Coventry City pick up a vital three points in the quest for a promotion spot with a win over struggling Blackpool...
Coventry City rewarded the 3,000 strong travelling Sky Blue fans with a 1-0 win at Bloomfield Road to end their winless run.
Marc-Antoine Fortune was the hero of the day, as the Sky Blues ended a run of four straight League One defeats at relegation-threatened Blackpool.
The only goal of the game was gifted to Fortune in the 25th minute as he pounced on keeper Colin Doyle's mistake to smash home from three yards.
A nervy last 10-minutes was played out with 10 men - after Chris Stokes was stretchered off - but one goal proved enough for City, leaving Blackpool winless in seven games. The Sky Blues climb a place back up to seventh, within three points of the desired play-off spots.
Tony Mowbray elected to make one change from the team that started against Shrewsbury in midweek. James Maddison came in to attacking midfield ahead of Joe Cole, who was afforded a rest after starting two League One games on the bounce.
Marc-Antoine Fortune took up a role in attack alongside Adam Armstrong, having delivered an impressive 90-minutes on Tuesday evening.
The game struggled to gain any momentum in the opening 20 minutes and chances were at a premium for both sides. Loan midfielder Liam Smith managed to test Reice Charles-Cook early on, but the save was comfortable for City's man between the sticks, as he enjoyed another steady performance in net.
Jacob Murphy was the brightest spark among the City attack in the early exchanges, carrying the ball well and advancing his side up the pitch. The 19-year old found the ball in space a yard short of the Blackpool box and fired toward goal on the 22nd minute mark. The shot failed to hit the target but was a sign of mounting pressure from the visitors.
The breakthrough came in the 25th minute as Fortune was alert to a spillage from Colin Doyle in the Blackpool goal. The error fell kindly for the City forward and he made no mistake from three yards as he rifled the ball in to an empty net.
Fortune, validating his selection, was in action again shortly after as good link-up play between him and Murphy invited fullback Chris Stokes in to the attacking third. Stokes pulled the ball back for John Fleck who got his shot off early, but the midfielder couldn’t carve an opening in the Tangerine defence.
Blackpool attempted a response midway through the first-half, with Jack Redshaw looking the most dangerous for Neil McDonald’s side. After gaining some meaningful possession the home side were nearly punished on the break by another bright bit of forward play from Murphy, exercising his pace down the left flank.
A breakaway attack, instigated by Murphy, created the games first sight of goal for Adam Armstrong. Murphy carried the ball 30-yards and played a square ball for an advancing Armstrong to hit first time. The shot took a nick off Lloyd Jones and ran for a corner, before the referee called time on the first-half.
City began the second half on the front foot as they looked to build on their 1-0 lead. A hard-working Armstrong was making clever runs off the ball and creating space for Murphy and Maddison to move in to.
Tony Mowbray looked to add some legs to his midfield on the hour mark, as Andy Rose replaced Maddison. Shortly after, Joe Cole was introduced in place of Murphy as the City manager attempted to protect his narrow lead.
Rose, deployed on the right as Mowbray reverted to a 4-4-2, started brightly and was getting forward as well as providing some cover in defensive areas. The substitute was a threat in the opposition box, as he continued to creep in at the back stick before seeing a headed effort saved by Doyle.
The precarious scoreline encouraged a nervy last 10-minutes as Mowbray’s men began sitting deep and Blackpool searched desperately for an equaliser. Blackpool’s Brad Potts saw an effort fly over the bar, before his well struck free-kick reached the same conclusion and Uche Ikpeazu was full of running off the bench.
Seven minutes of added time wasn’t enough for Blackpool to find that elusive goal and City ended their run of four games without a win, taking the Sky Blues back to within three points of the top six.
Yellow: Boyce, Osayi-Samuel
Attendance: 8,869 (3,000 away)
Coventry City: Charles-Cook (GK), Ricketts (C), Stephens, Martin, Stokes, Vincelot, Fleck, Murphy (Cole 68'), Maddison (Rose 60'), Fortune (Tudgay 74'), Armstrong.
Subs: Addai (GK), Lorentzson, Lameiras, Henderson.
Blackpool: Doyle (GK), Boyce, Aldred, Jones, Higham, Smith (Osayi-Samuel 58'), Potts, Norris (Ikpeazu 75'), McAlister, Redshaw (Cullen 58'), Philliskirk.
Subs: Lyness (GK), Aimson, Rivers, Paterson.