|Coventry City 1 v 1 Ipswich Town|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 7th December 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Coventry City 1-1 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 7th Dec 2019 17:17
Town and Coventry drew 1-1 at St Andrew’s for the second time in seven days in a game of two halves. Will Keane gave the Blues a deserved lead on 31 in a first half in which Town should have scored more but Max Biamou equalised for the Sky Blues on 56 in a period the Midlanders dominated.
Manager Paul Lambert made only one change from the team which drew 1-1 with the Sky Blues in the FA Cup last Sunday, although six from the Blues' last League One outing, the 0-0 home draw with Wycombe at the end of last month.
However, Town were without skipper Luke Chambers due to a neck problem, which is only expected to sideline him for a few days, while Cole Skuse, who suffered a hip problem at Peterborough on Wednesday, was on the bench.
Gwion Edwards came in for Danny Rowe on the right of the front three with the former Macclesfield man out with a knee injury, also not believed to be serious. Alan Judge was on the left with Keane the lone central striker with James Norwood suspended.
Flynn Downes again skippered from central midfield alongside Jon Nolan and Andre Dozzell, while Janoi Donacien and Luke Garbutt were the full-backs and James Wilson and Luke Woolfenden the centre-halves.
Forward Callum O’Hare, who scored Coventry’s late equaliser last week, and striker Amadou Bakayoko started for the home side, while striker Matty Godden was on the bench after injury.
The Sky Blues had the better of the opening minutes and on five Bakayoko was found in space breaking into the area but Nolan made a superb challenge to stop him in his tracks and Edwards cleared the danger.
Two minutes later, the former Shrewsbury man came close to opening the scoring. After good work from Dozzell, Judge whipped in a cross from the right and Nolan got his head to it at the near post eight yards out, but couldn’t get enough on it and it flew across the face of goal.
As last week, Town were passing it out from the back and, with Dozzell and Downes increasingly influential as the game reached the quarter-hour mark, were enjoying long spells of possession, however, without turning them into another chance until the 25th minute when Judge came close to his second goal of the season.
A slick move which started with keeper Norris and built from there, ended with Nolan sending Edwards away down the right with Judge breaking down the middle. The Welshman’s cross-shot was awkward for the Irish international at the far post and he was only able to scrape it wide as he collided with the woodwork.
Had Judge scored, it would have been a team goal up there with Kane Vincent-Young’s at Gillingham earlier in the season.
Town continued to see most of the ball with possession quickly won back after it had been lost. On 28 Downes hit a shot from just outside the area which appeared to hit a defender a deflect well wide but referee Darren Drysdale gave a goalkick.
And three minutes later, the Blues got the goal their performance deserved. A short corner on the left was returned to Judge by Dozzell, the Irishman looped in a cross and Keane climbed highest to power his first league goal of the season and his second against Coventry in successive weeks into the corner of the net.
In the 34th minute Keane almost scored again. Garbutt sent over a corner from the right and the former Manchester United man once more rose highest to head against the post. A Coventry defender cleared the loose ball.
Town continued to dominate with Coventry struggling to see anything of the ball. On 42, the excellent Keane swept the ball wide to the right and eventually Judge sent over a deep cross to the edge of the box which Garbutt volleyed back across goal and only just wide.
The Sky Blues, who had just swapped the injured Dom Hyam for Jordan Shipley, went close for the first time soon afterwards when Zain Westbrooke found O’Hare unmarked with a freekick in from the left but the on-loan Aston Villa man’s header was too high.
Just before the break, Judge was fouled on the left and rather wasted the freekick and left the field feeling his left wrist, which he broke early in the summer when away with the Republic of Ireland, although didn’t appear unduly concerned.
Town were applauded off at half-time after as good a 45 minutes as they’d put in for a while.
Following a slow start, the Blues had kept hold of the ball and passed it around with confidence and might well have gone in with more than their single goal lead with Nolan, Keane, Judge and Garbutt all going close.
Keane deserved his goal for his display, while midfield trio Downes, Nolan and Dozzell were well on top of their Coventry counterparts and the Blues backline had rarely been troubled with Norris largely a spectator.
The Sky Blues began the second period on the front foot and Norris was forced into his first serious save in the 53rd minute.
After good work from Bakayoko, sub Shipley unleashed a powerful strike which the Town keeper batted into the air. Biamou following up was only able to bundle it behind.
Coventry had played all the football since the break, with the Blues looking like a totally different team to the one in the first half, and in the 56th minute they deservedly levelled.
Sky Blues skipper Liam Kelly played a clever ball into the path of Biamou and the Frenchman struck a shot across Norris and into the corner of the net.
On the hour, a clash between Edwards and Sam McCallum led to a bout of handbags on the touchline involving everyone on both teams, including the keepers and some of the subs.
Eventually, once order was restored, the Welshman and Coventry sub Gervane Kastaneer - whose unnecessary involvement had escalated the clash - were shown yellow cards. Referee Drysdale and his assistants seemed to be unsure of the identity of the Sky Blues player involved initially and McCallum escaped censure.
The game was increasingly open with the Blues briefly showing signs of getting back on top in the 66th minute when Edwards made a strong run down the right and fed Judge, but the Irishman’s cross into Keane’s path was blocked.
Soon after, Judge and Edwards made way for Kayden Jackson, who became a father earlier in the week, and Skuse. The Blues went into a midfield diamond with Skuse at the deepest point and Dozzell the most advanced.
The Sky Blues were within an inch or so from taking the lead in the 69th minute when last week’s last-gasp goal hero O’Hare struck a first time effort which looped over Norris but hit the top of the bar. Wilson cleared the danger with a header.
But the Sky Blues maintained the pressure with Norris coming off his line quickly to clear a through ball, then from Kelly’s corner on the right Biamou headed past the far post.
Woolfenden was booked for a foul on Biamou after he had got away from him on halfway in the 76th minute with Town giving the ball away too easily and making too many mistakes.
A minute later, a Jackson cross from the left was cut out ahead of Keane, then Coventry broke up the other end but the ball was overhit through to Norris. On 79 Jamie Allen took over from Westbrooke for the Sky Blues.
Bakayoko shot through to Norris in the 80th minute after Woolfenden’s clearance had found him 30 yards out in space with Coventry looking the more likely scorers of the game’s third goal.
On 85 an unmarked Kyle McFadzean headed straight at Norris from a corner. The Blues broke immediately but Nolan’s cross looped behind.
Town had their best chance of the half in the 87th minute when Skuse looped a cross from deep on the right towards Keane at the far post but the striker lost his footing as he prepared to strike first time on the half-volley.
Jackson was booked for a foul on Fankaty Dabo in the second of six additional minutes, then Coventry swapped Biamou for Godden.
A minute or so before the whistle, sub Allen hit a shot just wide from the edge of the box but this week there was to be no late drama at St Andrew’s.
It had been the archetypal game of two halves with the Blues well on top in the first half and Coventry much the better side in the second.
Town should have had more than just Keane’s goal to show for their first-half display while the Sky Blues will feel they might have scored more than just the once after the break.
The Blues never looked like replicating the controlled and composed passing which had characterised their first-half display in the second period, showing little patience on the ball with Coventry the ones keeping possession and creating the opportunities.
Overall, a draw was a fair result with the Blues now four points behind Wycombe, who didn’t play today, with a game in hand. Third-placed Peterborough drew 2-2 at Portsmouth.
Following Tuesday’s third game in 10 days against the Sky Blues at Portman Road, the second round FA Cup replay, Town host Bristol Rovers in League One.
Coventry: Marosi, Dabo, McCallum, Hyam (Shipley 44), McFadzean, Rose, Kelly, Westbrooke (Allen 79), O’Hare, Bakayoko, Biamou (Godden 90). Unused: Wilson, Hiwula, Kasteneer, Drysdale.
Town: Norris, Donacien, Woolfenden, Wilson, Garbutt, Dozzell, Downes, Nolan, Edwards (Skuse 67), Judge (Jackson 67), Keane. Unused: Holy, El Mizouni, Kenlock, Dobra, Georgiou. Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire). Att: 8,085 (Town: 2,097).
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