COVENTRY City face two tricky away games after a deserved 1-0 home win against fellow promoted side Wycombe secured a second consecutive league win.
Recent forward recruit Conor Chaplin, tasked with replacing Marc McNulty’s goals, scored his first from open play on Saturday after weeks of creativity but lack of fortune in front of goal.
His precise 82-minute header inside the box to beat the excellent former City keeper Ryan Allsop came from a top class cross from the Sky Blues’ young right-back Dujon Sterling, the skilful but still learning Chelsea loanee.
Following the 2-1 smash and grab at Charlton, it took Coventry City to twelth place in League One, five points off the playoffs.
They will overtake Saturday’s opponents Southend by winning in Essex, although the ninth placed side are in form have won four of their last five League games.
Mark Robins’ side then go to struggling Bradford on Tuesday before tough home fixtures against fellow promotion chasers Doncaster Rovers and Accrington Stanley.
The win against defensive minded and physical Wycombe Wanderers was a further display of passing and patience by a City side which Robins insists is still developing.
Another recent recruit, Jordy Hiwula, took the opportunity of a rare start in place of Jordan Shipley with a man-of-the-match performance.
Especially in the first half, he was instrumental in most of City’s best moves, and Alsopp’s impressive tip-over denied the former Manchester City youth player.
Coventry’s neat possession football, part of what Robins is seeking for his team’s ‘identity’, ensured they dominated the game, although the build-up was at times ponderous.
Despite another encouraging display, it was once again a frustrating afternoon for City and their fans given this season’s lack of end product. Pacey wide man Luke Thomas and Jonson Clark-Harris were among those lacking potency to match their promise, although their industry was again important.
Centre-backs Tom Davies and Jordan Willis put in impressive performances, yet sparing chances in the box had fallen to ‘the beast’ Adebayo Akinfenwa and keeper Allsop, who made a good connection from a stoppage time corner which sailed over the bar.
Speaking after the game, Robins said: “We did well, we dominated possession and dominated in terms of chances.
“It just felt like we needed a little bit more tempo, a bit more urgency and then we could get the goal.
“There was a definite, clear way that we wanted to play and we created great openings but then took a wrong option right at the death.
“Having to play against Wycombe who play in a particular way that suits them, we played against it last year so we were well aware of the strengths that they have.
“There were some good performances today, Jordy [Hiwula] was instrumental in everything we did.
“He did brilliantly on a few occasions and then it looks like he needs to slip it into one of the others or slide it into someone for a tap into an empty net, but it’s a really good win.
“Conor [Chaplin] kept plugging away and got his great goal in the end, it showed that you don’t have to be 6ft 3’ to win a header.
“He got his just rewards because he was busy and was working, it just didn’t fall for him quite right on other occasions.
“Jonson Clarke-Harris led the line fantastically well and Luke [Thomas] was also as busy as he always is.”
“At the end of the day they are working hard in training and understand what we are after.
“But, we’re still not there yet, it’s still way a way from where we want to be.”