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Coventry City 1 Rovers 1

28 September 2019

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Rovers were unable to hold on for victory at Coventry City despite an impressive rearguard performance at St Andrew’s.

Captain Ben Whiteman fired Rovers into a first-half lead which after some determined defending looked to be enough to have sealed all three points.

In the end the home side’s pressure finally paid off with Gervane Kastaneer forcing home an equaliser in the 90th minute.

Rovers made one change to the starting line-up, with Donervon Daniels making his first competitive start after coming in to replace the injured Cameron John.

The first chance fell to Rovers after four minutes when some good pressing saw Ben Sheaf pick up the ball just inside the area and find James Coppinger. He was held up but fed Ennis, whose first-time shot squirmed just wide of Marko Marosi’s far post.

An entertaining opening period saw both teams looking to attack, with Kieran Sadlier firing a low effort straight into the arms of Marosi.

The match was not even 10 minutes old when a third decent chance of the game fell the way of the visitors, winning the ball back on the left wing. A back heel from Coppinger saw the ball pop into the path of James, with his cross just in front of Ennis.

Sadlier lofted an effort just over after 11 minutes, with the Sky Blues fashioning their first real opportunity a moment later Matty Godden turned in the area - with Brad Halliday blocking his shot behind for a corner.

Jordy Hiwula really should have put the home side ahead moments later when a great ball from Jordan Shipley found his run, but he could only lift his effort wide. Wesley Jobello also had an effort from distance which was deflected behind.

Ben Sheaf earned himself an opportunity to test Marosi after 24 minutes when he was pulled down in a central position. He took the free-kick himself, aiming for a top corner but the former Rovers goalkeeper got across to cover.

The home side countered quickly with Jobello clipping an effort off the top of the crossbar - though it definitely looked like it was intended as a cross which was over-hit.

Goalkeeper Seny Dieng punched away Callum O’Hare’s near-post effort, and had to be alert again five minutes before the break to stop Hiwula’s low effort with his legs.

But the visitors broke the deadlock five minutes before the break after a smart counter-attacking move led by Halliday down the right.

The right-back ran down the right the area and pulled the ball back towards Taylor - the former Rotherham man dummied and left the ball to roll into the path of captain Whiteman who calmly slotted the ball past his former team-mate Marosi and into the bottom-left corner.

There was drama just before the break as it needed a good clearance from Tom Anderson to deny Godden a quick leveller, but Rovers held the advantage at the break.

Neither side made any changes at the interval, but Rovers were forced into one five minutes after the restart when Ennis went down with an injury and was replaced by Alfie May.

The first opportunity of the second period fell to Jobello whose header was easy enough for Dieng to hold.

Moments later Rovers will have felt they should have made it 2-0 when Sadlier - now pushed up in the centre-forward role in the absence of Ennis - picked the pocket of McFadzean. He laid the ball off for Coppinger, with only a stunning tackle from Liam Walsh to nick the ball off the toes of the experienced forward stopping him scoring.

Coppinger tried to turn provider shortly afterwards when he beat the offside trip, he held the ball up well and laid it off for Taylor but the No.10 went for power and could not keep his effort down.

Rovers’ backline stood up and were counted as the home side pushed to find a way back into the game as Hiwula, O’Hare and Jabo all saw efforts blocked, while O’Hare also smashed an effort wide.

When need Dieng proved he was up to the task, too, stopping an effort at his near post from substitute Gervane Kastaneer. McFadzean also smashed a shot over.

But while Rovers were being forced to absorb some heavy pressure from the Sky Blues, there were opportunities created with two particularly dangerous crosses coming from Halliday down the right. A deep cross from the opposite full-back James also almost caught Marosi out a it dipped just under the bar.

The home side’s pressure finally paid off in the 89th minute when when Amadou Bakayoko smashed the ball home from inside the area leaving Dieng with no chance.

There were five minutes of time added on, with Rovers claiming a handball after a free-kick from James Coppinger was only partially cleared then Dieng needing to be alert to run out and block a counter as both sides tried to snatch the win.


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