First-half goals from forward pairing James Vaughan and Tom Pope prove decisive...
Full of confidence from an away win at Charlton Athletic last weekend, and with returning frontman James Vaughan leading the line, the home side started the stronger.
Chances fell to Vaughan in the early stages, as he sent a headed effort in to the grateful gloves of Lee Burge, while Paul Caddis’ goal-bound free-kick was thwarted by a resolute City wall.
Callum Reilly was on dead ball duty for the Sky Blues, and floated a dangerous looking free-kick in to the area in the twelfth minute that was met at the back post by Nathan Clarke. The centre-half rose highest, nodding back across goal, but the chance evaded any red and black shirt.
18-goal man Vaughan, a constant threat from the off, added to his tremendous goal tally in the 16th minute with a piece of individual brilliance. Twisting and turning in the area, the ex-Blues striker lost both defenders, and calmly slotted past Burge for his 19th of the season.
Looking for a quick response, Charles Vernam tried his luck from distance moments later, and tested Joe Murphy in the opposition net, before a smart link-up between Stuart Beavon and Kwame Thomas gave the latter an opportunity.
K.Thomas released Beavon down the left, and the 32-year old repaid the favour as he played a first time ball across the face of goal, but Murphy was alert to the danger to deny K.Thomas an opening.
With City growing in to the game, Clarke had fashioned a chance for midfielder Callum Reilly on the half-hour mark. The 23-year old drove in to the Bury 18-yard with purpose, and put his left foot through a shot that flew just wide of the far post.
Using Clarke’s long throw capabilities to good effect, City were pressing for an equaliser for the final ten minutes of the first-half. Foley had a shot deflected over the crossbar, before Vernam inadvertently blocked a further Clarke shot.
Despite the away side finding some rhythm, Tom Pope delivered a killer blow on the stroke of half-time. The ball broke fortuitously in the middle of the park, and was collected by 16-year old Callum Styles, who slipped it through to Pope to apply the side-foot finish.
Russell Slade was forced to make changes at the break, in both personnel and formation. Ryan Haynes and Dion Kelly-Evans were introduced in place of George Thomas and Farrend Rawson, as City reverted to three at the back.
Haynes’ introduction gave City some impetus down the left, and the 21-year old was quick to impact on the away side’s attacking play. Reilly had a shot which needed dealing with by Bury stopper Murphy, while Vernam flashed a shot wide after being well found by Beavon.
It was the Cov kid who made the difference in the 62nd minute, as Haynes got to the byline and delivered an inviting ball on to the head of Beavon. Unmarked in the area, the striker rose well and headed home to give the away side a lifeline.
Jodi Jones joined the action for the final ten minutes, but City weren’t able to find an equaliser as Bury claimed all three vital points in their bid for survival.
Attendance: 2,611 (209).
Yellow: Di. Kelly-Evans.
Coventry City: Burge (GK), Willis, Clarke (C), Rawson (Di.Kelly-Evans 45'), Turnbull, Foley, Reilly, Vernam (Jones 80'), G.Thomas (Haynes 45'), Beavon, K.Thomas.
Subs: Charles-Cook (GK), Rose, Reid, Tudgay.
Bury: Murphy (GK), Leigh, Burgess, Pope (Miller 58'), Mellis, Barnett, Moore, Styles (Maher 88'), Beadling, Caddis, Vaughan (C) (Hope 73').
Subs: Lainton (GK), Mayor, Pennant, Lowe.