Coventry City 2 - 0 Birmingham City

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Coventry City 2 - 0 Birmingham City

Postby dutchman » Sat Dec 09, 2023 6:09 am

O'Hare scores twice as Coventry beat Birmingham

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Callum O'Hare scored his first Coventry City goals in more than 19 months as the Sky Blues comfortably beat Wayne Rooney's Birmingham City at the CBS Arena.

The former Aston Villa midfielder cut in from the right to fire past John Ruddy on the half hour.

O'Hare then dribbled his way sideways across the box before slamming home the clinching second goal on 77 minutes.

It was a fifth successive away defeat for Blues boss Rooney, whose side have picked up just five points from his nine games in charge - and have not earned a single point on their travels since 19 August, two months prior to his appointment.

Although Blues were weakened at the back by injuries, it could have been worse but for a string of saves by keeper John Ruddy.

Added to the expected loss of Ethan Laird, who was ruled out on Thursday with a groin injury, Blues were also without two more defenders - Cody Drameh, Laird's expected replacement, as well as Dion Sanderson.

That meant only a second start of the season for Marc Roberts, and recalls for Wales international Jordan James and striker Lukas Jutkiewicz, who was named skipper on his return to one of his old clubs.

But, since leaving Coventry, Jutkiewicz has played against his old club, never scored and never won - and he never looked like winning this one either.

The Sky Blues were without top scorer Matt Godden, who missed the game as his wife was in labour. But, on only his second start of the season after the best part of a year out being nursed back following knee surgery, O'Hare truly stepped up to the plate.

He comes from a Blues-supporting family. His uncle, former Birmingham skipper Ian Clarkson, was actually up in the main stand helping to report on the game for BBC Radio WM. But that did nothing to lessen O'Hare's hunger.

Ruddy had already made one point-blank save from a well-struck O'Hare shot before the Sky Blues playmaker finally broke the deadlock.

After being slipped down the right by Tatsuhiro Sakamoto, O'Hare wriggled his way through three defenders before slipping a cheeky toe-poke past Ruddy.

After a half-decent Blues spell at the start of the second half, Coventry then pressed on looking to extend that lead.

The recalled Ellis Simms planted a header straight at Ruddy, co-striker Haji Wright was then denied at point-blank range by Ruddy, who raced off his line to smother superbly.

And the American striker then raced down the left and cut inside makeshift right-back Juninho Bacuna again, only to again be denied a second time by the Blues keeper.

Ruddy also had to dive acrobatically high to his left to keep out a stunning Milan van Ewijk free-kick, before keeping out a low shot from Sakamoto. But, 13 minutes from time, O'Hare settled it.

It had been 672 days since his last Coventry goal, when he opened the scoring. But his second came just 47 minutes later to lift the Sky Blues into 14th, five points shy of the play-offs, going into the rest of the weekend fixtures. Birmingham are two points behind in 16th spot.

Coventry City match-winner Callum O'Hare told BBC CWR:

"I don't think my friends and family will be too happy, but I'm buzzing, on top of the world.

"I don't think anyone truly realises just how much this means after being out injured for so long - and I'm not 100% yet.

"I had good contact with my first effort and he saved it, and I thought 'I'm going to have to put it lower'. And all I could so was toe-poke it past him.

"Haji Wright was close to scoring too. It won't be long before they start going in for him too."

Sky Blues manager Mark Robins told BBC CWR:

"We played some really good football right from the start. I'm delighted with everything - result, and performance was really good in spells.

"It was a typical derby game - it was a bit open at times, we gave them a little bit too much space at times.

"Callum [O'Hare] has been incredible. He really deserves that but, as a group, it'll bring them together and help them progress.

"He typifies the Coventry City spirit and the way we want to go about the job - tonight was outstanding and he deserves all the plaudits he's going to get."

Coventry now host Southampton on Wednesday before travelling to Leeds on Saturday.

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