Norwich City Reserves 0

After almost four months on the sidelines Jason Shackell returned to action last night when he played 75 minutes in the Reserve team defeat against Coventry City, the game played at Rugby Town's Butlin Road Stadium.

The City defender was stretchered off back in October after he twisted his ankle in the Reserve team fixture against Watford at Carrow Road, and while his recovery has been painfully slow for both player and club alike, both he and City boss Nigel Worthington will have been pleased that he has now at least got some competitive minutes under his belt.

With just Shackell and Jim Brennan the only two professionals in the City line-up, Keith Webb's young side can consider themselves unlucky not to have at least earned a point from what was an entertaining game.

The Canaries had to withstand some early pressure from the Sky Blues and indeed a couple of important headers from Shackell to break up promising attacks by the home side.

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Coventry went close on the quarter hour mark when a near post header from Craig Reid skidded across the goalline before City cleared the danger.

Just as he has been doing for the Academy the pass of Bally Smart was causing the opposition plenty of problems and their Republic of Ireland keeper Jonathan Tuffey needed the help of his defenders to clear the ball after he failed to hold onto a shot from the Canaries winger.

For the home side Ryan Lynch posed a real threat but he received little or no change from Andrew Cave-Brown, despite the Norwich full back taking a hefty blow in the face for his troubles.

After the break Lee Howlett turned a Brennan free kick just inches over the crossbar while at the other end Shackell made an important last ditch tackle that almost saw him put the ball into his own net and it needed a good save from the Canaries keeper Joe Lewis down to his right.

City almost took the lead on the hour mark when Smart did well to create an opening for Chris Martin but Tuffey did well to make the save.

With 10 minutes left on the clock, Coventry scored the only goal of the game when the ball broke kindly for Reid who had the time to drill in a low shot into the far corner.

t Coventry City: Tuffey, Stringfellow (Bains, 63), Layfield (Turner, 77), Heath, Page, Ogarro, Gooding, Webb (McCrink, 70), Sidhu, Reid, Lynch. Subs not used: Wall, Belford.

t Norwich City: Lewis, Cave-Brown, Brennan, Fisk, Shackell (Eames, 75), Gusterson (Muddel, 30), Smart, Howlett, Martin, Spillane, Eagle.

t Attendance: 236.

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