COVENTRY CITY take on fellow promotion hopefuls Accrington on Saturday for a place in the place-off positions after five historic back-to-back league wins.
The amazing feat, last accomplished by the Sky Blues in 1998, was sealed in a nailbiting 2-1 home win against another strong promotion contender, Doncaster Rovers.
Saturday’s visitors Accrington, promoted along with Mark Robins’ men from League Two last year, sit in the final play-off berth on the same 27 points as Coventry who are in seventh, with only ‘goals scored’ separating them.
Coventry fans will remember Accrington last year as a tight, well organised and physically unit, quite unlike attack-minded Doncaster who took complete control of the second half and pulled a 69th minute goal back from Joe Wright, but were denied a stoppage time equaliser with a Junior Brown goal-line clearance.
It was difficult to understand Coventry City’s change of approach at half-time after a scintillating first half saw them go toe-to-toe as an attacking force with Grant McCann’s Donny.
Whether it was a mixture of fatigue and relentless Rovers intensity, or risky tactics, the Sky Blues appeared to sit too deep inviting trouble, relying on counter-attacks that simply didn’t come.
Fans’ frustration was audible as Coventry all-but failed to mount a single attack in the entire second half.
But there was no over-criticism from any quarter after the encouraging first half which could have given Coventry a 5-3 lead at the interval.
The again excellent centre-backs Tom Davies and Jordan Willis had chances inside the box from set pieces – the latter blasting over with a ‘centre-half’s finish’ quite unlike his Wembley play-off final finesse.
Muscular striker Jonson Clarke-Harris also blasted wide after being put through on the left to go one-on-one with keeper Marko Marosi.
Coventry’s goals were fine strikes from the hard-working and skillful wide midfielders Jordy Hiwula and Luke Thomas respectively.
The first was a calmly taken volley from inside the box into the bottom left corner after Tom Davies had again battled for aerial dominance from a set-piece.
Young Derby loanee Thomas had time from 25 yards when the ball broke to him from a corner to take it inside onto his left foot and unleash an unstoppable strike which went in off the near post for his first Coventry goal.
Sky Blues boss Mark Robins said after Saturday’s match: “I thought it was a good game, the first half was really good, and I thought we played some good stuff. We kept them at bay really and we had some good chances.
“We took the lead through another set play and the second one is a brilliant strike from Luke Thomas, which is nothing short of what he deserves with his work rate since he’s been here.
“I’m delighted for everybody really because that was a huge shift at the end of a really tough week.
“It was an amazing performance, amazing work rate. There was a desire to win. When you’re in front like that, you know the opposition is going to come at you, especially when you’re tired it gives the opposition a lift.
“We conceded a poor goal from our point of view, but I think that they probably deserved to score over the game because they created a lot of opportunities themselves in the second half.
“I’m delighted with the three points, delighted with the win and the application from everyone and it was just a great win.”