A successful 2-1 win for the Sky Blues against struggling Port Vale on Tuesday night. They host play-off chasers, Bristol Rovers this Saturday at the Ricoh Arena.
Coventry City hadn’t won a game since February where they hosted Gillingham. They faced Port Vale at home, increasing their chances of joining them in League Two next season. Kyel Reid was the man to secure an opening goal for the Sky Blues with a 20-yard volley in the 37th minute. A backheel from close range scored by Kwame Thomas secured their lead even further just three minutes after. The Valiants could only take home Nathan Smith’s flicked header from Ryan Taylor’s free kick.
The Pirates hadn’t dwelled on their defeat for too long after resulting in a 2-1 win against relegation-haunted Chesterfield. An astonishing early goal came from the home side within 30 seconds of play at the Memorial Stadium. Lee Brown’s failed cross met the foot of Ollie Clarke as it fired a low shot from the edge of the box. Only 20 minutes later did Rory Gaffney’s low shot take Bristol Rovers up 2-0.
Chesterfield did their best to catch up to the home side after a 85th minute goal from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake ended the Pirates’ chances of a gaining a clean sheet.
Last time these two teams met…
The Sky Blues travelled to the West Country side back in December where they suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat. It was their first game under new manager, Russell Slade.
Coventry made three changes to the team, including first choice goalkeeper, Lee Burge who was recovering from a collision with Southend United’s Nile Ranger. However, Bristol Rovers made four changes to the home side introducing the faces of Billy Bodin, James Clarke, Chris Lines and Cristian Montano.
The Pirates scored the opening goal early into the game by Peter Hartley. Bodin’s free-kick met the defender who’s header fired past Burge. Chris Lines almost strengthened their lead with a powerful shot outside the penalty box but fired over the bar.
Only nine minutes into the second half did Bodin secure Bristol Rovers a second goal after meeting Rory Gaffney’s pass. Coventry began to put pressure on the home side after Jordan Willis’ left-footed shot from close range halved the deficit.
Billy Bodin became the Man of the Match after firing home two more goals for the home side. His left-footed shot from 25 yards was neatly tucked into the bottom left corner of the net, sending the Pirates 3-1 up. The midfielder didn’t stop there as the Sky Blues’ Jordan Turnball caught Bodin’s foot inside the box, conceding a penalty. A disappointing start for Russell Slade’s men.
Key Players and predicted XI…
Coventry City: Ben Stevenson – midfielder
Stevenson has been a crucial player for the Sky Blues who have been preparing for relegation over the course of this season. He has scored two goals in 24 appearances, one making entry for Goal of the Year. Stevenson met a poor clearance from ‘keeper, Dave Martin, where he fired home from 30-yards out, making it into the top left corner.
Bristol Rovers: Daniel Leadbitter – defender
Leadbitter is one for the Sky Blues to watch as he has been on good form this part of this season. What I like about the defender is how he’s not afraid to move into an attacking position rather than just being a right-back. He’s produced 4 assists in League One in a total of 26 league appearances. He likes to play alongside the whole wing of the pitch, challenging the oppositions’ defensive players.
Coventry City: Ryan Haynes – defender
Haynes is known for his impressive skill on the ball as a defender. He can play strongly as a wing-back and a full-back. He’s similar to Daniel Leadbitter as both are confident with challenging other players in an attacking format. He has incredible pace and can dribble past the opposition easily.
Bristol Rovers: Billy Bodin – midfielder
Billy Bodin has been in great form, one of the many players who have stood out from the squad. He can play as a midfielder or on the wing. He is one to watch as he’s confident when it comes to being challenged by other players as he can sucessfully outwitt them. He’s scored a total of nine goals in 29 league appearances and produced 4 assists.
Bristol Rovers XI (4-3-3): Lumley (GK); Leadbitter, Lockyer, Sweeney, Brown; Lines, O. Clarke, Montano; Bodin, James, Moore.
Coventry City XI (4-3-3): Burge (GK); Kelly-Evans, Willis, Rawson, Haynes; Stevenson, Bigirimana, Reilly; G. Thomas, K. Thomas, Reid.
Judging on both clubs’ performances, Bristol Rovers remain the stronger side. Coventry struggled against us back in December and I think it will re-occur for them. I predict Bristol Rovers 3-1 Coventry City.