Viktor Gyokeres late goal secured a third consecutive league win for the Sky Blues in a five-goal thriller against Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium on Wednesday night.
Gyokeres finished superbly into the bottom right corner to hand City the points, having twice led through goals from Tyler Walker and Max Biamou only for strikes from Jacob Brown and Sam Clucas to bring the Potters level.
The win means City are now 12 points clear of the drop zone with just three matches left to play having taken another giant step to securing Championship football again next season.
Mark Robins made two changes to the side that beat Barnsley last weekend with Callum O’Hare and Matty Godden replacing Matty James and Max Biamou who dropped to the bench.
After a quiet opening to the game City created their first opening when Godden slipped in Sam McCallum down the left-hand side before delivering a dangerous ball across the box that was turned away by Stoke keeper Angus Gunn.
City threatened the Stoke goal again minutes later when Julien Dacosta’s wicked cross from the right was spilled into the path of Godden who appeared to be fouled by Potters keeper Gunn before Gus Hamer fired the loose ball straight at the Stoke stopper.
The chances continued to flow City’s way when O’Hare picked out Godden inside the penalty area who laid the ball back for Hamer who blazed his effort over the crossbar from 20-yards out.
City came within inches of taking the lead when Hamer’s curling free-kick from the left was destined for the top corner only for Gunn to tip the ball over the bar and keep the game scoreless.
The Sky Blues were forced into a first-half change when skipper Liam Kelly picked up a knock after colliding with the post and was replaced by James on the half hour mark.
Ben Wilson then made a stunning save to keep the Potters at bay diving acrobatically to his right to claw away Connor Taylor’s header from close range.
City took a deserved lead on 44 minutes when Godden flicked the ball into O’Hare who in-turn squared for Walker who produced a composed finish into the top-right corner to put the Sky Blues in front
HALF-TIME: STOKE CITY 0-1 SKY BLUES
The Sky Blues picked up where they left off in the second period when James’ free-kick was cleared to the edge of the penalty area where Hamer was waiting only to fire his ambitious volley into the stands.
Stoke sparked into life when Tommy Smith’s cross from the right found substitute Steven Fletcher inside the area with his effort deflected behind for a corner before missing the target with an acrobatic attempt minutes later.
The Potters equalised on 58 minutes when Jacob Brown lashed home a first-time effort into the top left corner of the goal from the edge of the penalty area following a loose touch by Hamer.
City almost went back in front when a delightful lofted through ball from Hamer found Walker in-behind the Potters defence with Gunn equal to the striker’s effort before then denying O’Hare with another simple save.
The hosts responded with a chance of their own when Nick Powell’s cross from the left was headed onto the top of the crossbar by Fletcher.
City restored their lead on 68 minutes when McCallum’s long throw was flicked on at the near post by Leo Ostigard and finished off at the back post by Biamou with his first touch since coming off the bench.
Stoke equalised just two minutes later when Smith’s cross from the right went all the way to the back post where Sam Clucas lashed an unstoppable first time effort into the top left corner leaving Wilson with no chance.
In an extraordinary second period City went ahead for the third time on 78 minutes when substitute Gyokeres did well to beat Taylor down the line before cutting inside and firing into the bottom right corner from the edge of the penalty area.
Wilson made his second stunning save of the night in the closing minutes when he denied Fletcher’s header from point blank range as City held on despite six minutes of added time to secure another crucial three points.
FULL-TIME: STOKE CITY 2-3 SKY BLUES
Goals: Walker (44’), Brown (58’), Biamou (68’), Clucas (70’), Gyokeres (78’)
Yellows: Mikel (50’), Ostigard (74’)
Stoke City XI: Angus Gunn (GK), Tommy Smith, James Chester (Taylor 17’), Danny Batth, Rhys Norrington-Davies, Sam Clucas (Vokes 81’), Jordan Thompson (Mikel 46’), Josh Tymon, Nick Powell (C), Jacob Brown (Matondo 81’), Christian Norton (Fletcher 46’)
Unused Subs: Adam Davies (GK), Kieran Coates, Eddy Jones, Jordan Cousins
Sky Blues XI: Ben Wilson (GK), Julien Dacosta, Leo Ostigard, Kyle McFadzean, Dom Hyam, Sam McCallum, Liam Kelly (C) (James 30’), Gus Hamer (Eccles 66’), Callum O’Hare, Tyler Walker (Gyokeres 66’), Matty Godden (Biamou 66’)
Unused Subs: Marko Marosi (GK), Michael Rose, Jordan Shipley, Jamie Allen, Amadou Bakayoko