Match Report

 

Posted By  Nick Connoll ,  Wed 07 Aug 13

It was another dramatic afternoon of football at Sixfields Stadium as City took a point away from a 4-4 thriller with Preston North End.

The lead changed three times in the last seven minutes of the game as the Sky Blues deservedly stretched their unbeaten league run to three games.

City boss Steven Pressley unsurprisingly stayed with the same starting line-up that gave the Sky Blues back-to-back league wins against Bristol City and Carlisle United.

After a tense opening nine minutes though it was the visitors whop opened the scoring when a Lee Holmes corner got a flick on to the back post for Tom Clarke whose half volley on the turn squirmed its way past Joe Murphy.

Despite the early goal though it was the Sky Blues that made most of the running and carved out a pair of opportunities four minutes after going behind, first when Franck Moussa's left sided cross popped up and saw Leon Clarke contest the ball with Preston 'keeper Declan Rudd.

Secondly when Moussa played Blair Adams on the overlap for the young full-back to fire another low delivery which Clarke was inches away from connecting with.

The goal City's play deserved did come after 26 minutes and it came from a lightning quick breakaway as Wilson was let loose to burst past David Buchanan and set up a two-on-one with Leon Clarke against Preston centre half Bailey Wright.

The Sky Blues upfront duo made the most of the situation as Wilson pushed into the area before squaring for Clarke who slid a cool finish past Rudd for his fourth goal of the season.

It was then nearly two for City and for Clarke a minute before the half hour when Moussa did well to win a free-kick 20 yards out, Clarke stepping up and curling one over the wall only tomsee his effort rattle the crossbar.

Wilson was on hand to battle for the second ball but sent a spectacular overhead kick over the bar.

The Sky Blues went close again on 34 minutes when a corner delivery from Blair Adams was not dealt with by Rudd whose punch clear only came as far as Clarke.

He squared to Billy Daniels who returned the favour in the box with Clarke then dragging his shot just wide and also just out of reach of Moussa's outstretched boot at the back post.

City managed to maintain the momentum after the break and very nearly carved out a superb second three minutes after the restart when a quick pass and move between Moussa, Wilson and Clarke cut straight through the Preston back four and saw Clarke's first time effort aimed at the top corner rise just over the bar.

Joe Murphy was required at the other end two minutes after the hour when a backheeled through ball found its way into the path of Keith Keane who was denied by the quick reactions of the City 'keeper who dived at his feet to divert the ball away for a corner.

Murphy could do nothing about the goal that resulted from the delivery though as the ball was only cleared as far as Wright who took a touch before firing a half volley into the top corner from 20 yards out.

Preston very nearly got a quickfire third just a minute later when a floated ball over the top of the City back four found its way onto the head of Joe Garner who just looped his effort over the bar.

The visitors would have regretted not taking that chance though because the Sky Blues again cancelled out their shortlived lead on 69 minutes when Moussa burst through the back four and fired at goal, forcing a parried save out of Rudd with Wilson on hand to pounce and tap in the rebound.

A spellbinding run from substitute Mathieu Manset then came within a whisker of producing a third for City with 17 minutes to go. The striker danced his way past two defender and played a quick one-two with Wilson before being denied the finishing touch by some desperate defending from the Preston central-defensive pairing.

Six minutes later it was City fans with their heads in their hands when Clarke smashed the crossbar for the second time of the afternoon, this time Wilson making the most of a defensive error from Buchanan to charge at goal and square for his strike partner who let the ball settle before trying to guide a finish into the top corner only to again see his effort cannon off the woodwork.

A third goal was what City deserved though and it was exactly what they got with seven minutes to, a sublime finish from Wilson after some great link up play from Manset and Clarke set him free to burst past Paul Huntington and fire past Rudd into the bottom corner.

The lead was again shortlived though as Preston restored parity with three minutes of the game to go, a looping cross from the left from substitute Chris Humphrey finding the head of fellow sub Joel Byrom to nod past Murphy.

With a point each looking the most likely outcome the Sky Blues then fell foul of fortune a minute into four minutes of added time.

Kevin Davies' physical treatment of City defender Andy Webster went unpenalised by the referee and with the Sky Blues waiting for the whistle, Humphrey stole in to poke one past Joe Murphy and give Preston what appeared to be a winner.

The drama was yet to unfold though as, on their very next attack, City pressed forward with Cyrus Christie who played a one-two with Moussa before firing a low cros into the box for Manset to flick a finish past Rudd and and give City a more than deserved share of the spoils.



Attendance: 2,068 (562 away);



Teams

Coventry City: Murphy (GK), Christie, J. Clarke, Webster, Adams, Thomas, Fleck, Moussa, Daniels (Manset 67), Wilson, L. Clarke (c)
Subs: Burge (GK), Willis, Barton, Haynes, Garner, Lobjoit.

Preston North End: Rudd (GK), Huntington, Clarke, Wright, Buchanan, Keane, Holmes, Welsh (Mousinho 62), Hayhurst (Humphrey 62), Garner (Byrom 82), Davies.
Subs: Stuckman (GK), Laird, Beavon, Hume

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