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Match Reports

Stevenage v Coventry City

26 December 2012

Coventry City moved into the top half of the table for the first time since the start of the season after rubbing out Stevenage's first half advantage with a rampaging second half at the Lamex Stadium.

Boro striker Lucas Akins tucked away a spot kick after half an hour to give the home side the advantage but goals from Richard Wood, Carl Baker and David McGoldrick handed City three points to move them to 11th in the League One table.

Wood levelled, Baker then celebrated his 30th birthday with a strike from 20 yards with four minutes to go before McGoldrick put the game beyond Boro with a lob over 'keeper Steve Arnold as the game moved into added time.

Boss Mark Robins made just one change to the side that drew 1-1 with Preston at the Ricoh Arena the previous weekend, reinstating skipper Baker at the expense of Adam Barton who returned to the bench.

The Sky Blues almost got off to a flying start in the very first minute when a through ball from Gary McSheffrey picked out David McGoldrick although the striker's attempted finish did not work Stevenage goalkeeper Steve Arnold hard enough as he made a comfortable low save.

The early scare did not deter the hosts from pushing forward though as Fiipe Morais found some joy down the right flank and whipped in a couple of dangerous crosses the Sky Blues back four dealt with despite the wet and slippery conditions.

It was the conditions that contributed to McSheffrey giving away a free-kick on the edge of the area after five minutes  as he slipped while trying to challenge James Dunne. Dunne took the resulting dead-ball but could only curl it over Joe Murphy's crossbar.

Stevenage went even closer after ten minutes when a bullish run from David Gray took him from the halfway line, down the right flank past Franck Moussa and Blair Adams and back inside before cutting back for Lucas Akins to fire a first time effort a whisker over the bar from just eight yards out.

City always looked dangerous on the counter though and McGoldrick had a second bite at the cherry after 20 minutes after a great ball from Baker. McGoldrick having to work with an ever-sharpening angle but getting his effort on target and forcing a good save out of Arnold.

He had another go seconds later when he was handed the ball 20 yards, this time his effort not testing the Stevenage 'keeper as he got down low to make a comfortable save.

It was Boro who opened the scoring though after half an hour courtesy of a penalty from Akins.

Baker was adjudged to have brought down Morais just inside the area and after Akins first successful penalty was ordered to be retaken, he stepped up to tuck it away for a second time to give the hosts the lead.

City were very nearly level three minutes later when a ball from Cyrus Christie launched from deep found McGoldrick who forced a strong save out of Arnold at his near post.

Moussa then got in on the act with nine minutes of the half to go when James Bailey whipped in an unexpected cross that found the midfielder whose downward header went just wide.

Akins had a go for second on 43 minutes when he cut inside Adams on the edge of the area and fired low at Murphy who made an easy save.

City piled on the pressure as the first half ticked to a close though as Adams and McSheffrey linked up on three consecutive occasions to pump crosses into the box although Boro were steadfast in repelling the onslaught.

The domination continued after the break as the Sky Blues launched wave upon wave of attacks as they searched for an equaliser.

To driving rain made conditions difficult though to the point where, despite City's control of possession, their first real chance of the second half had to wait until the 72nd minute when a shot from McGoldrick from the edge of the area was kept out by a superb one-handed save from Arnold.

Baker then whipped a delivery across the six-yard box which Moussa lunhed at with his head bit missed the connection by inches.

The leveller finally came 12 minutes from time though and nobody could have City did not deserve after the continuous pressure they put the hosts under.

Substitute John Fleck drove a low shot at goal from 20 yards and although the ball never made it to the net it did, by grace of a deflection, find its way to Richard Wood who was handed the simplest of tap ins to make it 1-1.

The Sky Blues came within a whisker of a second with four minutes to go when Adams skipped past two defenders down the left and cut a ball into the six-yard box for McGoldrick who was crowded out as he got a touch.

Stevenage came just as close on their very next attack though when a deep cross found Marcus Haber at the back post whose downward header was only foiled by a brilliant one-handed save from Murphy.

Baker then sent the 1,000 travelling Sky Blues fans into a frenzy with four minutes to go as he put City in front, picking up a ball 25 yards out and drawing closer to the area before unleashing a drive that was beyond the grasp of Arnold as it found the bottom corner.

Just when the travelling City fans thought it couldn't get any better it did as McGoldrick pounced on a defensive error from Bondz N'Gala to dispossess him and lob Arnold from 25 yards to wrap up the points.

Attendance: 4,102


Coventry City: Murphy, Christie, Wood, Edjenguele, Adams, Bailey, Moussa, Jennings (Barton 65), Baker (c), McSheffrey (Fleck 72), McGoldrick
Subs: Dunn (GK), Clarke, Cameron, Elliott, O'Donovan

Stevenage: Arnold, Gray, Charles, Grant (Agyemang 83), Dunne, Haber, Morais (Freeman 60), Akins, Roberts (c), N'Gala, Shroot
Subs: Day (GK), Hills, Tansey, Comminges, Risser

Bookings: Murphy (COV), McGoldrick (COV)

Referee: D Whitestone
AssistantReferees: S Rubery, A Young
FourthOfficial: W Porter

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