COVENTRY City boss Mark Robins says there should be no need for panicking or lost confidence in the promotion push – after a shock 6-2 home reverse to Yeovil Town yesterday.
He said he would be “disappointed” by any such negative reaction – given the one-off display was completely out-of-character for the side which has had League Two’s best defensive record.
The Sky Blues remain in a play-off berth with a traditional “six-pointer” to come at promotion rivals Notts County on Saturday.
City were undone by a mad first 15 minutes of costly individual errors which the visitors – pressing high up the field with the energy of a side that had not played for three weeks – took full advantage of.
The first was by keeper Lee Burge who dropped a cross under little pressure, while the third resulted from an uncharacteristically short headed backpass by Jack Grimmer.
In between, Yeovil’s second goal followed midfield skipper Michael Doyle being robbed of the ball to leave a two-on-two situation, whereby both City defenders went for the same ball, the usually reliable Rod McDonald appearing to be the chief culprit.
It also appeared to be a complacent first 15 minutes, with an abject failure by the home side to take the game on the front foot from the kick-off, as they did against league leaders Luton recently.
Having given the visitors a seemingly unassailable three-goal start, the Sky Blues belatedly became an attacking force, creating around 20 chances in a game which was far closer and more exciting than the scoreline suggested.
Substitute Max Biamou – fresh from his Good Friday equaliser at Newport – was brought on in the first half to give extra firepower alongside Marc McNulty, who lacked his usual potency, with Jonson Clarke-Harris moving to the right.
City attacked with urgency, much of it coming through Kyel Reid on the left, who looked a threat after being given a rare start since his return from a loan spell.
Eventually the pressure paid off shortly after the re-start with McNulty’s cross from the right teeing up Biamou for a tidy first-touch finish at the near post.
Optimism over a fightback was quelled with the first of three breakaway away goals, which all emanated from City having to chase the game by committing numbers forward.
Biamou thundered in his second to make it 4-2 from 30 yards with a spectacular strike after playing a one-two, and only the bar prevented his hat-trick late on.
The Sky Blues are now seventh with all to play for in the last six games.
Robins said after the game: “All season we have been really strong so this is a real surprise.
“It is really disappointing because we have created our own problems by conceding three really quick goals. The game looked like it was out of our reach after ten minutes.
“We were really soft, and I felt that we were nervy on the surface and we tried our best to get ourselves back in the game – and we had a load of opportunities to score – but it is really difficult to look past the negatives.
“If confidence has taken a hit then I will be really disappointed because this is just one game. One game in a season where we have been really strong.”
“You can’t plan for these errors and that is the most disappointing thing about it.
“People make mistakes, and I have told the players that, but it is how you respond from them and we did not reposed well enough.
“It was naive defending and all season it has been very good. This is unfathomable at this moment in time.
He added: “We do not want to dwell on it. We have a big game coming up and it is all about how we respond.
“We have taken a little step back today.”
“I am not looking at this result and thinking that it is panic time. This is a six-game season now and we have to do better than the teams around us to stand a chance.”