IT PROVED to be a tale of two halves again for the Sky Blues as they were held to an entertaining 2-2 draw at home to Rochdale as their search a first home league win since October continues.
Goals from debutants Dominic Samuel and Sanmi Odelusi, with a Stephen Dawson strike sandwiched between had given Steven Pressley’s side a 2-1 lead at the break.
The hosts were looking comfortable but in the second half a rejuvenated Rochdale were allowed to find a way into the match with Calvin Andrew equalising and the visitors perhaps should have taken all three points away from their first ever visit to the Ricoh Arena.
It had been a busy few days in the build up to Saturday’s match with Pressley drafting in loan pair Samuel and Odelusi in a bid to push the Sky Blues back up the League One table.
And the Championship duo showed signs of their potential early on.
Odelusi signed just in time to play and first tested Joshua Lillis in the Rochdale goal with a low, long range effort before heading a dangerous Jim O’Brien cross from left agonisingly wide.
Pressley’s side were on top during the early exchanges and they almost made their possession count on 20 minutes but Franck Nouble’s glancing header drifted wide of goal.
The breakthrough finally came on 20 minutes when O’Brien was put clean through on goal and despite Lillis making a smart stop to deny the City skipper, Samuel was on-hand to fire home the loose ball into the top corner of the net.
Despite looking dangerous on the break, with O’Brien, Nouble and Odelusi all looking a threat, they were unable to find a second and Rochdale made them pay.
A rare attack on the Sky Blues goal saw Stephen Dawson beat Jamie Jones with a well executed side-footed shot from the edge of the area and the visitors were back on level terms.
Despite the setback Pressley’s side continued to venture forward and the hosts got their noses back in front thanks to another debut goal from what appears to be an inspired double loan signing.
Odelusi picked the ball up from the edge of the area and beat two players with a clever piece of skill which opened up a bit of space before beating Lillis with a low finish into the bottom corner of the net.
The Sky Blues were dealt a blow in at half-time with Reda Johnson withdrawing in place of Ryan Haynes because of a suspected thigh injury.
The second period started with Rochdale enjoying much more possession but they were unable to create any notable chances in front of goal.
At the other end Nouble came close to scoring his first goal since early November on the hour mark with a curling shot from just outside the area but Lillis was able to palm his effort away.
By now the hosts were camped deep inside their own half and with Rochdale firmy on the offensive it was no surprise to see Keith Hill’s side pull back on level terms for the second time in the match.
The Sky Blues failed to deal with Rochdale’s aerial threat from a corner and substitute Andrew was able to head home unmarked from close range in the 65th minutes.
Both sides had chances to steal the win. Andrews headed over and fellow Reuben Noble-Lazarus saw his powerful, long range shot superbly tipped away by a full stretch Jones for Rochdale.
While Lillis produced two fine saves to deny Samuel’s acrobatic volley and defender Aaron Martin’s header which looked destined for the bottom corner as but both teams were forced to share the spoils.