Sky Blues mount second half fightback at the Broadfield Stadium but Crawley grab late winner
Coventry City's spirited second half comeback was not enough to hand them the first points of their League One campaign after they went down 3-2 to Crawley Town at Broadfield Stadium.
The Sky Blues trailed by two goals at half time after strikes from Jamie Proctor and Joe Walsh but levelled the game after the break with goals from Callum Wilson and Franck Moussa before Mike Jones grabbed a winner for the Red Devils.
City boss Steven Pressley named a first side of the season that included no real surprises although he did choose to reward striker Wilson with an upfront partnership with Leon Clarke after the youngster's impressive flourish towards the end of the 2012/13 campaign.
Wilson almost justified his start in the very first minute when a long ball down the left channel from Fleck allowed Wilson to hustle Kyle McFadzean off the ball and head for a one-on-one with Crawley 'keeper Paul Jones who used the acute angle to his advantage and make a save with his legs.
Joe Murphy was required at the other end for City after eight minutes though when Nicky Adams whipped a testing low cross into the six-yard area aimed for Proctor who got a touch but only found the outstretched body of Murphy to block for a corner.
Proctor got a second bite of the cherry after 12 minutes though and this time he took it, picking up the ball just inside the City half and driving towards the area before unleasing a 20-yard drive beyond Murphy to give the hosts the lead.
Adams forced another save out of Murphy after 21 minutes with an effort from a similar distance which Murphy palmed away for a corner.
Crawley got their second from Adams' delivery though which went deep enough to find Walsh at the back post to head home.
Gary Alexander went close two minutes before the half hour with a header of his own from a corner delivery, his effort clipping the top of the bar and going over.
City very nearly got one back three minutes before the break when a superb through ball from Fleck picked out Conor Thomas to beat the offside trap and go one-on-one with Jones who again foiled City with a low save.
The danger was not clear though and the Sky Blues battled for the ball in the area before getting it to Baker who lashed a shot just over the bar from just inside the area.
The Sky Blues got the second half off to an encouraging start when, just seconds after the restart, Cyrus Christie cut inside from the right flank and forced a diving save out of Jones.
Jones was left looking relieved after 53 minutes though when he was rooted to his spot as a deep cross from Baker picked out Leon Clarke whose header flashed across goal and rolled just wide of the post.
City went close again twice in quick succession four minutes before the hour when, first, an early cross from Christie picked out Wilson to nod a header just wide of the near post with Jones beaten.
Baker then burst in from the right and fired from a tight angle with Jones tipping the ball over his bar.
Wilson went one better two minutes later though when a smashed effort from Moussa just inside the area was too hot for Jones to handle, Moussa picking up the loose ball to cut back for Wilson whose hammered home first time.
The Sky Blues' share of the game undoubtedly improved in the second half and they got the equaliser they deserved ten minutes from time when a corner delivery from Baker dropped into the heart of the Crawley six-yard box, allowing Moussa to stab home an equaliser.
The parity was shortlived though as, three minutes later, a through ball from Adams picked out Mike Jones to slide a finish underneath Murphy.
Attendance: 3,454 (1,080 Sky Blue Army)
Coventry City: Murphy (GK), Christie, Adams, J Clarke, Willis (Phillips 80), Thomas, Wilson, Fleck, Baker (c), Moussa, L Clarke
Subs: Burge (GK), Barton, Daniels, Garner, Lobjoit, Maund
Crawley Town: Jones, Hurst, Sadler, McFadzean, Alexander, Simpson, Walsh, Proctor (Drury 77), Bulman, Adams, Jones (Torres 90)
Subs: Maddison (GK), Connolly, Essam