Coventry City 0-2 Southend United
FOOTBALL: THE SKY Blues slipped 17 points away from safety in League One after falling to a hugely disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to play-off hopefuls Southend United.
In what was Mark Robins’ second game in charge following his return as manager at the Ricoh Arena, the Sky Blues struggled to cope with Southend’s physical presence and were consigned to a 21st defeat of the season.
In his post-match interview on Saturday Robins labelled his side as ‘naive’ and wanted them to ‘grow up’ following a 2-0 defeat at home to Bradford, but the new manager would not have been happy with what he saw from his side in the opening ten minutes.
With just 25 seconds on the clock, Anthony Wordsworth fired a powerful shot inches wide of Lee Burge’s left-hand post.
The visiting fans behind the goal thought it was in, but they did not have to wait long until they were celebrating the opener.
Theo Robinson broke free down the right and had the vision to pick out Nile Ranger by the penalty spot and the Southend striker beat Burge with a low finish to give Phil Brown’s side a second-minute lead.
Ranger came close to scoring a second in the 19th minute but his audacious effort from the corner of the box took a deflection and sailed over the bar.
Southend had dominated the game and it was no surprise to see them double their advantage four minutes later. Leonard unleashed a long-range free kick which took a big deflection off Gael Bigirimana that directed the ball into the top corner of the net.
The home side struggled to create any notable chances in what was a very disappointing opening 45 minutes for the hosts.
Their only effort on goal came from Ryan Haynes when he cut inside from the left into a dangerous position but his shot on his weaker right foot drifted high over the bar.
After walking off to a chorus of boos from the home support at the break, Robins was quick to make a change by introducing striker Kwame Thomas at the break for defender Jordan Turnball.
It seemed to have the desired effect with the hosts returning to the pitch and making a positive start.
A neat move down the right saw the ball fall nicely for Callum Reilly on the edge of the area but his effort on goal was tame and Southend goalkeeper Ted Smith was able to gather the ball comfortably.
Southend could have wrapped up the game in the 68th minute when Robinson made space for a shot by the penalty spot but Burge got down well to keep out the Southend striker’s powerful attempt at goal.
Despite finding themselves two goals down, the Sky Blues were struggling to break down a physical Southend side, and that had been the story very much throughout the whole game.
The final whistle was met by a chorus of boos as the Sky Blues slipped to a second consecutive defeat under new manager Robins, which leaves them staring down the barrel at relegation to the fourth tier.
Coventry City: Burge, Turnbull (K.Thomas), Bigirimana (G.Thomas 62), Clarke (c), Reilly, Beavon, Rawson, Tudgay, Haynes, Kelly-Evans, Stevenson.
Subs – Charles-Cook, Stokes, Lameiras, Reid, Gadzhev.