A BELATED birthday gift in the form of a late winning goal was awarded to striker George Thomas as the Sky Blues defeated Bristol Rovers 1-0 at the Ricoh Arena.
It was the second win in four days for Mark Robins’ side, who earlier in the week defeated Port Vale 2-1.
While surviving relegation remains a huge task, the Sky Blues further boosted their chances of making a late climb up the table with another improved performance.
Thomas – who celebrated his 20th birthday yesterday – scored 12 minutes from time as he sprinted into the 18-yard box after making two costly errors moments before.
He made no such mistake when striking past Rovers keeper Joe Lumley though as his effort was buried into bottom left corner.
The goal followed multiple clear cut chances for both teams.
Jodi Jones blasted a shot high and wide after being picked out at the back post from a Kyel Reid cross. And for Bristol Byron Moore curled a shot wide when handed plenty of space and time following an interception in midfield.
Rovers weren’t short in chances after Thomas’ goal either. With seconds remaining, a free kick in the City half found Ollie Clarke – whose volley was shot high over Lee Burge’s crossbar.
In the first half, Bristol Rovers had two penalty shouts turned down, one for a handball following a cross, the other when Luke James was pulled down to the ground by Farrend Rawson mid-way through the opening half.
Mark Robins’ men started the first half promisingly. However Rovers were soon picking holes in the City defence as Rory Gaffney’s cross led to a strong chance from Billy Bodin, whose effort was deflected wide.
Coventry’s first shot on goal came in the 14th minute when Jodi Jones’ freekick was comfortably gathered by Rovers’ keeper Joe Lumley.
Ten minutes later and both teams had chances to take the lead within moments.
Firstly, Bristol’s Luke James had his shot blocked down one end. The block sent Jodi Jones on the counter attack, and – although his failed to provide Calum Reilly with a through ball – a poor clearance led to Reilly being presented with a clear chance from just outside the box. His shot went wide though.
A free-kick on the edge of the box for Bristol after 32 minutes was blocked on two occasions. While down the other end Stuart Beavon’s close range effort was comfortably saved.
The win is Coventry’s second this week and provides the Sky Blues with another invaluable confidence boost ahead of next week’s Checkatrade Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium.