Coventry City failed to halt Notts County’s away record after losing 2-1 to the Magpies at the Ricoh Arena today.
County have not lost in 14 away league games, and goals from Andre Boucard on 38 minutes and Yoann Arquin on 85 minutes secured the three points for the visitors. Richard Wood’s header on 88 minutes set up a grandstand finish, but it was not enough to give Coventry a share of the spoils.
In an end-to-end first-half, the opening chance of the half fell to the Sky Blues after only three minutes. Following some neat build up play with Jamie Reckord on the left hand side, John Fleck burst into the penalty area, only to have his near-post effort saved by Bartosz Bialkowski.
The visitors had a great chance of their own on 15 minutes, when Arquin found himself in space in the penalty area. His deft flick from six yards out after Gary Liddle’s cross caused the hosts no problems in a threatening area.
Despite the scare, Coventry should have taken the lead on 18 minutes, after Callum Ball’s 18 yard effort was spilled by Bialkowski in the area. Fleck managed to get to the rebound eight yards out, but sliced his shot well wide.
Immediately afterwards Jamal Campbell-Ryce almost made the Sky Blues pay, when his vicious drive went narrowly wide of Joe Murphy’s right hand post. Murphy was called into action soon after to deny Campbell-Ryce again, this time his free-kick was comfortably saved by the Irishman.
Coventry then had another chance to take the lead, and were unfortunate not to go ahead when James Bailey’s cross from the right was narrowly missed by Ball inside the six yard box.
Shortly afterwards Murphy was at his best to deny the Magpies again, as Jeff Hughes, who eluded the Coventry back-line had his effort from 14 yards well saved by the ‘keeper.
The pressure soon told, as on 38 minutes, Boucard was allowed to carry the ball towards the heart of the Sky Blues defence, and his sweet 25 yard strike gave Murphy no chance as it flew into the bottom corner.
County started the second half as they ended the first, as Francois Zoko forced Murphy into action with a 25 yard strike which provoked a straightforward save. Zoko was at it again on 55 minutes after a great touch from Hughes, the Ivorian fired harmlessly over from the edge of the box when he could have tested Murphy more severely.
Coventry made their first substitution when skipper Carl Baker was replaced by Steven Jennings on 61 minutes, but this did not stop the relentless Zoko, who had had his third chance in a matter of minutes. This time Murphy made a great save to deny him, as the ‘keeper managed to claw out the County midfielder’s header from six yards which looked a certain goal.
James Bailey then made way for Cody McDonald on 64 minutes, and the Sky Blues began to put the Magpies on the back-foot.
Nathan Cameron was then booked for a foul on Bialkowski as the ‘keeper attempted to punt the ball down the field. With 12 minutes to go, Moussa hit a ball over the top which Fleck touched into the path of McDonald in the area, but the move was thwarted by some solid County defending.
The threatening Zoko was then replaced by Lee Hughes, and Reckord was replaced by Chris Hussey as the Sky Blues chased the elusive equaliser. Despite dominating the latter end of the second period, Coventry were caught on the break, and the Magpies had their second goal against the run of play.
Arquin found space on the edge of the box, and curled a beautiful strike into the bottom right hand corner on 85 minutes to double the visitor’s advantage.
Shortly after though, Coventry had a lifeline, when Wood was left unmarked from a corner to power in a header and gave the hosts hope on 88 minutes.
The Sky Blues piled on the pressure in the closing moments, and the in-form David McGoldrick found space in the final minutes at the back post. His header was comfortable for the ‘keeper and County held on for three points at the Ricoh.
Attendance : 11,882.