Sky Blues suffer defeat to Crewe despite early opener at the Ricoh Arena
Coventry City surrendered an early lead to succumb to a 2-1 defeat to Crewe Alexandra at the Ricoh Arena.
Leon Clarke gave City the lead with a well taken goal after 12 minutes but the visitors were level three minutes later when Ellis powered home from a Gregor Robertson corner.
Substitute Max Clayton then made an instant impact for the Railwaymen to net a lobbed winner with 13 minutes to go, just two minutes after being brought on.
City interim boss Lee Carsley made just one enforced change to the side that beat Crewe 2-0 in the JPT in midweek, bringing in William Edjenguele at centre-half for Richard Wood who was ruled out with a groin injury.
The Sky Blues seemed to pick up right from where they left off in midweek and came out of the blocks firing, first when Carl Baker had a shot blocked in the opening seconds and then when a floated cross from the left from Gary McSheffrey found Clarke to head just over the bar from eight yards.
Baker did test Crewe 'keeper Steve Phillips in the seventh minute though with a 12-yard shot through traffic which was parried by Phillips into the path of Clarke who was toppled over by Ellis before he could make contact with the loose ball, the referee waving away any claims for a penalty.
Phillips had no chance with City's opener after 12 minutes though, Cyrus Christie's long ball over the top finding Clarke to chest the ball down and fire home a half volley.
Joe Murphy was required at the other end after 15 minutes when Robertson fired from the edge of the area, Murphy tipping the shot over the bar.
Crewe were level from the resulting corner though when Robertson's delivery picked out Ellis eight yards out to side-foot a volley into the net.
The Railwaymen's set pieces continued to cause City problems when, just after the half hour, another delivery from Robertson caused panic in the Sky Blues' area forcing Murphy to come off his line and block Harry Davis' effort at the near post.
City were still in control of the game though and enjoyed the majority of possession, something they nearly made the most of with ten minutes of the half to go when Carl Dickinson got forward and was played down the left flank by James Bailey, the full-back whipping in a cross-cum-shot which flashed across the face of goal and just wide of the far post.
Bailey then went close with two minutes of the half to when he was squared a ball by Elliott just inside the area, Bailey trying to pick his spot but sending the ball wide of the post.
It only took City five minutes to find their feet in the second half when a great piece of one-touch interplay between McSheffrey and Elliott allowed the latter to shoot from the corner of the area requiring Phillips to tip the ball onto his near post.
Steven Jennings forced a similar save from Phillips two minutes later when his low shot from 20 yards was pushed around the post.
Phillips denied Jennings again on 56 minutes when the midfielder picked up a ball from a similar distance, this time trying to curl one inside the far post with Phillips making a spectacular one-handed save to keep City at bay.
Baker then had an opportunity a minute before the hour when he intercepted a crossfield ball from Davis and headed for goal, cutting inside Robertson just outside the area before sending his shot over the bar.
The Sky Blues had a scare on 69 minutes when a hopeful ball through the middle found Byron Moore to go one-on-one with Murphy although the City 'keeper stayed on his feet and denied the widemen with a save with his legs just inside the penalty area after rushing off his line.
City then went closer to a second two minutes later when a quick corner from McSheffrey to Baker caught Crewe off-guard, Baker taking a touch to cut inside his marker before curling an effort that was heading for the top corner until Robertson lept to head the ball off the line.
It was Crewe who got the second though courtesy of substitute Max Clayton who had only been on the pitch two minutes when he received a lofted ball from Moore and used the bounce to lift the ball over Joe Murphy and just underneath the crossbar after 77 minutes.
Phillips needed to be alert with City's very next attack though when Sky Blues sub John Fleck curled in a waist-height cross for Bailey who prodded the ball goalwards only to be denied by the Crewe 'keeper at point blank range.
Substitute Callum Wilson went close for the Sky Blues as the game headed into injury time with a near post header which went just over the bar.
It was the last effort of note for the Sky Blues who succumbed to their first defeat under caretaker boss Carsley.
Attendance: 10,139 (383 away)
Coventry City: Murphy, Christie, Cameron, Edjenguele, Dickinson, Baker (c), Jennings (Wilson 81), Bailey, McSheffrey (Fleck 77), Elliott (Moussa 74) , L Clarke
Subs: Dunn (GK), J Clarke, Thomas, Willis
Crewe: Phillips, Davis (Aneke 71), Ellis, Dugdale, Murphy (c), Pogba (Clayton 75), Moore, Mellor, Robertson, Osman, Inman (Turton 87)
Subs: Martin (GK), Leitch-Smith, Ray, Colclough