Sky Blues suffer first pre-season defeat despite encouraging performance against Willem II
Coventry City produced an encouraging and spirited performance despite suffering their first pre-season defeat against Dutch outfit Willem II.
The Sky Blues dominated the first hour of the game with a combination of slick passing with the ball and immediate pressing without it to frustrate their opposition and only conceded the solitary goal just before the hour as boss Steven Pressley made wholesale changes.
City headed into the break on level terms after a goalless first half but conceded the only goal of the game after a strike from Ali Massoud.
Willem II enjoyed the better of the early exchanges but the Sky Blues grew into the first 45 minutes quickly and took charge of proceedings with some slick passing and great movement down the flanks.
The first half was not full of chances but the Sky Blues had the better of their opposition and their impressive pass-and-move approach allowed Cyrus Christie to whip a cross in after 15 minutes which Blair Adams nearly got on the end of at the back post.
Willem's two best chances though came late on in the half, first when Ruud Boynuns latched onto a through ball only to have it picked off his boot by Joe Murphy who was quick off his line.
Murphy was required again three minutes later when a corner delivery picked out Dries Willytens whose header nearly dropped under the bar only for the City keeper to get his fingertips to it and then collect at the second attempt.
Pressley made two changes at half time, introducing Callum Wilson and Aaron Phillips in place of one trialist and Jordan Willis. The City boss went on to make further changes in the second half and by the hour had introduced ten club academy graduates onto the pitch, moments after Massoud had poked home a finish past Joe Murphy as a ball bobbled in the box.
Wilson had a fantastic opportunity to level the score for City eight minutes after the hour when he chased down a loose ball only to be cynically pulled back by Willem centre-half Gaby Jallo, a foul which earned the defender a yellow card.
Goalkeeper Lee Burge also made a pair of fine saves from close range to twice deny Massoud but the younger Sky Blues second half line up caused problems of their own with Phillips getting down the right and swinging in a pair of dangerous crosses, Leon Lobjoit and Billy Daniels linking up well in the midfield and Ben Maund upfront providing a constant menace for the Willem back four.
Team: Murphy (Burge 60), Christie, J Clarke, Willis (Phillips 60), Adams (Haynes 60), Baker (Garner 60), Fleck (Lobjoit 60), Thomas (Daniels 60), Trialist, Moussa (Maund 60), Trialist (Wilson 45)