Leon Clarke gets City back to winning ways with only goal at the Lamex
Coventry City lifted themselves back out of the bottom four of the League One table and got themselves back to winning ways with a convincing 1-0 win over Stevenage at the Lamex Stadium.
Leon Clarke notched his sixth goal of the campaign after 33 minutes to give City a deserved three points to lift them up to 18th in the table after an away trip they largely controlled.
City boss Steven Pressley opted to stick with an unchanged side despite last weekend's 2-0 home defeat to Brentford while still waiting for the return to fitness of midfield duo Carl Baker and Billy Daniels.
The early chance fell to the home side after two minutes when a whipped in free kick from Greg Tansey found the head of Stevenage skipper Jon Ashton whose glancing header went just over the bar.
City came back strong though and just a minute later fashioned a chance of their own when John Fleck pulled a20-yard effort just wide of the foot of the far post.
They went even closer after five minutes when a pull back found Leon Clarke who tried to guide a finish into the top corner but lifted the ball just over.
The frantic nature of the opening stages then began to calm although the Sky Blues carved out another half chance on 11 minutes when a deep cross from Cyrus Christie was brought down by Callum Wilson who then lashed his finish over the bar.
The Sky Blues gained gradual control of the game, especially in midfield where their next effor came from after 17 minutes. Conor Thomas tried his luck from long range and was only denied the opener by a strong one-handed save from Stevenage 'keeper Chris Day.
The home side still looked dangerous though and went close themselves four minutes later when Tounkara Oumare got to the byline and pulled a deep ball back for Tansey who curled a finish just wide of the far post.
It was a first half hour that belonged to the Sky Blues and they got the goal they deserved after 33 minutes courtesy of a defensive slip up. Robin Shroot ill-judged back pass rolled straight to the feet of Leon Clarke infront of goal, the striker keeping his composure to slot past Day inside his near post.
There was nearly a second for City just seconds after the restart when another interception, this time from Wilson, allowed the striker to drive forward and shoot from 20 yards, Day getting a brushed fingertip on the ffort which was enough to steer the ball over the bar.
Pressley's men maintained their control over the game after the restart and had strong claims for a penalty seven minutes into the second half. A punt up the pitch found Wilson bear down on the ball and beat Jon Ashton all ends up for pace. Wilson got infront of the Stevenage skipper in the area and took a touch before going down under pressure from Ashton.
Referee Graham Scott did not see it that way though and waved away any penalties appeals to the frustration of the striker and the City bench.
The second half wielded less clear cut chances than the first and while the Sky Blues enjoyed the majority of possession, much of which was in Stevenage's final third, clear cut chances were not as forthcoming.
The biggest chance of the half infact fell to the hosts ten minutes from time. A cleverly worked free kick eventually found Jon Ashton with the ball two yards from goal, the skipper trying to poke a finish home only to be denied by the lightning quick reflexes of Joe Murphy to make a superb stop with his feet.
It was the only real heart-in-mouth moment for the Sky Blues though who spent the six minutes of added time seeing off any potential danger to end a run of back-to-back defeats and lift themselves out of the bottom four.
Coventry City: Murphy, Adams, Webster, J Clarke, Christie (Garner 86), Moussa, Fleck, Thomas, Barton (Willis 75), L Clarke, Wilson
Subs: Burge (GK), Manset, Haynes, Rankin, Maddison
Stevenage: Day, Ashton (c), Dunne, Freeman, Tansey (Morais 55), Smith, Tounkara (Akins 69), Doughty, Hartley, Shroot (Lopez 57), Deacon
Subs: Arnold (GK), Wedgbury, Jones, Andrade