Match Report


Wed 31 Jul 13

Coventry City made it five league games without defeat after a workmanlike win at Walsall’s Banks’s Stadium.

Franck Moussa added to his midweek wondergoal with the simplest of tap-ins, early in the second half, and that was enough for another three points as the Sky Blues held on to their slender advantage to keep up their good run.

Manager Steven Pressley was forced into one change from the team that so brilliantly beat Leyton Orient on Tuesday, as Aaron Phillips replaced the injured Jordan Willis at right-back for his first start.

Pressley’s side picked up right where they left off too, their high press causing their opponnts to slip up and only a crucial clearance from captain Andy Butler prevented Callum Wilson and Leon Clarke combining for a 10th minute opener.

Wilson’s pace was proving equally problematic for the hosts. In the 14th minute he got in behind to collect Carl Baker’s pass and tee up Moussa – but the Belgian curled just wide from 18 yards.

The visitors were moving the ball really well and having the better of the play but struggling to create any clear-cut chances.

There were reminders of the danger at the other end however as Sam Mantom first fizzed a low ball across goal and then shot wide from 15 yards in the 32nd minute.

The hosts were growing into the game and almost took the lead five minutes before the break through a Craig Westcarr free-kick.

The striker’s first effort was blocked by the arms of Fleck in the City wall, resulting in a yellow card for the Scot and another opportunity for Westcarr. At the second attempt he powered toward the near post but Joe Murphy did well to turn behind at full stretch.

Westcarr went close again in the final minute of the half, deflecting Andy Taylor’s low drive and wrong-footing Murphy – but it dribbled just wide.

The second half started somewhat slower than the first but that didn’t bother City as they took the lead in the 54th minute.

Walsall were forced to turn behind Leon Clarke’s dangerous cross from the right and the breakthrough came from the resulting corner.

Richard O’Donnell made a great low save to flick away Jordan Clarke’s downward header from Baker’s corner but it fell straight into the path of Moussa who tapped in to the delight of the travelling fans behind the goal.

The game slipped into something of a lull after the goal as City kept their hosts at arm’s length while threatening little themselves.

That is until Moussa began committing defenders and won 68th minute corner.

A period of concentrated pressure followed as the Sky Blues swung in no fewer than three crosses before Fleck fired over with a long-range volley indicative of the confidence and enthusiasm he was playing with.

It was all about possession and protection after that as City sought to hold on to the ball while stifling the Saddlers.

A long shot from substitute Romaine Saywers is as close as they came while Wilson would have doubled the lead late on but for a smart stop from O’Donnell, diving low to his right.

Sky Blues (4-4-2): Murphy; Phillips, Webster, J Clarke, Adams; Baker (Daniels 90), Thomas, Fleck, Moussa (Barton 82); Wilson, L Clarke.

Subs not used: Burge, Garner, Loza, Urquhart, Haynes.

Walsall (4-1-4-1): O’Donnell; J Chambers, Downing, Butler, Taylor; Featherstone; Baxendale (Gray 63), A Chambers, Mantom, Hemmings (Sawyers 80); Westcarr (Hewitt 71).

Subs not used: Lewis, Purkiss, Lalkovic, Benning.

Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey)

Attendance: 6,519 (2,138 Sky Blue Army)


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