COVENTRY City failings in font of goal resulted in their first home defeat of the season against Tranmere Rovers in front of the Sky TV cameras.
Fans were one again entertained on Sunday by City’s fluent passing and forward movement. But they were ultimately left scratching their heads at the number of well-created guilt-edged chances that went begging.
Forwards Matt Godden and Jordy Hiwula – who again showed good movement and creativity – should have scored five goals between them as 19 chances throughout the team resulted in just one on target.
By contract, battered Tranmere had just two clear goalscoring chances. They converted the winner with seven minutes to go when a counter-attack resulted in the defence being caught on their heels. Ex-Aston Villa player Corey Blackett-Taylor pinged in an impressive strike low to Marosi’s left from inside the box.
Coventry City also enjoyed 70 per cent of the possession in their new found Birmingham home. The new third kit celebrating 40 years of 2-Tone in association with the anti-racism Kick It Out campaign graced the stunning St Andrew’s football pitch.
The 0-1 result saw City fall to their second defeat of the season in consecutive games and drop out of the promotion spots in seventh place.
Tranmere by contrast are struggling near the foot of the table and, like City, had absentees through injury and suspension.
They came with a clear game-plan to get men behind the ball and play on the counter where possible.
It meant they were not sucked in to playing the high press, chasing down Coventry’s sometimes over-playing defenders – a tactic which had cost the Sky Blues dearly in the 4-0 reverse at Rotherham last week.
It made for slower-than-usual City possession in the first half, which featured three main incidents. Hiwula had been put through by the excellently performing midfielder Liam Walsh for an over-the-shoulder volley in the box with only the keeper to beat. But he mistimed the difficult connection, and hit over the bar.
Just before half-time, Godden surprisingly missed a header on the edge of the six-yard-box after a Callum O’Hare cross appeared to take a deflection.
City should then have had a penalty from a clear handball with minutes to go before half-time.
Mark Robins’ men stepped on the gas in the second half when a fifteen-minute spell of fast and sometimes mesmerising attacking play through the midfield. Jordan Shipley and Zain Westbrooke were picking out superb through-balls to the strikers, and right-back Fankaty Dabo provided some good delivery, with his best game for weeks.
Glaring misses came when Godden fired over the bar with only the keeper to bea,t with a first touch when he was leaning back; and by Hiwula, who side-footed wide after a slide-rule Shipley pass.
Godden also hit the post with a curling effort when again he had showed impressive movement to help create the squandered chance.
Robins said: “It is really frustrating when you create the chances like we did and control the game like we did because your expected to win, especially with the chances we had because they were all clear cut.
“Football is cruel at times and when you don’t take your chances, you are always at risk of being on the end of a result like that.
“Whilst it was a smash and grab, we needed to keep our heads and stay positive which we have done in the past and got late goals but one or two went away from that and started playing longer which played into their hands.”
“I don’t want people to start thinking they can’t score or saying the way we play isn’t now the right way, because it is.
“I want us to show a little more speed with the ball coming out from the back, but I can’t be too critical even though I am really disappointed with the result but we have to be stronger both mentally and physically.”