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Match Reports

Coventry City v Preston North End

22 December 2012

Coventry City capped off the their home campaign in 2012 after a full-blooded stalemate with Preston North End at the Ricoh Arena.

James Bailey opened his scoring account for the Sky Blues with a 21st minute opener from eight yards to give Mark Robins' side the half-time advantage but Lee Holmes put the visitors level with 14 minutes to go with a cool finish.

City boss Mark Robins opted to stick with an unchanged line-up after the impressive 4-1 away win over Doncaster the previous weekend.

It was the visitors who got out of the blocks straight away though when Graham Cummins fired at goal from just inside the area although Joe Murphy was equal to it with a parried save low to his left.

A great through ball from former Lilywhite Adam Barton opened up the Preston defence a minute later when he set Gary McSheffrey free down the left to whip in a ball aimed for David McGoldrick in the six-yard box, the in-form striker stretching to meet the delivery but missing out by inches.

The frantic pace to the game continued, albeit with less clear cut chances, until the Sky Blues took the lead after 21 minutes with Bailey's first goal for the club.

David McGoldrick's shot from 20 yards was blocked but only enough to allow the ball to trickle towards the byline. McSheffrey was alert though as he ran onto the loose ball and cut it back for Bailey who hammered home past Thorsten Stuckmann from eight yards out.

Preston reminded the Sky Blues of their own goal threat a minute before the half hour when Cummins worked tirelessly down the left to get past Cyrus Christie and Franck Moussa to whip in a ball for Andy Procter who was inches away from making the connection with his head in front of goal just six yards out.

McGoldrick then almost reminded the visitors why he is the form striker in League One by latching on to a punt upfield from James Bailey, his audacious first time half volley from the corner of the area flashing just wide of Stuckmann's far post.

Preston almost grabbed an equaliser against the run of play with two minutes of the half to go when Cummins came out of a midfield scrap with possession and set David Amoo on his way with a through ball, the midfielder just edging out William Edjenguele in a footrace but guiding his finish over Murphy as the ball brushed the top of the crossbar.

The Sky Blues maintained their stranglehold on the game after the break though and nearly doubled their advantage six minutes after the restart when McSheffrey's floated dead ball into the box found McGoldrick who glanced a header over the crossbar.

Richard Wood then went close with a header of his own three minutes before the hour after meeting a deep corner from McSheffrey at the back post, his effort going just wide.

Preston boss Graham Westley had used up all of his substitutions by the 68th minute when he chose to bring on Jeffrey Monokana and the sub almost made his presence felt straight away when he cut in from the left flank and headed for goal, his shot finding its way through bodies and rolling infront of Lee Holmes who was four yards out but could not get a final touch.

Preston got their leveller on 76 minutes though and the signs were there as the visitors pushed for a goal as the game entered the last half hour.

A through ball through the heart of the midfield found Holmes who went one-on-one with Murphy and slipped it past him to square the game.

It was nearly two for Preston with seven minutes to go when David Buchanan's cross from the left found Jack King on the edge of the six-yard bos but the centre-half could only head just wide.

City sub Stephen Elliott was almost the hero for City with two minutes to go when the Sky Blues broke away and fellow replacement Carl Baker swung in a deep cross for the striker who met it but had to watch as his header cannoned off the bar.

It was the last chance of a game that saw a finely balanced three minutes of injury time as the Sky Blues pushed for a winner.

It was not to be though for Robins' side who are now eight points off the play-offs in 13th place.

Attendance: 12,230 (638 away)


Coventry City: Murphy, Wood (c), Edjenguele, Christie, Adams, Bailey, Moussa (Baker 64), Barton (Elliott 77), Jennings, McSheffrey, McGoldrick
Subs: Dunn (GK), Clarke, Cameron, Fleck, O'Donovan

Preston: Stuckmann, Robertson, Amoo (Monokana 68), Cummins (Beardsley 51), Holmes, Byrom, Buchanan, Procter (Welsh 51), Mousinho (C), King, Wright
Subs: Simonsen (GK), Beavon, Foster, Elding

Bookings: Jennings (COV), McSheffrey (COV)

Referee: M Jones
Assistan Referees: R West, D Handley
Fourth Official: C Sarginson

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