Billy Bodin nets a hat-trick as Russell Slade suffers first defeat as Sky Blues manager...
The Sky Blues suffer once again away from home as a Billy Bodin hat-trick and a headed goal from captain Peter Hartley condemned City to defeat.
The away side looked to have got back in it on the hour mark, as skipper Jordan Willis bundled home a Gael Bigirimana corner. But having only halved the deficit moments before, Bodin was on the charge once more and ensured Rovers were going home with all three points.
A lively start for both sides, looking to entertain a bumper Boxing Day crowd at the Memorial Stadium. Matty Taylor went closest for Rovers inside 10 minutes, while chances also fell for City as Marvin Sordell looked to have nipped in behind the opposition defence undetected.
Daniel Leadbitter had to be alert as the City striker was baring down on goal, and may have put his side ahead had it not been for some heroic last ditch defending. The opening goal came in the 18th minute, as Rovers skipper Hartley's glancing header at the back post beat Lee Burge in the City net.
A freekick was floated in to the six-yard area where Hartley - who was forced to wear a head bandage for the majority of the game - applied the finishing touch with his head.
The Sky Blues were next to go close, as an incisive pass from Bigirimana cut through the Rovers defence. Surging forward down the left, Lewis Page latched on to the through ball and whipped a cross in which was met by Andy Rose. The midfielder made clean contact with the ball but the headed effort was wayward.
50-minutes had elapsed before Rovers were back on the scoresheet, Bodin netting the first of his three goal tally for the day. The winger-come-striker cut inside on his favoured foot and fired a shot past Burge, who was rooted to the spot.
In a frantic ten minutes, it was then City who looked to have earned themselves a route back in to the game. Bigirimana delivered a cross to the front post where defender Willis was arriving and the City captain managed to turn it home. But it wasn't long before the marauding Bodin was on the rampage again.
Looking dangerous in every attack, Bodin's strike nestled in the bottom corner before Burge was tasked with denying Taylor from point blank range. The City keeper pulled off a fine save, which was ultimately in vein as Rovers were awarded a penalty five minutes later.
Once more, Bodin had picked the ball up in his own half and carried it 30-yards before he was clumsily bought down in the box. The 24-year old stepped up to dispatch the spot-kick he'd won just seconds before and did so with confidence, earning himself the match ball in the process.
Yellow: Turnbull, Bodin, Reid, Page.
Attendance: 11,200 (902)
Coventry City: Burge (GK), Willis (C), Turnbull, Sterry, Page, McCann, Rose, Bigirimana (G.Thomas 57’), Reid, Sordell, Tudgay (Agyei 74’).
Subs: Charles-Cook (GK), Di. Kelly-Evans, Stevenson, Jones, Lameiras.
Bristol Rovers: Puddy (GK), Leadbitter, Brown, Lockyer (C), Hartley, Clarke, Taylor, Lines (Mansell 84'), Montano (Lawrence 79'), Bodin, Gaffney (Harrison 60').
Subs: Roos (GK), Clarke, James, Colkett.