Date:Monday January 2 2012
Coventry City's mini-revival was halted by West Ham United on Monday but the Sky Blues will take more heart from a narrow defeat against the promotion favourites.
The Hammers enjoyed the majority of the play and the bulk of the chances but were kept honest until the end by Andy Thorn's revitalised side.
Kevin Nolan's priceless ability to score goals from midfield was the ultimate difference between the two teams with a glance at the bench for the home side confirming the disparity in resources.
But City more than played their part, on and off the field in front of a 35,000 crowd and will now look to build on their heartening festive period, one that has seen them get back in touch with the teams above them at the foot of the Championship.
With a break in league action the attention turns to the opening of the transfer window and whether Thorn's optimism following recent meetings with the club hierarchy is borne out by him being able to bring in the new players he needs.
Andy Thorn: "I thought the boys gave me everything. We stuck in there but towards the end it was disappointing to concede the goal, an appalling goal from our point of view.
"But I can't ask for any more effort from them because they were excellent and we could even have nicked something at the end. I thought we finished strongly.
"We stood up to them well and then as it went on I thought we got stronger and we started getting our own chances - and I thought one of them could have gone in for us.
"West Ham are going to be up there. They're well organised and well managed but I was a little bit disappointed that we didn't get anything."
Sam Allardyce: "We were all relieved when we saw it go in because we were all wondering whether it was going to happen for us or not on the basis of how many chances we created and how good their keeper was.
"We've played, very, very well today and the only thing I can criticise the lads for is not winning by more goals. Everything else was fantastic.
"Without a doubt the suspended players being back made all the difference because we saw the quality and how we controlled the game and how often we persisted in pressurising Coventry who finally cracked in the end."
Date:Monday January 2 2012
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