Coventry City 1, Barnsley 0
(SkyBet League One)
Barnsley had failed to win a game at Coventry in 25 matches stretching over 95 years; they were up against a former manager; and their current man in charge was on the verge of recording the best start by an Oakwell boss – no defeats in eight games.
In such circumstances it was surely inevitable that the Reds should suffer an attack of the Blues as they met with their first loss of the campaign!
More pertinently, however, it would not have happened if they had taken their chances and not been caught out by a late goal for the second successive fixture.
An improvement in both areas is necessary if they are to continue to push for a first-time return to the Championship.
But, despite this set-back, they remain third in the table on 15 points from eight games – the same as Sunderland, Doncaster and Walsall, but with a superior goal difference. Portsmouth lead the way with 20 points after their weekend victory over previous table-toppers Peterborough, who are now a point behind.
The Reds had greater possession (55% – 45%) fired in more shots (14-12) had a greater number on target (5-2) and the corner count was a remarkable 10-1 in their favour, but, as has been often stated, results are defined not by how much time you spend on the ball but what you do with it when you have it.
Jacob Brown, given his first start of the campaign, was his side’s main threat in the first half, but his finishing sadly failed to match his approach play, particularly when cleverly intercepting a back pass only to fail to beat Lee Burge from close range, the ‘keeper just managing to deflect the ball on to the post, and then firing wide from a good position shortly afterwards after the Reds’ best move of the game, Mamadou Thiam setting up the opportunity with a low cross.
Kieffer Moore also powered a header fractionally over the bar, Thiam again being the provider.
At the other end Conor Chaplin, a player Barnsley had tried to sign in the summer, side-footed wide when left in a one-on-one situation with Reds’ goalkeeper Adam Davies, but generally the game was scrappy and niggly, with the Reds eventually picking up three bookings and City one.
A Thiam curler was brilliantly saved by Burge at the start of the second half, but it was Coventry who came closest to breaking the deadlock when Chaplin had a goal ruled out for offside.
It remained a stop-start affair, however, and a goalless draw looked the likeliest and fairest outcome until Coventry struck ten minutes from time.
The Reds failed to clear a long-range free-kick which was floated into the penalty area and when the ball was headed back across the box the unchallenged Jordan Willis headed in the winner.
With it went Daniel Stendel’s claim to fame.
Now he will not doubt be hoping that his side doesn’t go for a Burton at Oakwell on Saturday!
Coventry City: Burge; Sterling, Willis, Hyam, Brown, Thomas (Bakayoko, 89 mins), Bayliss, Doyle, Shipley (Kelly, 68 mins). Chaplin, Clarke-Harris.
Barnsley (4-4-2): Davies; Cavare, Pinnock, Lindsay (McGeehan, 85 mins), Pinillos; Bahre (Moncur, 65 mins), Dougall, Mowatt, Thiam; Brown (Adeboyojo, 72 mins), Moore.
Bookings: Thomas (Coventry); Lindsay, Pinillos, Dougall (Barnsley)
Referee: Trevor Kettle.
Attendance: 11, 468 (1,829 visitors).