Coventry City continued their unbeaten start to the season after a hard fought draw to fellow high flyers Doncaster Rovers at St Andrew’s today.
A late equaliser from substitute Amadou Bakayoko was enough to share the spoils against a resolute Doncaster side.
The Sky Blues enjoyed the majority of play in the first half, and could count themselves unfortunate to go in behind at the break.
Three minutes in, it was Doncaster who had the first chance. A piece of loose play at the back by City allowed Coppinger to play his striker through, but the Wolves loanee failed to hit the target from 12 yards out.
Half chances were evenly spread between the two sides for the first 10 minutes of the fixture. The next major opportunity fell to Matty Godden on eleven minutes. Some neat work from Callum O’Hare allowed Godden sight of goal and unmarked, and the former Peterborough striker was unlucky not to get his shot away earlier. When he did fire a shot at goal, it was well blocked and the resulting corner came to nothing.
The chance did spur Coventry on. Just two minutes later, a delicious Jordan Shipley through ball found an oncoming Jordy Hiwula in the area. His shot fell foul of the far post.
City nearly took the lead in the strangest of circumstances. With 24 minutes gone, a dangerous Wesley Jobello cross had the keeper beaten; unfortunately, it struck the bar and bounced away to safety.
Coventry enjoyed the vast majority of possession, without testing Doncaster goalkeeper Seny Dieng too much. A shot from Callum O’Hare drew a decent save, but he was relatively untested for the first 37 minutes.
His first real calling was crucial. A brilliant double dummy from Shipley and Godden allowed the ball to find Hiwula, and his effort was dealt with impressively.
The deadlock was broken on 40 minutes against the run of play. A quick break down the right allowed Brad Halliday to slide the ball across to Jon Taylor. The former Rotherham man allowed the ball to slide through to captain Ben Whiteman, and his composed finish found the bottom left corner.
Matty Godden almost had a quick equaliser but for a brilliant block. Fankaty Dabo managed to find the City striker with a cutback from the byline, but the Doncaster back line held firm.
Half Time: Sky Blues 0-1 Doncaster Rovers
The only change at half time was the man in the middle; referee James Adcock was replaced by his fourth official Nigel Lugg at the break. Coventry started where they had left off, with Doncaster seeing very little of the ball.
Doncaster Rovers were forced into an early substitution when Niall Ennis picked up a knock. He was replaced by Alfie May.
Both sides had big chances to change the game just moments apart in the first ten minutes of the half. A Liam Walsh ball found Brandon Mason on the left, and his ball was placed onto the head of Jobello. Unfortunately the Frenchman couldn’t get enough on it to trouble the keeper.
Down the other end, A Kyle McFazdean error allowed Jon Taylor to square it to James Coppinger. The evergreen Doncaster man was halted by a superb challenge from Walsh, who had tracked back brilliantly.
On 54 minutes, the two Doncaster men combined again; this time it was Coppinger laying off Taylor. The winger’s shot whistled over, much to the relief of Marko Marosi in the City goal.
There were strong appeals for a handball in the box against Doncaster centre back Dernovan Daniels, but the referee was having none of it despite the protests.
The Sky Blues continued to press for the equaliser, but the Rovers defence held strong. Jordy Hiwula and Callum O’Hare both had shots charged down.
City were denied what seemed like a clear penalty on 70 minutes when a Gervane Kastaneer shot was parried onto the arm of right back Brad Halliday. The crowd made sure they made their feelings clear on the decision.
The decision seemed to spur the Sky Blues on, and they were so close to an equaliser when a Jordy Hiwula cross looked destined for Matty Godden from point blank range. Again, a Doncaster Rovers interception foiled any chance.
The Sky Blues continued to press, but struggled to test the goalkeeper. They were finally rewarded for their hard work in the 89th minute, when Doncaster failed to clear a free kick. Brandon Mason found Kyle McFazdean in the box, and he found substitute Bakayoko in acres of space in the box. His effort found the back of the net and the home fans took the roof off.
They weren’t finished there; Kastaneer had a brilliant run and was unlucky to not pick out Matty Godden. He then continued his sparkling cameo with an excellent run and ball to Callum O'Hare, but the youngster couldn't make contact.
Full time: Sky Blues 1-1 Doncaster
Goals: Ben Whiteman (40’); Amadou Bakayoko (89’)
Yellows: Kyle McFazdean (43’), Reece James (88’)
Attendance: 7010 (811 Away)
Sky Blues XI: Marko Marosi (GK), Fankaty Dabo, Kyle McFadzean (C), Dom Hyam, Brandon Mason, Callum O’Hare, Liam Walsh, Jordan Shipley, Wesley Jobello (Gervane Kastaneer 64’), Matt Godden, Jordy Hiwula (Amadou Bakayoko, 81’)
Unused Subs: Ben Wilson (GK), Sam McCallum, Michael Rose, Zain Westbrooke, Josh Eccles
Doncaster Rovers XI: Seny Dieng (GK), Brad Halliday, Donervon Daniels, Tom Anderson, Reece James; Ben Sheaf, Ben Whiteman (C); Jon Taylor, James Coppinger, Kieran Sadlier (Magder Gomes, 88’); Niall Ennis (Alfie May, 50’)
Unused Subs: Ian Lawlor (GK), Joe Wright, William Longbottom, Danny Amos, Alex Kiwomya