Report: Blues 2-4 Coventry City
Blues were beaten by Coventry City in the Sky Bet Championship on Good Friday.
An eventful afternoon saw Lee Bowyer’s side take control before they let slip a two-goal lead in the Second City. Kristian Pedersen’s first of the campaign after 12 minutes was added to when Gary Gardner also scored with his forrid.
The Sky Blues halved this deficit just 60 seconds later through Ben Sheaf and pulled themselves level in added time when the visitor’s number 14 struck again.
A turnaround was completed in the 71st minute as Michael Rose thumped in the day's fourth headed goal, with the game put beyond Birmingham City when Callum O’Hare struck late on.
The Head Coach made three changes to the side that faced Nottingham Forest last Saturday. Lyle Taylor returned after he was ineligible for the visit to the City Ground, as Ryan Woods came into the midfield and Zach Jeacock started in goal due to Neil Etheridge's absence.
It was a lively start in B9 as both sides looked to work the ball in behind, although it was Blues who had the greater territory and would soon open the scoring. Juninho Bacuna’s outswinging corner was arrowed into the danger zone and a hanging Pedersen was on hand to thump in a header.
Coventry looked to respond midway through the half and Dominic Hyam had an effort from a set-piece well blocked at the near post by Bacuna. And directly from the subsequent corner, Gustavo Hamer kissed the top of the crossbar before play was halted when Hyam received treatment, a bandage and a fresh shirt after he sustained a cut to his head.
Despite these threats, it was from one of the home side’s trademark routines that the lead would be doubled. Marc Roberts launched a long but flat throw into the box and unattended Gardner found sufficient power to beat Simon Moore with his head.
However, no sooner had the celebrations petered out had Mark Robin’s opposition pulled a goal back. Hamer delivered into the area and Rose nodded it back across the face of goal where Sheaf was waiting to volley in from close range.
Then during the fourth of five added minutes at the end of an already eventful first period, the Sky Blues pulled themselves level. Sheaf was again the man on target, this time heading in directly from a Hamer corner.
HALF-TIME: Blues 2-2 Coventry City
The first real chance of the second-half fell the way of Blues ahead of the hour mark. Woods’ direct ball forward was glanced on by Taylor and Hogan met the ball first time but could only slice his effort wide in front of the Tilton.
An even better chance then fell the way of Bowyer’s men. Bacuna whipped in a corner and Gardner made a firm connection only for his radar to be off on this occasion.
Hyam nearly put a heavy-handed backpass beyond his goalkeeper Simon Moore and Jake Bidwell had to intervene when Taylor engineered a superb cross from the left as the hosts cranked up the pressure.
But against the run of play, the team who beat league leaders Fulham last time out, went in front for the first time. Hamer again took up duties from the quadrant, on this occasion picking out an unmarked Rose.
As a result, Blues had to throw caution to the wind and, despite a heroic goalline clearance from Maxime Colin, after Martyn Waghorn had drawn Jeacock from his goal, O’Hare was able to put a the loose ball into an unguarded net in the final minute of normal time.
Sheaf's second levelled matters on the cusp of half-time and wiped out a lead that Blues had worked hard for, giving Coventry confidence to strike twice more after the interval.
Blues are in 20th position, with 45 points from their 42 Championship matches.
Blues (3-4-1-2): Zach Jeacock, Nico Gordon (Taylor Richards 76), Marc Roberts, Kristian Pedersen, Maxime Colin, Gary Gardner (captain), Ryan Woods, Onel Hernandez, Juninho Bacuna (Troy Deeney 75), Lyle Taylor, Scott Hogan (Lukas Jutkiewicz 87).
Substitutes not used: Connal Trueman, Jordan Graham, Ivan Sunjic, Jeremie Bela.
Booking: Roberts 40, Richards 90+3.
Coventry City (3-5-1-1): Simon Moore, Michael Rose, Dominic Hyam (captain), Jake Bidwell, Fankaty Dabo (Todd Kane 62), Jamie Allen, Ben Sheaf, Gustavo Hamer (Kyle McFadzean 82), Ian Maatsen (Martyn Waghorn 87), Callum O’Hare, Viktor Gyokeres.
Substitutes not used: Ben Wilson, Liam Kelly, Jodi Jones, Fabio Tavares.
Referee: Oliver Langford.
Despite a rare matchless weekend, there is no time for rest as Blues travel to Blackpool on Easter Monday, kick-off 3pm. Eight days later, the team are back at St. Andrew's for the visit of Millwall, kick-off 3pm, in what is the season's penultimate home match.