In-form Bradford City ensured that Mark Robins’ first game back in charge of Coventry City was a losing one.

The Sky Blues still sit rooted to the bottom of League One. With most fans accepting their fate of relegation there was still a keen sense of optimism to see what could be expected with Robins in charge for the rest of this term and in their rebuilding phase next season.

The new manager decided to make four changes to the side which drew 0-0 with Shrewsbury last weekend. Kevin Foley, Ben Stevenson and Charles Vernam all came into the team with Chris Stokes also making a much anticipated return after injury, replacing Ryan Haynes at left-back.

As for Bradford, gaffer Stuart McCall made just one change from the side which saw off Peterborough last time out. Top scorer Jordy Hiwula replaced Alex Jones to partner Charlie Wyke in attack.

The first half was one of few clear cut chances for both sides and both back fours looked relatively comfortable. The away side were enjoying the better of possession but it was the 24th placed Sky Blues that were having more attempts on goal, counter attacking well on numerous occasions.

Mark Marshall was as tireless as ever on the wing for West Yorkshire side and it was his run and cross which set up the best chance of the half. With 18 minutes on the clock, Marshall made inroads down the right-hand side before crossing to Charlie Wyke whose powerful header rebounded agonisingly back off the post.

There were certainly positives for the new Coventry manager to take into the break and with frustration creeping in among the strong away following, the home side were the happier at this stage.

The second half, however, was a completely different story. Whatever Stuart McCall said to his side at half time certainly had the desired effect. His side came out galvanised, looking much more like a team who sit comfortably in the play-off places and broke the deadlock on 51 minutes.

The goal came when set-piece specialist Tony McMahon floated a corner into the Coventry area and Alex Jones found himself completely free to place a delicately timed volley past goalkeeper Lee Burge.

Coventry’s defensive frailties were beginning to show and it took the Bantams just five minutes to find a second goal.

After some more good work from Mark Marshall, once again, he found Alex Jones who squared the ball to Jordy Hiwula in acres of space and the on-loan Huddersfield striker finished off the move from the edge of the area.

The second half proved to be much more routine for Bradford and despite no more goals, they comfortably saw the dejected Sky Blues off in the last half an hour.

The loss makes no real difference to Coventry’s season as they stay bottom of League One with survival a near impossible task. While the loss was expected, the Sky Blues went toe to toe with one of the division’s best sides in the first period and there were certainly some positives for both the new manager and fans to take out of the game.

As for the Bantams it’s a much happier story as they overtake Scunthorpe to go fourth in the table, just two points off the automatic promotion spots.


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A long-term suffering Bradford City fan.