Coventry City 0-0 Birmingham City: Spoils shared between the landlord and the tenants at St. Andrews
(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Coventry City manager Mark Robins was in search of his 100th win at the helm of the Midlands club, but would have to do so against the team who were friendly enough to let them use their stadium- Birmingham City.

Robins, prior to the match, insisted his side "need to start picking up the points Coventry's performances deserved", as the Sky Blues had picked up just one victory in the last five, against league leaders Reading. 

Meanwhile with the opponents, Birmingham were proving difficult to breakdown and had had a mediocre beginning to the season, having won two of their last five, but would be hungry to avoid a third consecutive defeat.

  • Teams

Coventry City: Marosi, Dabo, McFadzean, Hyam, McCallum, Kelly, Hamer, O'Hare, Sheaf, Shipley, Walker

Birmingham City: Etheridge, Colin, Roberts, Dean, Friend, San Jose, Sunjic, Sanchez, McGree, Bela, Jutkiewicz 

This game was the first of the Championship weekend to be allowed five substitutes, so both sides had nine players available for selection off of the bench.

  • Story of the match

Robins opted to change his formation, switching to a four at the back set-up for the first time this season.

It was the Sky Blues who started the brighter, with a cut back from Gustavo Hamer being dragged wide by former Arsenal midfielder Ben Sheaf on the edge of the box.

Birmingham were struggling to hold onto the ball, with Coventry having 72% of the possession after the opening ten minutes.

However possession doesn't equal goals, as Birmingham's Mikel San Jose found space on the left wing and delivered an outstanding whipped cross to the back post, but Lukas Jutkiewicz tried to be too clever with his header and nodded wide of Marko Marosi's post.

Tyler Walker found space in behind the Birmingham defence, losing George Friend on the wing and getting on the end of a Liam Kelly pass, but his cross-shot trickled out for a throwing.

The striker proved once again threatening, as Walker chased a long ball in behind from Kelly and chinned the ball towards goal, but Neil Etheridge did well to read the play well and keep the ball out.

An intelligent touch from Jememie Bela after Ivan Sanchez switched the play, but Bela's tempting ball across goal lacked the finishing touch.

Left-back Friend found space on the left wing, but his venomous effort lacked aim and sauntered harmlessly wide of the post.

Following one minute of stoppage time, referee Oliver Langford brought the first half to a conclusion.

Admittedly a very dull first half, as either side hadn't  really tested the goalkeeper and were unable to break the deadlock. Jutkiewicz had had the biggest chance of the game, but squandered his headed opportunity wide of the post. Goalless at the break. 

Upon the second half getting underway, Walker was once again causing problems, as Kelly, who had been linking up really well with Walker all game, floated a ball through but the forward couldn't guide his header towards goal.

Some fantastic movement from Walker again, who cut inside on his right foot, but his strike was well blocked by Friend and Callum O'Hare was unable to convert the rebound. 

Birmingham made the first change of the night, as Riley McGree was replaced by Jon Toral.

Heading towards the 65th minute and Ivan Sunjic found space in the box, but his shot was scuffed wide and the score remained level. 

The Sky Blues were next to make a switch, as Jordan Shipley and the booked Ben Sheaf made way for Max Biamou and Leo Ostigard.

Heading into the final twenty minutes and the game remained goalless, with no opening in sight. 

Birmingham were keen to change this however, as a poor clearance fell into the path of San Jose and his driven strike was met by Marosi, spilled, and collected once again. 

A third change of the game, as Coventry's Ryan Giles was brought on for Fankaty Dabo.

Eighty minutes in and Jutkiewicz had his second chance of the game, as another deep cross, this time by Maxime Colin, to the back post was met by the head of the target man, but his knocked down attempt was brilliantly pushed onto the crossbar by Marosi and scrambled clear by a desperate Coventry defence- finally a chance in this second half.

Jutkiewicz would be left frustrated that he had not found the back of the net yet, but Coventry had conceded the most amount of goals in the last fifteen minutes of a game in the Championship, a lifeline maybe?

But once again, Jutkiewicz found space in the box between the two defenders, and the cross from Sanchez was met by the outstretched leg of the forward, but he scuffed his attempt and once again missed the chance to break the deadlock. 

Birmingham's late pressure continued without reward, as Bela's free-kick was frantically cleared, despite Jutkiewicz and Marc Roberts threatening Walker.

Four minutes of additional stoppage time at the end of the game, as the two sides would hunt for a late winner at St. Andrews.

Following an uneventful end to the second half, Birmingham City were held to a stalemate by Coventry City in a game which won't be remembered any time soon.

  • Takeaways

A rather dull and gnawing game at St. Andrews, as both teams were unable to break each other down despite some huge Lukas Jutkiewicz chances. 

Despite Birmingham technically being the away side here, the game was played on their front, especially in the second half, often maintaining the ball and holding it between the defence and the midfield just holding onto possession and being tidy with the ball. Other than a few audacious Liam Kelly long ball's there was very little creativity or risk throughout the game, which was a surprise with the players on show. Gustavo Hamer, Callum O'Hare and Jeremie Bela were kept quiet throughout the match, which explains the lack of opportunities, but needed to do more for their sides if they wanted to take all three points.

Jutkiewicz will be ruing his missed chances, having squandered three opportunities right in front of goal and will place the blame on himself- he shouldn't. For a striker to have three chances throughout the game is very disappointing, the midfield needed to supply more chances to Jutkiewicz and especially with the ball at his feet, as he has one of the best shot's in the entire league.

Nevertheless, both sides will undoubtedly be pleased with the clean sheet, as that was Coventry's first of the season and Birmingham's second in their last ten games, it shows any defensive work has paid off on the training ground- although Coventry may have Marko Marosi to thank for that.

Mark Robins change in tactic proved handy, as they looked more structured and disciplined along the back line, it now just falls upon the attacking outfit's within the squad to start pulling their weight by creating the chances. Tyler Walker received Sky Sports Man of the Match, and looked very capable in front of goal, it was just a lack of chances for the former Nottingham Forest prodigy.

  • Stand-out players

Tyler Walker looked hungry up top and eager to grasp his third goal of the season, chasing every loose ball and consistently losing his man. Liam Kelly in the midfield often searched for Walker up top with a few lofted balls, showing the understanding between the duo which is crucial in a team who will be hoping to steer clear of relegation. He also did extremely well with his only real chance of the game, when he tested Etheridge with his chin by reading the play well.

Meanwhile for Birmingham, George Friend had a very good game from left-back, pushing forward but also keeping Hamer quiet on that right wing, which was his role for the game. Mikel San Jose also had a very promising game in the midfield, having a good chance in the second half with his skidded volley challenging Marosi in the Coventry goal. 

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