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Match Reports

Report: Coventry 1-0 Wycombe

Blues fall to defeat at the Ricoh.

13 October 2018

A second-half header from Conor Chaplin was enough to give Coventry a narrow 1-0 win over the Chairboys at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday.

Both sides had had their chances on a windy afternoon though a draw looked the likely result before Chaplin found himself well-placed to guide home Dujon Sterling's cross, with Wycombe running out of time to find a response.

Gareth Ainsworth was forced into one change from the side that defeated Burton seven days earlier, with Darius Charles missing out due to an injury, which meant Adam El-Abd returned to the side following a two-month absence.

Blustery conditions inside the Ricoh Arena threatened to play a part from the off, with both sides opting go direct early on, with City having the advantage of the gust behind them.

Curtis Thompson had the game’s first shot but saw his volley sail over the bar after Randell Williams’ long throw momentarily caused a panic in the home backline, particularly due to the presence of Adebayo Akinfenwa who was seeking goal number 201 in English football.

Then Luke Thomas did superbly to skip away down the right for City and feed Conor Chaplin, whose shot looked to be heading on target before Jason McCarthy made a timely intervention to block it to safety.

Action swung to the other end and Michael Harriman dragged a volley wide from Thompson’s clever chipped pass, and then Jordy Hiwula’s cross was met by the head of Jonson Clarke-Harris, but his effort was too close to Ryan Allsop, who collected comfortably.

Midway through the half the visitors were dealt a blow when Matt Bloomfield picked up a knock after testing the home defence inside the box, and although he was initially okay to continue, Wycombe were caught cold after the delay for treatment and went close to falling behind. Coventry worked the ball neatly to Hiwula who cut inside and unleashed a fierce drive, which was superbly kept out by the fingertips of Allsop.

Then came the substitution, with Bryn Morris taking the place of the Wycombe number 10, but City were on top and it needed some calm spells of possession from the Wanderers to take the sting out of the game.

From one clever move came a half-chance for Akinfenwa, who glanced a header wide from Michael Harriman’s cross under pressure from two defenders, before Chaplin threatened again, collecting Clarke-Harris’s knockdown and shooting towards the bottom corner, seeing his effort beaten away by a strong palm from Allsop.

Coventry came on strong again and Wycombe had to dig deep to keep the ball out as it pinged around the area, eager to get to half-time with a 0-0 scoreline knowing the wind might work in their favour after the break.

But they almost took the lead when Jason McCarthy stayed forward from a long throw and found himself unmarked to flick Williams’ cross on target, requiring a quick reaction from keeper Lee Burge to tip it behind.

Michael Doyle fizzed a long-range free-kick over the bar before Craig Mackail-Smith’s first-time shot from 20 yards was held by Burge, at the end of a counter-attacking move.

0-0 at the break was just fine for the Chairboys, who’d been grateful to their keeper for two fine saves but also created a couple of openings for themselves, despite not being able to dominate their opponents.

And the break did Wycombe good. In the early exchanges of the second period, they were the better side, keeping the ball, organising themselves professionally and pushing further into Coventry territory. The first opening came for Mackail-Smith, who meet a deep cross with a downward header which skipped up into the arms of the keeper.

Back came the Sky Blues, with Luke Thomas darting into the box and being denied well by Michael Harriman, before Hiwula scooped a shot over the bar from a difficult position.

Akinfenwa headed a Williams cross wide on 66 minutes with the game finely poised, and both sides looking capable of just finding the extra gear needed to take all three points.

Dominic Gape collected the first yellow for a foul on Chaplin before Clarke-Harris drilled wide from 30 yards, and then came a flash point with Williams and Thomas booked after a confrontation in the middle of the park.

It cranked up the tempo, and an end-to-end passage ensued, with Allsop keeping out Hiwula’s fierce effort on 77 minutes.

Then came a double substitution for the Chairboys, with Fred Onyedinma and Paris Cowan-Hall arriving in place of Mackail-Smith and Williams.

Thomas bent a low cross-shot past the post for the hosts and Conor Chaplin clattered a free-kick into the wall with the game now being played at a frantic pace, and the Sky Blues made the breakthrough with less than 10 minutes remaining.

Dujon Sterling collected the ball from the keeper and surged down the right flank unchallenged, eventually creating the space for a pinpoint cross to find the head of Chaplin and – despite his lack of height – the forward guided the ball expertly into the corner, giving Allsop no chance.

Clarke-Harris hit the target as City looked for a second, but Allsop saved, before Akinfenwa flashed a header across goal from a Jacobson corner but saw it scrambled to safety.

The hosts made a change in the closing stages with Amadou Bakayoko replacing Jordy Hiwula, and he played his part in holding the ball up sufficiently to see out the win.

However, there was almost a late twist when Ryan Allsop volleyed a chance wide with the last kick, going forward to meet Jacobson's corner and miss the target when the ball landed in his path.

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