The Sky Blues book their place in the second round of the EFL Cup after five goal thriller at the Ricoh Arena…
Having gone behind early on, Mowbray’s side earned a hard fought win, with goals from Ryan Haynes, Vladimir Gadzhev’s first for the club and the eventual winner from Andy Rose.
The win was capped by a superb senior debut performance from Academy graduate Ben Stevenson, who marshalled the midfield across the 120-minute tie and showed enough talent to suggest he’ll be a firm part of the first-team set up this season.
City were pinned back early on as Bulgarian midfielder Gadzhev was adjudged to have illegally tripped Kyle Bennett inside the box (a dubious decision at best). The referee duly awarded a penalty, much to the distaste of the Sky Blue following, and it was converted by in-form Curtis Main to put the visitors ahead.
Half-chances from Ryan Haynes and Marcus Tudgay were the best City could muster in a lacklustre first-half, with Mowbray’s men having saved all the action for the second 45.
With Jodi Jones entering the field during the interval, the mood was lifted and the tempo of the Sky Blues attack responded. Jones and Lameiras were combining well, and encouraging wing-backs Andy Rose and Haynes to join the play further up the pitch.
Haynes, Reid and Lameiras all tested Pompey goalkeeper Alex Bass, who had to remain alert as the home side began to be assertive in possession. Some clever feet meant Jones was able to navigate his way in to the Pompey box on several occasions, with the 18-year old just falling short of an end product.
Lameiras also came close after tricking his way toward the Pompey 6-yard line, he fired a shot-come-cross toward goal, watching it fly a yard wide of the post.
The Sky Blues were in complete control on the hour mark and drew themselves level when Lameiras’ chipped a cross in the direction of Haynes and the 20-ear old, coming in from the left, met the deflection on the drop to steer the shot into the far corner of the net.
The Portuguese forward claimed his second assist of the night when he slipped in Gadzhev moments later, who scored his first competitive goal for the club and allowed the Sky Blues to get their noses in front for the first time in the tie.
What felt like seconds later, Kal Naismith had the visitors level again as he earned his side a free-kick 25-yards out. The Scotsman curled the most accurate of efforts in to the top corner of the City net, kissing the underside of the bar on it’s journey in.
With the game finely poised at 2-2, Bennett looked sure to score when Noel Hunt released him one on one with Charles-Cook, only for the City stopper to smoother the danger with an outstretched glove.
A fantastic intervention from the City GK was rewarded up the other end, as Rose pounced on a parried save from Bass and snuck the ball inside the right hand post. City will be in the hat for the second-round of the EFL Cup, with the draw taking place tomorrow evening.
Yellow: Naismith, Lameiras, Gadzhev, Stevenson.
Coventry City: Charles-Cook (GK), Willis (Finch 72'), Rose, Lameiras, Gadzhev, Ricketts (C), Tudgay (Reid 68'), Haynes, Thomas (Jones 45'), Harries, Stevenson.
Subs: Burge (GK), K. Thomas, Page, Kelly-Evans.
Portsmouth: Bass (GK), Davies, Naismith, Buxton (Talbot 77'), Barton (C), May, Linganzi, Bennett, Tollitt, Evans (Chaplin 64'), Main (Hunt 84').
Subs: O'Brien (GK), Whatmouth, Doyle, Baker.