Coventry City beat Leamington FC 4-0 as they began the pre-season schedule with an impressive win.
Mark Robins named two separate teams for each half in today's pre-season friendly fixture. In the first-half, Ben Wilson, Josh Pask, Kyle McFadzean, Michael Rose, Wesley Jobello, Jamie Allen and Gervane Kastaneer all lined up for the first time, while in the second-half, Marko Marosi and Fankaty Dabo both made their bows.
The Sky Blues began the match strongly, controlling possession and territory, and the pace of the game.
The first chance of the game fell to striker Conor Chaplin. The ball came to the Sky Blues number 10 around 25 yards from goal, and his effort just missed the top corner.
The next chance also fell to Chaplin in the tenth minute. The lively Allen released the striker with a smart through ball, but Leamington’s defence cleared as far as Jobello, who put in a dangerous cross but a City man couldn’t get on the end of it.
In a period of Sky Blues dominance, Jobello put in another threatening low cross which reached Chaplin’s feet. The striker did well to get an effort away in a crowded box, but drew it just wide of the post.
However, the Sky Blues were to get the lead that their play deserved in the 18th minute. Jobello and Kastaneer linked up well in the middle of the park, before the Frenchman was released on the left. His cross looking for Allen was only cleared as far as Kastaneer, whose shot was deflected into the Leamington net.
Leamington got more into the game following City’s goal, breaking forward from midfield and forcing two corners, both of which City dealt with successfully.
It was to be the Sky Blues who would find the next goal in the game. A play in from the right was half cleared by Leamington, and it fell to local lad Jordan Shipley. He set himself and drilled a low shot from 20 yards out into the bottom corner to double the lead.
Jobello and Kastaneer linked up well again five minutes later, with the latters powerful, curling effort being deflected out for a corner when it looked destined for the top corner.
City would make it three just before the break. A deep cross from the left found right back Josh Pask unmarked. He took a touch, before hitting a powerful shot low into the net.
At half-time, it was all change for the Sky Blues with the entire 11 changing.
Coventry moved the ball about well, dominating possession and spreading the play well as they tried to break down a more resolute second half Leamington defence.
Jonny Ngandu had a twenty minute appearance and looked strong. Linking up well with Dabo, he cut inside on three occasions to pose questions of the Leamington defence, but was restricted to long range efforts.
In the 60th minute, Dabo and Ngandu linked again, but the youngster crossed instead – it was met by the head of Bakayoko who couldn’t quite get enough of a connection to send the ball goalwards.
The Sky Blues forwards continued to move and link-up well to challenge the Leamington back four just five minutes later. Ngandu found Bakayoko, who switched the ball left to Hiwula. The Sky Blues top goalscorer last season moved into box, but dragged his shot wide.
With twenty minutes left, City had an effort cleared off the line when Bakayoko met a corner with a header, only to see March in the way for the hosts.
As the clock ticked down to 15 minutes to play, Max Biamou made his first appearance in a Sky Blues shirt since picking up a season ending ACL injury last August away to Blackpool.
The Sky Blues fans among the 1552 crowd at the New Windmill Ground were delighted to see the Frenchman back, and gave him a rapturous reception.
Marko Marosi was called into action, as Leamington had their first real effort on goal. A good cross from the right found Brakes striker Colby Bishop, whose header forced a diving save from the City shot stopper.
Biamou was keen to get involved, unleashing a speculative 30 yard effort early on and linkin up with Bakayoko, a move which created a further opening for Hiwula. Hiwula found space for a cross on the left into Bakayoko but his header was just over the bar.
As the game drew to a close, Tom Bayliss broke into the area onto a through ball. The Leamington keeper was out quickly but collided with City's young midfielder and the referee awarded the Sky Blues the penalty. After some discussion, Biamou stepped up to take the spot kick, and slotted it powerfully away to seal an impressive win for the Sky Blues, ahead of their trip to Spain.
CCFC XI 1st Half: Wilson (GK), Pask, McFadzean, Rose, McCallum, Allen, Eccles, Shipley, Jobello, Kastaneer, Chaplin.
CCFC XI 2nd Half: Marosi (GK), Dabo, Williams, Hyam, Mason, Bayliss, Kelly, Westbrooke, Ngandu (Biamou, 75), Hiwula, Bakayoko