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REPORT: Coventry City 1-0 Walsall - Sky Blues claim victory over ten-man Saddlers

22 April 2017

Sky Blues give home crowd a good send off as George Thomas fires City to three points...

George Thomas' first-half goal earned City their fourth home win in their final five games, with the Welshman netting his ninth of the season.

Coventry City ended their home campaign with a win over local Midlands rivals Walsall, with the M6 neighbours backed by just under 1,000 travelling fans. 

The hosts made a total of six changes to the starting XI, among them was Bulgarian Vladimir Gadzhev, who was pulling the strings in midfield during the early stages.

Kevin Foley was getting forward well from fullback, and had City’s first sight of goal in the seventh minute. 

Ruben Lameiras’ shot was parried in to the path of the Irishman, whose effort was calmly collected by Walsall stopper Craig MacGillivray. 

The visitors enjoyed a spell of pressure as the clock ticked over the half-hour mark, with Matt Preston sending a glancing header just wide of the post. The 22-year old rose highest to a Joe Edwards’ delivery, but couldn’t direct his effort on target.

George Thomas had a couple of breakaway opportunities, linking well with Foley down the right, and the Welshman’s ingenuity soon told.

City worked a corner from the left, as the ball fell to Thomas on the edge of the area, and a cool side foot finish duly found the bottom corner of the net - sending the home side in to the break with a deserved lead. 

Walsall made two changes at half-time, choosing to introduce George Dobson in midfield and top scorer Erhun Oztumer. 

Lameiras and Jodi Jones both saw flashes of goal as City looked to double their advantage in the second period, before Gael Bigirimana was forced to turn a Eoghan O’Connell header off the line. Amadou Bakayoko hooked the ball goalward in the aftermath, but Reice Charles-Cook made a comfortable catch. 

Encouraged by the rendition of ‘Twist and Shout’ from the stands, Lameiras and Jones were the architects of yet another City chance. Working the ball down the left, the pairing’s quick interchange fooled two Walsall defenders, before the ball was worked to Tudgay. Thomas had the eventual shot, but didn’t spot the overlapping run of Foley who was perhaps in a better position to despatch an effort.

The visitors were reduced to ten men midway through the second-half, as O’Connell was dismissed for a second bookable defence. And looking to capitalise, Thomas had another chance to put City out of sight moments later, but failed to convert with his weaker right boot.

Jordan Shipley was introduced in the final minutes for his senior debut, as Coventry City signed off their Ricoh Arena campaign with a win and three points.

Yellow: O'Connell, Preston. 

Red: O'Connell. 

Attendance: 9,284 (932). 

Teams:

Coventry City: Charles-Cook (GK), Willis (C), Turnbull, Foley (Di. Kelly-Evans 84'), Stokes (Rawson 75'), Bigirimana, Gadzhev (Shipley 84'), Jones, G.Thomas, Lameiras, Tudgay. 

Subs: Burge (GK), Reid, K.Thomas, Folivi.  

Walsall: MacGillivray (GK), Edwards, O'Connor, McCarthy, Chambers (C), Morris (Candlin 68'), Osbourne (Dobson 45'), Preston, Bakayoko, O'Connell, Makris (Oztumer 45').

Subs: Ganley (GK), Jackson, Roberts, Hayles-Docherty. 

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