City beaten at Highbury, as goals from Chris Long and Martyn Woolford give the home side victory...
Two second-half goals from Cod Army forward Long and substitute Woolford compounded the Sky Blues poor run of away form, falling to a 2-0 defeat in Lancashire.
In difficult conditions, Fleetwood looked to gain control early on in what was a cautious opening from both sides. Slightly edging possession, Jimmy Ryan won the ball in midfielder to set-up the first chance for the hosts. His first-time ball found Devante Cole on the left wing, and as the forward cut inside his shot from a narrow angle was well held by City goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook.
Shortly after, City’s first chance of the afternoon came through midfielder Chris McCann. The ball was played into Dan Agyei, who showed strength to turn his man and lay it back to Gael Bigirimana. His first-time ball into the box was cleared only to McCann, but his curling effort was wayward.
Despite City seemingly having their best spell of the game, the deadlock was nearly broken by Fleetwood’s David Ball. Charles-Cook raced off of his line to head clear a ball over the top, but could only find Ball. The forward, from all of 30-yards, went for an audacious chip only to see his effort cleared off the line by City debutant Jamie Sterry.
Both sides were seemingly having the majority of success down the flanks. Linking up well with Bell, Cole saw his curling effort just past the post, whilst Page and Sterry were active in both attack and defence for City in their wingback roles.
With the rain still contributing to a tight affair, Fleetwood came forward again. Ball evaded his marker, but his long-range shot went wide. It was the story of the first-half so far with chances few and far between for both sides.
Just before the interval McCann seemed to be struggling with an injury and was replaced by Marcus Tudgay, in what seemed a slight change of the formation for the Sky Blues.
In the last action of the half, a golden chance fell to striker Dan Agyei. Marvin Sordell shown fantastic pace and power to force his way past three challenges before squaring the ball to Agyei, but Chris Neal was quickly off his line to deny City the opening goal and ensure the sides went in level at the break.
Just a matter of minutes after the restart, City were nearly ahead. On his debut, Sterry picked up the ball on the right and cut inside his marker. His cross-come-shot seemed to be heading into the bottom corner but Neal clawed it away at full stretch.
City began the second-half strongly. Following a ball hit forward, Agyei used his strength to shield the ball before turning his defender in the box. From a tight angle his shot was held well by Neal. Moments later the forward was causing problems again. Finding space outside of the box, the youngster drove at the Fleetwood defence but was again denied by the goalkeeper.
However, against the run of play, Fleetwood took the lead. A counter-attack following a City corner was played forward towards Chris Long. Short at the back, the striker cut inside and bent the ball towards the far corner leaving Charles-Cook with little chance.
With Fleetwood happy to play on the counter-attack, City were becoming frustrated in their attempts to draw level, and they were soon two behind. Jimmy Ryan won the ball in midfield before finding Ball. The striker played in substitute Martyn Woolford who made no mistake, firing past Charles-Cook into the far corner.
As City began to push forward, Fleetwood became an even bigger threat on the break as the Sky Blues looked for a way back into the game. Ball yet again found space in the City penalty box, but the goalkeeper denied him again.
Lewis Page, Marvin Sordell and debutant Andre Wright all tested goalkeeper Chris Neal in the closing stages, but City were ultimately left frustrated as the Sky Blues left Fleetwood empty handed.
Attendance: 3,557 (841)
Coventry City: Charles-Cook (GK), Willis (C), Turnbull, Harries, Bigirimana, Page, Sterry, McCann (Tudgay 38'), Gadzhev (Stevenson 67'), Sordell, Agyei (Wright 73').
Subs: Burge (GK), Ricketts, Lameiras, Reid.
Fleetwood Town: Neal (GK), Bell, Jonsson (Dempsey 45'), Eastham, Pond (C), Ryan, Ball, Grant, Duckworth, Long (Hunter 79'), Cole (Woolford 68').
Subs: Cairns (GK), Bolger, Wallace, Nirennold.