FOOTBALL: THE SKY Blues fell to a disappointing 2-0 defeat away at Rochdale with goals in ether half by Ian Henderson settling a low quality encounter at Spotland Stadium on Easter Monday.
Mark Robins made four changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Charlton on Good Friday, with Chris Stokes coming to defence in place of Ryan Haynes, while Callum Reilly returned in midfield. Kyel Reid was also recalled to the starting line-up and Kwame Thomas replaced the injured Stuart Beavon.
The visitors made a bright start with Ben Stevenson and Gael Bigirimana having potential shots on goal blocked, while the lively George Thomas was put through on goal but failed to get a shot away.
But with 17 minutes on the clock it was the home side who got their noses in front when Nathaniel Mendez-Laing crossed the ball to the back post where Ian Henderson was well placed to head home the opener.
The best chance of the half for the Sky Blues came in the 34th minute of play. Jordan Turnbull carried the ball out of defence and picked out Reilly who on his returned delivered a dangerous cross for Kwame Thomas who headed the ball across goal but there was not other City player there able to get touch.
Lee Burge was called into action in first half stoppage time when he saved comfortably from a Calvin Andrew as Rochdale took a narrow one-goal lead into the break.
City’s task of finding a way back into the match was made all the more difficult seven minutes into the second half when the home side doubled their advantage.
A superb defence-splitting match by Mendez-Laing put Henderson clean through on goal and the Rochdale striker beats Burge to put his side 2-0 in front.
The goal sparked manager Robins to make a double change, with Ruben Lameiras and Marcus Tudgay being introduced.
Both sides than had chances shortly before the hour mark with Rawson heading wide at the far post while at the other end Mendez-Laing strolled past four City players before shooting wide.
With 20 minutes remaining defender Jordan Willis came close to pulling a goal back for the visitors but his volley sailed narrowly over the bar.
Robins’ side were dealt another big blow late on when midfielder Ben Stevenson was forced to leave the field on a stretcher, forcing City to end the match with ten minutes but it remained 2-0 at the final whistle.
Coventry City: Burge (GK), Willis (Di.Kelly-Evans 75), Turnbull, Rawson, Stokes, Bigirimana, Stevenson, Reilly, G. Thomas, Reid (Lameiras 54), K.Thomas (Tudgay 54).
Subs: Charles-Cook (GK), Foley, Gadzhev, Folivi.