Match Report


Posted By  Nick Connoll ,  Wed 16 Jan 13

Coventry City moved to within three points of the play-off places thanks to Leon Clarke's first league goal for the club to topple top-of-the-table Tranmere Rovers at the Ricoh Arena.

Clarke notched his second goal for the Sky Blues after 19 minutes to give Mark Robins' side a first-half advantage they defended despite a spirited late rally from the League One leaders.

City boss Robins rang just one change to his side for the clash following the weekend away defeat to Carlisle United, reinstating Cyrus Christie at the expense of Jordan Clarke at right back.

The Sky Blues started confidently and controlled the early possession and crafting an opening for Gary McSheffrey for four minutes which he pulled just wide.

They went even closer four minutes later when Carl Baker played a cheeky tap inside to Christie who took a touch before firing from the edge of the area, Owain Fon Williams making the stop for Tranmere but spilling the ball just past his post and behind.

The Sky Blues continued to dominate possession and they were good value for their lead when, after 19 minutes, Clarke notched his first league goal for the club.

A deep corner from Baker picked out Richard Wood at the back post to head back across the six-yard area where Clarke was waiting to hook home a volley.

Lifted by their opener, City continued to press in search of a second and two minutes before the half hour they caused a panic in the Tranmere area again when Gary McSheffrey, giving Danny Holmes a torrid time down the left flank, beat the full-back to swing in a cross aimed for Clarke who was only denied by a mis-punched clearance from Fon Williams that nearly found its way to a prowling Franck Moussa with the 'keeper off his line.

Another delivery with nine minutes to go carved out another chance for City, this time it was Baker's cross and it reached Clarke who did not get enough power behind his header to trouble Fin Williams.

Tranmere came out of the blocks quickly in the second half though and were denied three minutes after the restart when a volleyed effort from Liam Palmer was deflected over the bar by Moussa.

The Sky Blues stayed dangerous though and they highlighted that on the counter attack after 51 minutes when a crossfield ball from Clarke set Baker racing down the right flank, his pacy cut back finding Moussa just on the edge of the area to shoot first time and fire just wide.

Steven Jennings did the same a minute later after a superb flowing move which ended with Fleck flicking the ball into the path of the midfielder who steered his volley into the side netting.

City also continued to have some success with their set pieces and they came a whisker away from a second after 57 minutes when a deep corner delivery from Baker again found Wood to head back into the six-yard box, this time McSheffrey hooking towards goal and forcing a save from Fon Williams.

The Tranmere 'keeper was busy again a minute later when Baker was brought down by Bakayogo just outside the area, McSheffrey taking the dead ball and forcing Fon Williams to parry away.

David Amoo was left disappointed with his own end result on the hour when Tranmere broke and swept a ball to the forward who took a touch but took too long and saw his effort deflected wide by Christie.

The visitors had their best chance of the game to level up after 70 minutes but were denied first after a top class save from Murphy to keep out Ash Taylor's diving header from a corner delivery and then Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro's follow-up which Christie scooped off the line before City scramble the ball out of play as it was surrounded by half the players on the pitch desperate to get a touch.

City went close with another set piece on 77 when Baker forced a low save out of Fon Williams and the City skipper went close again two minutes later when he brought down a high ball and shot on the turn but dragging his effort wide.

Murphy continued to deny Tranmere at the other end though with another world class save to keep out Bakayogo whose header looked certain for the back of the net from four yards until Murphy's lightning reflexes denied him on the line, allowing William Edjenguele to toe the ball behind. 

Fon Williams had to produce an impressive stop of his own with two minutes to when a cleverly worked move between Blair Adams, McSheffrey and substitute Stephen Elliott allowed the latter to cut into the box and shoot low through the legs of Taylor only to see his effort stopped by the Rovers 'keeper down low.

The fourth official then signalled four minutes of injury time which left City fans in an anxious state.

They need not have worried though as the Sky Blues saw out the added time which only produced a late fruitless free-kick for the away side which turned out to be the last action of a game which saw City return to winning ways with their first league victory of 2013.

Attendance: 9,668 (487 away)


Coventry City: Murphy, Christie, Adams, Wood, Edjenguele, Moussa (Elliott 64), Jennings, Baker (c), Fleck (Thomas 64) , McSheffrey, L Clarke
Subs: Dunn (GK), J Clarke, Cameron, Bell, Barton

Tranmere Rovers: Fon Williams, Holmes, Taylor (c), Palmer, Harrison (Stockton 61), Bakayogo, Power, Amoo (Bell-Baggie 77), O'Halloran (McGurk 61), Daniels, Akpa Akpro
Subs: Mooney (GK), Black, Goodison, Robinson

Bookings: Bakayogo (TRA), Holmes (TRA)

Referee: G Ward
Assistant Referees: D Leach, J Scott
Fourth Official: M Perry

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