Coventry City 0-1 Scunthorpe United
FOOTBALL: AN UNBEATEN run of 14 games at the Ricoh Arena came to an end for the Sky Blues on Saturday after they lost out by a single goal against League One leaders Scunthorpe United.
Mark Venus’ side produced an impressive performance but they could find no way past Luke Daniels and Josh Morris’ goal proved to be the difference between two evenly matched sides.
The visitors were flying high at the top of League One having lost just two league matches this season and it looked as though they were going to take an early lead with ten minutes on the clock.
A shot from the edge of the area took a deflection and landed perfectly for Paddy Madden who volleyed first time but Lee Burge did superbly well to make himself big and block the shot.
Five minutes later Daniel Agyei was picked out inside the area and drilled a low ball across goal which landed to Andre Wright but the Scunthorpe back line made an important block in front of goal.
Jamie Sterry scored the all-important equaliser at Morecambe last Sunday to keep the Sky Blues in the FA Cup and he showed his defensive qualities with 20 minutes gone by producing an excellent interception in front of goal to deny Tom Hopper.
The best chance of the half came shortly before the half-hour mark as Wright picked out Sterry at the far post but his neat volley took a slight deflection and bounced inches wide of goal.
Despite their respective league positions, it was the hosts who looked the more likely to find an opening and Venus’ side had two further opportuities to go in front.
On 35 minutes Gael Bigirimana played in Agyei and the young striker made space for a shot by cutting inside but he shot wildly over the bar when he perhaps should have hit the target.
In first half injury-time Sordell, who had been fairly quiet in the first half, almost found an opening but his curling shot from the edge of the area was palmed away by Luke Daniels.
The visitors were quick out of the blocks after the break with Hopper heading high over the bar on 49 minutes when he should have done better and two minutes later he set up Madden who shot wide of the target by the penalty spot.
The warning signs had been there for the Sky Blues and it was no surprise to see the league leaders take a 55th minute lead.
Madden curled in an inswinging cross from the left which was met at the near post by Josh Morris who poked home his 14th league goal of the season.
The goal seemed to spark Venus’ side into life and they responded well with Lameiras unleashing a powerful shot which was well held by Daniels.
With the home support behind them the hosts thought they had pulled level on 71 minutes when Marvin Sordell crossed from the left and Jones let the ball roll through for Lameiras who dragged is shot agonisingly wide of the target.
The hosts continue to push for an equalising goal that their performance deserved and full-back Sterry had two chances in quick succession to find the back of the net.
He first got on the end of a cross from the right but Daniels was able to keep out his header and then he was given what seemed like an eternity to control the ball and adjust his body to shoot but his goal-bound effort was blocked thanks to a superb last ditch tackle by Conor Townsend.
The result could have been put beyond doubt four minutes from time when Hopper was put clean through on goal and he beat Burge with a delicate shot but thankfully for the hosts his effort was wide of the target
Bigirimana shot high over the bar late on but that proved to be the last chance of the match for the hosts who fell to their first defeat at home since the end of March.
Team: Burge, Willis (c), Turnbull, Page, Sterry, Wright (Jones 65), Rose (Reid 74), Bigirimana, Stevenson, Sordell, Agyei (Lameiras 56)
Subs not used – Charles-Cook, Gadzhev, Tudgay, Harries
“I thought it was an enjoyable game for the fans. I think we went toe-to-toe with with one of the best teams in the league and we’ve been unfortunate to lose in the end.
“We limited their chances for a team that has scored so many goals this season. I feel we created the better chances and on another day we might have scored but we didn’t. They’ve seen the game out really well.
“I can’t fault the commitment and desire of my team. We could have done better with the ball at times. We could have got the ball in the final third withe a bit more quality.
“They’re only young and they’re trying. They went toe-to-toe with the current leaders – the best team in league as far as I can see – they did themselves justice.
“We made bad passes at key moments but that’swhat they’re going to do. That’s what every team does in the league. We will work hard to try and improve that.”
Support community journalism by making a contribution
Thanks for reading this and the Coventry Observer.