Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:53 pm
Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:58 pm
Andy Turner reports from Glanford Park
Coventry City’s winning run came to an end at bogey side Scunthorpe United who chalked up their seventh victory in the last eight meetings between the two clubs.
The Sky Blues went into the game on the back of three consecutive wins but Mark Robins’s men were second best in a desperately poor first half when they failed to get going against a recovering Iron, who have hauled themselves out of the relegation zone over the festive period.
They managed to keep a clean sheet to the break, however, and looked a far better proposition in the second half.
But they conceded just after the hour when James Perch beat Lee Burge, and doubled their lead eight minutes later through Levi Sutton.
Conor Chaplin pulled one back for the visitors who flooded forward in a bid to get something out of the game in a thrilling climax but City couldn’t find a way through as United clung on to their fragile lead.
Robins made one change to his side with Michael Doyle coming in for the injured Liam Kelly to make his first start for seven matches, and it was a difficult afternoon for the skipper and his team-mates who spent the majority of the first half defending in their own half.
United were a threat from the first whistle at Glanford Park where they bossed possession and adopted a shoot on sight policy that saw them rack up 12 attempts in the opening 45 minutes, three of which hit the target, while Coventry managed just three attempts, none of which were on target.
United’s best effort was from the lively and dangerous former Sky Blues star George Thomas – on loan from Leicester City – who was denied by a decent save from Burge just after the half hour mark.
City were guilty of hitting poor final balls when they did manage to take the pressure off with the odd attack but they were up against a determined looking Iron side who defended solidly to the break.
The home side looked good going forward and broke quickly on the counter attack on the occasions when City threatened and quickly lost the ball.
Jonson Clarke-Harris added some much-needed physicality when he replaced Jordy Hiwula at the break and the Sky Blues gave a far better account of themselves when they re-emerged for the second half.
The big front man had an effort blocked amid a goalmouth scramble, sent a rasping shot dipping narrowly over the bar and played his part at the back, heading clear a United free-kick in a more end to end second period.
But United finally got the breakthrough they’d been threatening when James Perch hit a powerful shot from outside the box that looked to take a deflection to wrong-foot Burge to give the home side the 67th minute lead.
Despite City enjoying arguably their best spell of the game, putting the Iron under intense pressure, the home side doubled their lead when midfielder Sutton cut into the box and fired across the keeper and into the far top corner in the 74th minute.
City kept battling and pulled one back three minutes later when Jak Alnwick couldn’t hold a Tom Bayliss shot and Conor Chaplin headed home the loose ball from close range to set up an exciting end to the game.
Luke Thomas was denied in the 90th minute when the keeper tipped over for two corners in quick succession ahead of five minutes of stoppage time, during which the home side were hanging on to a slender lead which they kept to the death.