18th Sep, 2018

Shootout win keeps Sky Blues' EFL Trophy hopes alive

FOOTBALL: TEENAGE striker Jordan Ponticelli bagged his first senior goal on Tuesday night as the Sky Blues kept their Checkatrade Trophy title defence alive with a penalty shootout win against Walsall.

The 19-year-old came on as a half-time substitute and scored City’s second goal – after Marc McNulty scored City’s first goal from the spot – to put Mark Robins’ side a goal ahead after initially trailing following Zeli Ismail’s strike from the penalty spot.

But a late equaliser from former Coventry City loanee Dan Agyei levelled the game with seconds remaining, forcing the match to penalties.

Under the new ‘ABBA’ format, City were handed an early blow when Marc McNulty missed his penalty.

City were soon level thought when Peter Vincenti and Ben Stevenson struck past Walsall keeper Roberts.

A miss from Agyei brought City back into the contest. And it was Ponticelli that helped City’s cause when he struck for the second time on the night.

The goal meant Walsall’s Joe Edwards had to beat Liam O’Brien, and he failed to do so – handing Coventry the extra point to keep their group stage qualification hopes alive.

After the game, Coventry boss Mark Robins said his young players ‘needed the game’ and admitted his side were running out of steam.

He said: “It (the draw) has given us a chance to qualify for the knockout stages.

“The good thing is we have scored some good goals and created a number of opportunities against League One opposition.

“We created enough chances to be three goals up at half time but we found ourselves a goal down.”

The gaffer was full of praise for Marc McNulty following the win after he scored from the spot before setting up Jordan Ponticelli to bag City’s second.

“McNulty played well tonight. He burried his spot-kick and then rolled the ball square for Jordan Ponticelli to get his first goal. Which is brilliant.

“It is nice for Jordan because he is off the mark.

“You saw what it meant to him. He is raw. Sometimes he is a little naive becuase he is young but I like that in him.

“The contribution from McNulty to charge through and lay that on for him was oustanding.”

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