The Sky Blues were looking to end their winless run in the league and rectify their most recent defeat away at Shrewsbury Town, as they faced the travelling Charlton Athletic at the Ricoh Arena.
The game began slowly but the Sky Blues were the side who were looking to attack the opposition when possible with Jordan Shipley being heavily involved in the opening stages on his return to the starting 11.
Shipley’s forward play was also being matched on the opposite wing as Luke Thomas was looking to use his speed and agility after playing a one-two with Liam Kelly in the middle of the park, turning his marker and attempting to slide Jordy Hiwula in-behind, but his pass was intercepted and hacked away from danger.
The first half-chance of the game fell the way of Conor Chaplin who met Dujon Sterling’s low cross. Chaplin got across his marker and fired the ball goalwards, but his effort hit the side netting the wrong side of the post.
The Sky Blues were controlling the game and putting the Addicks’ defence under pressure. This time it was Thomas that was threatening the visitors’ goal following a neat ball in-behind the defence from Tom Bayliss.
Thomas skipped past his marker reached the by-line and smashed a shot goalward, but his effort did not trouble Jed Steer and ended up in the side netting.
Minutes later, Sterling made a decisive challenge in his own penalty area as Nicky Ajose was slipped in one-on-one with Lee Burge. The striker was about to pull the trigger as Sterling slid in, won the ball and cleared his lines.
The next passage of play saw the Sky Blues go straight down the other end and create a great chance for themselves, but for Patrick Bauer who slid in and brought down Jordy Hiuwla on the edge of the box.
Chaplin was poised to take the resulting freekick and smashed the set piece towards the top corner. Steer was equal to the striker’s freekick and pushed the ball over for a corner. The resulting corner amounted to nothing.
The Sky Blues were growing in confidence and Hiwula and Chaplin were becoming bigger threats to the Addicks’ back line. Hiwula won the ball brilliantly in Charlton’s half and played the ball to Chaplin, who found Shipley in acres of space on the left with a first-time pass.
Shipley delivered a dangerous ball across the goal towards Hiwula, but Bauer got there just before the striker and cleared any danger.
For all of City’s dominance, the best chance of the half fell the way of Charlton Athletic and their in-form striker; Lyle Taylor. Anfernee Dijksteel delivered a deep cross into the box that was headed back across by Bauer. The pullback reached Taylor who took a touch, stumbled and then poked the ball goalwards.
The effort, in the end, was tame, and Burge dealt with it superbly by diving away to his left and palming the ball away from danger.
This was the best chance of the half until the next passage of play, which saw the deadlock broken, and it was Hiwula who headed home on his return to the starting 11.
Chaplin whipped a ball into the box from the left, which was met by Hiwula. The striker glanced the ball over the diving Jed Steer and into the back of the net.
HALF-TIME: Sky Blues 1 – 0 Charlton Athletic
The second half got underway and the Sky Blues had a great chance to double their lead straight away. Chaplin slid the ball into the box towards Hiwula, but the ball was just behind the striker who did all he could by helping the ball on to Thomas.
Thomas hit the ball first time, but the effort was deflected by Jason Pearce and away from danger.
The game suddenly burst into life, as Karlan Grant flicked on a cross towards Bauer whose header was cleared off the line. The Sky Blues then went straight up the other end and earned a freekick, in a similar position to the one in the first half.
Chaplin again stood up to take the freekick and smashed it into the wall.
Just before the half-hour mark, the Addicks were level, and it was Darren Pratley who grabbed the equaliser. The ball was played into the box, and similarly to Hiwula’s goal he glanced his header past Lee Burge.
With 20 minutes to go, Tom Bayliss pulled a trick out of the bag to breeze past Lyle Taylor on half way. He then slid the ball into Clarke-Harris, who, from the left side of the area unleashed a powerful effort that was blocked and put out for a corner. The corner amounted to nothing and the danger eventually subsided.
With the introduction of Jonson Clarke-Harris joining Chaplin upfront and pushing Hiwula out wide, the momentum was with the Sky Blues.
Chances came and went for Clarke-Harris, Thomas and Chaplin as neither one was capitalised upon and the game entered the dying minutes.
Tom Bayliss had a chance with five minutes left on the clock as Hiwula smashed a cross low and hard into the area. The ball ricocheted out to the edge of the box where Bayliss was unmarked. The midfielder had time to take a touch but opted not to, and hit the ball first time and it skewed out of play.
Moments later though, Bayliss did capitalise on his chance as he put the Sky Blues ahead in the ninetieth minute.
The midfielder found himself with yards of space 12-yards from goal, and as the ball fell to him he took a touch and superbly placed the ball out of the reach of the diving Jed Steer and into the far corner.
Bayliss’ goal was the last action of the game as the Sky Blues ended their winless record with their second victory over Charlton Athletic this season.
FULL-TIME: Sky Blues 2 – 1 Charlton Athletic
Sky Blues XI: Lee Burge (GK), Dujon Sterling, Dom Hyam, Jordan Willis, Brandon Mason (Junior Brown ’74), Liam Kelly (C), Tom Bayliss, Jordan Shipley (Jonson Clarke-Harris ’63), Luke Thomas (Tom Davies ‘90+11), Jordy Hiwula, Conor Chaplin
Unused Subs: Corey Addai (GK), Jack Grimmer, Zain Westbrooke, Reise Allassani
Charlton Athletic XI: Jed Steer (GK), Anfernee Dijksteel, Krystian Bielik (George Lapslie ’86), Patrick Bauer, Jason Pearce (C), Lyle Taylor, Tarique Fosu, Ben Reeves (Mark Marshall ’57), Darren Pratley, Chris Solly, Nicky Ajose (Karlan Grant ‘46)
Unused Subs: Dillon Phillips (GK), Recco Hackett-Fairchild, Toby Stevenson, Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu
Yellow Cards: Bauer ’25, Bielik ’52, Pearce ’70, Taylor ‘84
Goals: Hiwula ’42, Pratley ’58, Bayliss ‘90
Attendance: 13,013 (827 away)