The Sky Blues complete the season double over Port Vale with two first half goals...
Goals from Kyel Reid and Kwame Thomas give Mark Robins his first win as Coventry City boss, despite late pressure from a Nathan Smith Vale goal.
The opening ten minutes had more energy than the entire 90 at Stadium MK last Saturday, with early chances falling to George Thomas and Gael Bigirimana.
Kyel Reid was the architect of both, using his pace to burst past the halfway line and feed the ball wide. Stuart Beavon collected Reid’s pass before finding the clever run of Thomas, although the linesman’s flag thwarted the young Welshman’s progress.
Bigirimana tested Deniz Mehmet in the Port Vale goal moments later, with an effort from distance, which was destined for the bottom right before the keeper’s outstretched glove intervened.
Reid, sparking every City attack, used neat footwork to fool two Vale defenders in the 14th minute, before inviting Ryan Haynes to join the attack down the left flank. Haynes floated a cross in to the technical area where Kwame Thomas looked favourite to meet the delivery, but Mehmet belatedly cleared the danger.
The visitors began to play their way in to the tie after the half hour mark, as City failed to make their early dominance pay. A few more bright touches from Reid nearly carved an opening, but the Vale backline were resolute in their defensive duties.
It took a bit of magic from Reid, who looked most impressive for the entire half, to break the deadlock for City just before the interval. He flicked the ball over his man, took a touch to settle himself before unleashing a rocket that found the top corner, with Mehmet stranded.
And it wasn’t long before the lead was doubled, as Beavon’s desire and work rate was matched by K.Thomas’ intuition. Beavon cut inside and took the shot on early, which was parried by Mehmet, and cleverly backflicked goalward by the alert K.Thomas.
The clock had struck the hour mark before the visitors tested Lee Burge in the City upright, and the No.1 was equal to it.
Ryan Taylor’s shot bounced awkwardly off the wet surface, but Burge was quick to adjust his feet and get a hand to the effort, before confidently punching the resulting corner.
Reilly could, and perhaps should, have made it three in the 69th minute with a shot from ten yards. The Burton Albion loanee forced a save from Mehmet, before Ryan Haynes chopped inside on to his unfavoured right foot and went searching for the far corner.
Just as quickly as City could have sealed it, Nathan Smith had Vale back in the tie, connecting with Taylor’s free-kick and sending his looping header over the helpless Burge.
Jodi Jones entered the action in the 80th minute, to try and relieve some pressure on the City back four. The home side continued to get forward, not content with only the two goals, but weren’t able to further effect the scoreline, despite a break away chance for G.Thomas in the dying moments.
Yellow: Reeves, Foley, Rawson.
Attendance: 7,695 (516).
Coventry City: Burge (GK), Willis (C), Clarke, Rawson, Haynes, Reilly, Bigirimana, G.Thomas, Reid (Stokes 84'), Beavon (Jones 80'), K. Thomas.
Subs: Charles-Cook (GK), Turnbull, Di. Kelly-Evans, Stevenson, Lameiras.
Port Vale: Mehmet (GK), Purkiss (C) (Tavares 78'), Streete, Taylor, Cecilia, Foley, Kiko, Smith, Reeves (Kelly 45'), Eagles (Turner 60'), Shodipo.
Subs: Fasan (GK), Bikey, Tanser.