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INTERVIEW: Mark Robins reflects on City's 1-1 draw with Notts County

McNulty's late penalty sends City to Meadow Lane level with County...

12 May 2018

Coventry boss Mark Robins says he is immensely proud of his young Sky Blues players after an action-packed evening at the Ricoh Arena saw City's first-ever play-off semi-final end level.

Jonathan Forte gave the visitors the lead early in the second half but Marc McNulty's last-gasp penalty was enough for the Sky Blues to head to Meadow Lane on Friday level with their rivals.

"Those were tough conditions. It was like a monsoon before the game," said Robins.

"They made it difficult for us. We started brightly and passed the ball well but our final ball was not the best. That is something that has affected us all season if I am honest.

"I think that we built momentum really well. County are a really good team and, really, they have scored from their first opportunity to put the ball into the box.

"Credit to my players, they have worked hard."

The Sky Blues drew level after a controversial decision by the referee to award Robins' side a penalty for a soft foul on Tom Bayliss.

Regardless of the penalty, Robins is adamant that City were deserving of the draw.

"I have watched the penalty back and if it was given against me then I would be very disappointed. But, Tom Bayliss did not and does not dive. The momentum of the player has taken him over.

"I will also say that the decision was probably justified moments later when we were not given a penalty despite the ball striking a players arm above his head in the area. You have to ask what the player's arm is doing in an unnatural position. That should have been a penalty."

The Sky Blues now head to Meadow Lane knowing that a win will send them to Wembley.

"I am so proud of my players," said Robins.

"There are some really young players in our side and they were out there playing against wily professionals who have experienced an awful lot.

"Meanwhile, our players with experience, Michael Doyle and Liam Kelly, who have over 900 games between them, kept things ticking over.

"We were good value for at least a draw. This sets things up nicely for the second game."

He added: "I expect Friday to be a tough encounter. They are a different side at home. We are one game away from Wembley. I am proud of my players because they did not show any nerves. They were brilliant tonight.

"Roll on Friday," he said with a laugh.

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