Sky Blues slipped to their first league defeat of the season at the hands of Rotherham United at the New York Stadium this afternoon.
A second half red card for captain Kyle McFazdean compounded City’s woes, with Mark Robins side unable to answer doubles from Michael Smith and Matt Crooks.
After a slow opening few minutes, it was Rotherham who had the first chance of the game. A looping cross from a corner was headed over by striker Michael Smith with seven minutes gone.
The deadlock was broken on 13 minutes by the home side. A searching ball forward was brought down well by Michael Smith, and his cross was met by Matt Crooks, who managed to sneak his header underneath the goalkeeper.
City’s first sight of goal came just two minutes later. Some brilliant play down the left from Brandon Mason allowed him to pull the ball back for Jordy Hiwula, but his attempt was blocked as it looked destined for the bottom corner.
Despite a decent start following the goal, Rotherham United doubled their lead on 19 minutes. A back pass from an under pressure Kyle McFazdean failed to find goalkeeper Marosi, who collided with Michael Smith. The striker dispatched the resulting penalty and doubled the home side’s lead.
The Sky Blues struggled to make possession count, and it was Smith again who had the next chance. A cross from left back Joe Mattock found him 12 yards from goal, but his header was the wrong side of the far post.
For all the possession, Coventry were unable to carve out any clear cut chances in the first period. On his first league start, Gervane Kastaneer looked the most likely to make something happen, but the Sky Blues failed to test Daniel Iversen in the Rotherham net.
Half Time: Rotherham United 2-0 Coventry City
The Sky Blues began the second half with a quick break down the left, but were unable to get a shot away.
It was quite clear that Mark Robins had given the players a piece of his mind at half time. They looked sharper in the second half, and their first shot of any venom came from Matt Godden 7 minutes into the second period. A neat one-two with O’Hare allowed him to fire a shot at goal, but Iversen was equal to it.
All their good work in the first quarter of the second half was undone on 57 minutes. A mix up on the ball from Kyle McFazdean allowed Matt Crooks through on goal, and the centre back gave the home side another penalty with a last ditch attempt to win the ball back. He saw red, and Michael Smith scored his second from the spot and the Millers third goal.
The game opened up after the red card; City had a couple of opportunities to grab a goal. Bakayoko was released by Godden for the first, but was unfortunately offside. It was Bakayoko releasing Godden for the second, but the striker couldn’t keep up with the ball and it rolled behind for a goal kick.
But it was another defensive error that allowed Rotherham to add a fourth. A misplaced back pass from Dom Hyam allowed Matt Crooks to add his second of the match.
The Sky Blues never gave up, and Jordan Shipley had a chance almost straight from kick off. His effort went just over the bar. Efforts from Amadou Bakayoko followed, but City were not able to find a breakthrough even with 11 minutes added on at the end.
Full Time: Rotherham United 4-0 Coventry City
Goals: Matt Crooks (13’, 75’), Michael Smith (19’, 58’)
Yellows: Joe Mattock (42’), Matt Olosunde (45’), Callum O'Hare (90')
Reds: Kyle McFazdean (57’)
Attendance: 10,337 (2,567 away)
Sky Blues XI: Marko Marosi (GK), Fankaty Dabo, Kyle McFadzean (C), Dom Hyam, Brandon Mason, Callum O’Hare, Liam Walsh (Liam Kelly, 56’), Jordan Shipley, Gervane Kastaneer (Amadou Bakayoko, 56’), Matt Godden, Jordy Hiwula (Michael Rose, 60’)
Unused Subs: Ben Wilson (GK), Sam McCallum, Tennai Watson, Zain Westbrooke
Rotherham United XI: Daniel Iversen (GK), Matt Olosunde, Richard Wood (C), Michael Ihiekwe, Joe Mattock, Ben Wiles, Matt Crooks, Jamie Lindsay, Dan Barlaser (Shaun MacDonald, 73’), Jake Hastie (Carlton Morris, 79’), Michael Smith (Freddie Ladapo, 83’)
Unused Subs: Lewis Price, Billy Jones, Clark Robertson, Julien Lamy