City record an impressive win at the Ricoh Arena...
Coventry City secured a second consecutive league win at a chilly Ricoh Arena with a commanding 3-1 win over the high-flying Red Devils.
David McGoldrick's double brought his tally to 11 goals in 15 games for the Sky Blues after John Fleck kicked off proceedings with an early opener although Billy Clarke's strike just after half time made the game interesting.
City boss Mark Robins rung four changes to his starting line-up, welcoming back McGoldrick and James Bailey alongside Richard Wood and Cody McDonald at the expense of Callum Ball, Franck Moussa, Callum Ball and Jamie Reckord who all featured in the weekend FA Cup win over Arlesey Town at the Ricoh Arena.
The opening exchanges between the two sides were tentative to start with but it was City who came forward with more purpose and they were rewarded after just eight minutes with the opening goal.
Jordan Clarke chipped a ball into the left channel for David McGoldrick who got to the byline and cut the ball back for Fleck who drove a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area, underneath the body of Crawley 'keeper Paul Jones.
It took Town another eight minutes before they registered their first effort on goal when they broke quickly from midfield before spreading the ball out on the right to Clarke who took a touch before firing straight at Joe Murphy who parried the ball safely away.
David Hunt tried his luck for the visitors on 33 minutes after a period of sustained pressure which saw the Sky Blues having to defend deep for a good ten minutes.
Tireless defensive work saw City through though as they hounded the Crawley front four while in possession and limited them to shots from range, the last of which saw Hunt lash a half volley wide from 15 yards out.
Crawley went close eight minutes before the break though when a floated cross from the right from Nicky Adams picked out Clarke at the back post who was only denied by a full-bodied block from Murphy.
The Sky Blues then nearly doubled their advantage just a minute later when Cyrus Christie broke down the left and played a ball back to Baker who delicated drifted a cross into the six-yard box for Cody McDonald who glanced a header just wide of the far post.
City did get a second on the stroke of half-time though when Fleck waited to receive a cross-field ball from Baker and volleyed at goal, the ball squirming through traffic and finding its way to the feet of McGoldrick who slipped a simple finish past Jones from three yards out.
Crawley came out of the blocks quickly after the break in search of a goal to half the deficit and Murphy had to be on his toes three minutes after the restart when Adams lashed a low cross into the six-yard area which the City's 'keeper had to be at full stretch to stop.
The visitors did get one back on 55 minutes though through a bit of fortune when Clarke's first effort hit William Edjenguele full in the face.
The rebound then fell back to the feet of Clarke who, with little resistance, lashed past Murphy with Edjenguele still on the floor.
With Crawley in the ascendency, Dannie Bulman tried his luck from range a minute after the hour only to see his 25-yard effort keep rising as it cleared the crossbar.
City restored their two-goal cushion in superb fashion though on 65 minutes through McGoldrick as he picked up a ball central to the goal and 20 yards out, curling a finish over and beyond the reach of Jones and into the top corner.
Clarke tried his best to grab a second of his own with 16 minutes to go with a shot across goal from just inside the area which Murphy allowed to run wide of the far post.
The Crawley midfielder went much closer just three minutes later though when he stumbled past two defenders and poked a shot which was heading inside the foot of the far post until Richard Wood's toe deflection steered the ball wide for a corner.
The frustration showed in the body language of the visitors though as they tried to press for a goal which would have made the game more of a contest in the closing stages as the fourth official showed four minutes of additional time.
Substitute Nicky Ajose went closest as he tried to poke home inside the six yard box from Adams' low cross but it was not to be for Richie Barker's side as the Sky Blues picked up the three points with their first three-goal haul in the league since January.
Attendance: 8,862 (228 away)
Coventry City: Murphy, Clarke (Reckord 79), Wood, Edjenguele, Christie, Baker (c), Fleck, Bailey, Jennings, McDonald (Moussa 67), McGoldrick
Subs: Dunn (GK), Cameron, McSheffrey, Ball, O'Donovan
Crawley Town: Jones, Sadler, McFadzean, Clarke, Alexander (c) (Akinde 83), Simpson, Hunt, Bulman (Ajose 71), Adams, Jones, Davis
Subs: Kuipers (GK), Connolly, Torres, Walsh, Cooper