MARK Venus has challenged the Sky Blues to build on Saturday’s first league win of the season following an impressive display at high-flying Port Vale.
Despite being managerless and having lost four of their last five away matches this season, the Sky Blues recorded a convincing 2-0 victory against a Port Vale side who had previously boasted a 100 per cent winning record at home.
Venus took temporary charge following the resignation of Tony Mowbray last week and goals from Marvin Sordell and Chris McCann ensured that a difficult week ended on a positive note for the Sky Blues who moved off the foot of the League One table.
“It is vital we build on this and continue to work hard. We have to approach training and preparation in the same way we have been doing and see where it takes us,” said Venus.
“They need to take a bit of confidence from this, because we’ve faced a very good side who have started the season fantastically, specifically here at Vale Park.
“We maintained our performance throughout the 90 minutes, something that we have struggled to do so far this season. The next step is to maintain positive results and we’ll do everything we can to do that.”
The wet conditions contributed to a fairly low key opening at Vale Park on Saturday but it was the hosts who had the first chance when Lee Burge, recalled for the injured Reice Charles-Cook punched an Alex Jones free kick clear before the Vale striker chipped the ball over the bar.
Jordan Turnbull headed narrowly wide on 21 minutes and one minutes Daniel Agyei had the ball int he back of the net after beating Jak Alnwick with a neat chip but the goal was ruled out because of an earlier foul.
Bigirimana struck a free kick inches wide and Agyei shot straight at Alnwick before the breakthrough came ten minutes before the interval.
Bigirmana did well to break into the penalty before showing great composure to pick out Sordell who beat Alnwick with a powerful finish.
In-form Jones came close to scoring an equaliser but his deflected effort landed on top of Burge’s goal as the Sky Blues went into the break with a narrow 1-0 lead.
Vale pushed for an equaliser in the second half but despite lots of pressure the City defence stood firm while also looking dangerous at the other end of the field.
Agyei was presented with an opportunity on 67 minutes when Remie Streete’s stray pass fell kindly for the City striker but Alnwick did well to make a fine save.
Just six minutes however the visitors gave themselves breathing space by scoring a second. Again Vale gave the ball away to Agyei and this time he fed McCann who burst into the area before firing a powerful left-footed shot into the roof of the net.
With 90 minutes on the clock Jamie Sterry prevented what would have been a nervy finish after making a superb last ditch tackle on Martin Paterson while at the other end substitute Ruben Lameiras played in Marcus Tudgay but his shot drifted agonisingly wide.
“I thought we were very good across the whole pitch,” Venus added. “The energy the lads shown was fantastic and we fully deserved the win.
“My message to them was to keep focused and continue doing what they have been doing, because in parts it has been very good. We added what had been missing previously.”