Coventry City failed to reproduce their recent scintillating League One form in a 1-1 home draw against a combative, capable and resurgent MK Dons.
Amid rising expectations going into the game within one point of automatic-promotion second place, the result after Morris’s 75-minute equaliser felt more like a defeat.
Factors included what appeared to be understandable tiredness among usually tireless creative players who’ve been key to a fast-paced and fluent attacking midfield this season.
Notable dips in influence came from midfielders Zane Westbrooke, Jordan Shipley and Liam Kelly, while others appeared to tire as the game progressed.
They included City’s best performers today, the tenacious Liam Walsh and the marauding right wing-back Fankaty Dabo whose dynamic runs and crosses into the box were not matched by City’s lack of sharpness in the final third. That included from recent double-hattrick goalscorer Matt Godden who struggled to get into the game.
Yet Coventry City still did more than enough to win the game. They reverted today to missing the good chances they had created.
The home side took the lead in the second minute with another impressive Sam McCallum strike from outside the box – this one sat up nicely for him in space and demanded to be hit with his sweet low half-volley.
But City failed to finish off their opponents in two 20-minute spells of dominance in each half, and long periods of lacklustre and faltering possession against MK Dons’ strong pressing.
Godden on 68 minutes and sub Max Biamou a minute later both fired well enough at the advancing keeper Nichols from angles to the right of the box after impressive approach play from the excellent Callum O’Hare – who had once again injected high energy and creative flair as a substitute, on the hour mark.
Morris’s equaliser minutes later came from another attack down City’s right when McFadzean failed to effectively deal with an awkward cross and it fell kindly for a first time finish inside the box.
MK Dons have had impressive wins of late against teams at the top end of League One and they showed why – with a physical pressing game, good organisation and passing ability.
With a dynamic attacking three, they had looked the slightly better side without carving out clear-cut chances after City had taken the lead. It took Coventry 25 minutes before they began to take control and show In glimpses what they are capable of.
On 31 minutes, Shipley’s left-footed hooked half volley inside the box was tipped round the post.
Two minutes later, McCallum – having another quality first half before fading in the second – combined well with Shipley on the left to win a free-kick, but the latter’s strike was charged down.
A magnificent cross-field ball by Walsh on 36 minutes with the outside of his boot led to one of many powerful and dangerous Dabo crosses into the box that evaded the strikers.
On 44 minutes, the omnipresent Walsh had City’s best chance with a first-time shot on the edge of the area from another bustling run and muscular cross from Dabo.
After the break, MK Dons’ Healey missed a golden chance to score in space In the box, firing wide of Marosi’s right post after too easily beating three defenders.
A draw was probably a fair result on the balance of play although City on another day would have put the three points to bed on chances created.
The good news was that, despite dropping one place to fourth, they narrowed the gap between themselves and table-topping Wycombe to just three points, with a game in hand.