MARCUS Tudgay was the hero for the Sky Blues after his late equaliser earned the Sky Blues a point against Scunthorpe United and eased the pressure on manager Steven Pressley.
The experienced striker had looked to be heading away from the Ricoh Arena last month after seemingly being deemed surplus to requirements.
But Pressley made a ‘u-turn’ on his decision and on Tuesday evening Tudgay repaid that faith by scoring an injury-time equaliser to earn the Sky Blues a point which moves them four points away from the League One relegation zone.
“I’ve given the gaffer food for thought, the goal obviously helps my corner.” said Tudgay. “Hopefully I’ll be back in the team, fingers crossed, I’ve waited for my chance.
“There were some angry words in the dressing room, not angry because we don’t get on, not at all, but because we feel we should have won the game.
“With my goal it’s a great ball from Flecky and I’ve seen the Keeper off his line, so it was an instinctive strike and fortunately it’s gone in and got us a point.
“But the goal doesn’t change the fact we are all disappointed with that result. Sure, it might have been a game that earlier in the season we would have gone on to lose and we battled hard to get a point.”
City boss Pressley added: ““If we maintain the levels I have seen from the last three games, then I have no fears about us pulling away from trouble.”
Tuesday’s match had been billed by many as the return of former Sky Blues stars Gary McSheffrey and Jordan Clarke, as well as the return of former boss Mark Robins.
All three were no doubt eager to get one over on their former club but it was the Sky Blues who looked lively early on, with Luke Williams twice firing narrowly wide from just outside the area.
The visitors grew into the match with McSheffrey delivering a dangerous cross from the left which was scrambled away by the home defence and Paddy Madden saw his volley take a slight deflection over the bar.
Marcus Williams produced an excellent challenge to deny Dominic Samuel who had found himself clean through on goal but the same could not be said for Aaron Martin at the other end.
The Sky Blues defender fouled McSheffrey on the edge of the area and the former City fan’s favourite curled the resultant free kick past a helpless Jamie Jones.
Madden almost doubled the visitor’s lead with a volley which Jones handled well while at the other end Martin almost made up for his earlier mistake but his header from a deep cross by Adam Barton was well held by Luke Daniels.
The hosts continued to search for an equaliser the lively Aaron Phillips firing wide after making a clever break down the right and but the best chance of the half fell to Samuel just before the break.
Tudgay controlled an excellent John Fleck pass in the area and dragged the ball back for Samuel who shot first-time at goal but his effort was kept out by Daniels who produced a superb save to keep his clean sheet intact.
After all the excitement of the first half the second did not quite live up to the same expectations. It seemed as though the visitors were happy to take a 1-0 win while the Sky Blues at times lacked the urgency to find an equaliser.
Phillips, who was full of energy throughout the match, made a great burst down the right and delivered a telling ball into the box but there was nobody on the other end to meet it.
While on the hour mark Madden came within inches of settling the tie but his powerful shot thundered against the crossbar.
George Thomas and Simeon Jackson were introduced which set up a lively final ten minutes.
Jackson crossed for Tudgay who somehow missed from six yards out and when Thomas’ curling shot landed on the roof of the net it felt as though the Sky Blues were destined to slip to their fourth defeat in six matches.
But right at the death Tudgay produced a moment of magic when he got on the end of Fleck pass and lofted the ball over Daniels to rescue a point for Pressley’s side.