Coventry City shocked visitors Brentford at St Andrews Trillion Trophy Stadium in the early kick off on Saturday with a win which alleviates the pressure on them and piles it on the Bees.
Two goals from Tyler Walker were enough to finish off Brentford, who conceded their third defeat in as many games.
It's Mark Robins side's first win since victory against Sheffield Wednesday in January.
Story of the game
The game burst into life almost immediately. Despite Coventry City having kick off, the first chance of the day fell to Brentford inside the first minute. A quick break from Sergi Canos and his attempted pass was deflected into the path of Bryan Mbuemo. Dominic Hyam was able to get across and divert the ball behind. The resulting corner got even closer; Mbuemo crossed the ball in and the flick on at the near post looked goal bound before it was cleared off the line by Kyle McFadzean.
Coventry hit back with just five minutes gone. A long ball over the top was met by Maxime Biamou and guided into the path of Callum O’Hare. The ex-Aston Villa took a touch before unleashing a venomous strike from 25 yards, which was met by David Raya.
Coventry controlled much of the possession for the first 15 minutes, but struggled to create any real chances of note. Both sides were guilty of conceding possession cheaply in the opening stages.
With 18 minutes gone, Coventry City sparked into life. A poorly dealt with long ball from Ben Wilson found Gustavo Hamer, who was able to lay it through to Biamou. The Frenchman struck a strong volley at goal, which was well dealt with by Raya. The Sky Blues number nine then chased the rebound and was fouled in the area by Rico Henry. The linesman flagged for the penalty immediately and the referee agreed, awarding City a penalty. Tyler Walker was the man who stepped up and he placed it low and below Raya, who went the right way.
Brentford had the chance to hit back just two minutes later. A cheap free kick conceded 35 yards from Ben Wilson’s goal was cleverly chipped over the defence and onto the head of Mathias Jensen. The header was weak and Wilson was able to gather easily.
Brentford kept their foot on the gas and looked dangerous down the left wing. Henry was looking to make amends for conceding a penalty and managed to find Mbuemo, who’s header was deflected behind.
Sam McCallum missed out in midweek against his parent club Norwich City, but was back and looking dangerous against the inexperienced Mas Roerslev. He skipped past him with ease and his cutback was straight to goalscorer Walker, but the former Nottingham Forest man could not connect with the goal gaping. Julien Dacosta was able to recycle the ball and lay off to Leo Ostigard, but his effort was weak and was deflected behind.
The resulting corner drew possibly the save of the season from David Raya. A deep Hamer corner was headed across goal by Kyle McFadzean and found Callum O’Hare on the edge of the six yard box. His powerful volley looked destined for the roof of the net, but Raya intervened with a fantastic stop.
Captain Liam Kelly had been a huge miss in recent months, and showed his worth with two fantastic blocks in succession as Brentford looked to turn the pressure up on the home side.
Rico Henry was causing problems down the left side, and once again got in behind the Sky Blues defence and was able to play a delicious ball across the penalty area towards Marcus Forss. The Finnish international was unable to get in ahead of Dom Hyam, who was able to guide the ball behind for a corner. The corner was a dangerous one from Mbuemo, but no one gambled on it and it sailed through everyone.
The Sky Blues were almost gifted a chance with six minutes remaining of the half. Some great pressing by the front three of Biamou, Walker and O’Hare led to a loose backpass from Jensen. O’Hare and Raya were neck and neck to reach it, but the Spanish goalkeeper came out on top and was able to clear. Thomas Frank voiced his displeasure with his side, screaming from the touchline at his midfield.
Dom Hyam found himself the recipient of the first yellow card of the game just before half time after preventing a quick break through the midfield. It was Brentford who finished the half stronger of the two sides; a whipped corner from Jensen was met by Ethan Pinnock, who couldn’t make clear connection and could only watch his header sail over the bar.
No changes for either side at half time (although there was a change of jersey for referee Stephen Martin), and the Coventry pressure continued. Almost straight away, Callum O’Hare drove forward at a retreating Bees backline, but his final ball to McCallum was just too short and Roerslev was able to deal with it.
Gus Hamer has impressed all season and looked to add to his impressive goal tally just moments later. He picked out O’Hare on the edge of the area and continued his run, and the return ball was dummied by Walker and found the Dutchman. He burst into the area, but his low drive was the wrong side of the near post.
The away side started the second period slowly but had their first opportunity after seven minutes of the restart. A ball in from Roerslev towards Rico Henry was headed away by Ostigard, but only to an advanced Canos. He lobbed the ball towards the back post, but Ben Wilson was able to gather.
The next chance was from a free kick won up the field by Julien Dacosta. Hamer whipped in a fantastic ball, but it evaded everyone. McFadzean will be disappointed to have missed it from point blank range.
Coventry managed to double their lead regardless from the goal kick. A poor pass from Raya, who had arguably kept his side in it at half time, was intercepted by Callum O’Hare. He sprung into life, feeding the ball through to Tyler Walker, who’s shot on the turn found the bottom corner.
Brentford were rattled. Another poor ball out from the back was stolen by O’Hare again, but his second touch ran away from him and he was unable to get a shot away.
Thomas Frank decided on a triple substitution after just 12 minutes of the second half. Josh Dasilva and Tariqe Fosu, who missed out on a starting berth, were introduced with Henrik Dalsgaard. Saman Ghoddos, Bryan Mbuemo and Mas Roerslev we all withdrawn. Just six minutes later, Brentford’s biggest attacking threat Rico Henry pulled up chasing a long ball and had to come off. Liam Kelly, on his first start back from injury, and Max Biamou both departed on the hour mark, with Viktor Gyokeres and Matty James entering the play.
The pitch was becoming Callum O’Hare’s playground in this second half. Brentford just weren’t picking him up and he was causing serious problems for the back four of Brentford. He picked the ball up just outside the area and jinxed past four defenders, but his cutback wasn’t accurate enough to find Hamer.
The changes were helping Brentford in the final third as they moved into the final 20 minutes. A drive from Mathias Jensen was well stopped by Wilson in the City goal, and the rebounded ball in was collected by the man between the sticks for City. Just two minutes later, a teasing ball from Sergi Canos had white shirts queuing up at the back post. It was Dalsgaard who got a touch, but it flashed across goal and wide.
The final 20 minutes ticked by without any clear cut chances for either side. Coventry substitute Amadou Bakayoko was unfortunate to see a shot on goal charged down after a swift City break, whilst Brentford’s Josh Dasilva had an effort deflected behind for a corner with three minutes left.
The final whistle sounded and a victorious Coventry City were good value for their win. It's back to London empty handed for Brentford, who have lost three on the bounce for the first time since July.
Takeaways from the match
After a scintillating first half of the season, it finally looked like this was going to be Brentford’s year. The Bees had adjusted to the move from Griffin Park and we 21 unbeaten when Barnsley rocked up and defeated them. Their attempt to get back on winning ways looked to be going well against QPR, but two late goals turned the result on it’s head and condemned Thomas Frank’s side to a second defeat. Today was poor throughout and what stood out was the player’s inability to change the game. Possession was surrendered regularly and they did not look a shadow of the Norwich side that defeated the Sky Blues in midweek. Panic stations for the Bees.
Coventry have found points hard to come by in recent weeks despite impressive displays. Silly mistakes and costly misses have saw the Sky Blues slide dangerously towards the drop zone, but today they managed to claim a valuable three points and looked good value for it. The return of Liam Kelly will be helpful, and summer signing Tyler Walker bagging two will do his and his team mates confidence no end of good. Promising from Mark Robins side.
Man of the Match
The young Norwich loanee has suffered in recent weeks, but marked his return to the action with a fantastic performance. The 20-year old managed to keep Bryan Mbeumo quiet whilst also causing Mas Roerslev no end of problems, especially in the first period. It was no surprise when Thomas Frank withdrew the two before the hour mark.
Coventry City XI: Wilson; Dacosta (Pask, 78’), Ostigard, McFadzean, Hyam, McCallum; Hamer (Sheaf, 71’), Kelly (James, 60’), O’Hare; Biamou (Gyokeres, 60’), Walker (Bakayoko, 78’)
Subs not used: Marosi, Rose, Allen, Shipley
Brentford XI: Raya; Roerslev (Dalsgaard, 57’), Pinnock, Bech Sorensen, Henry (Reid, 63’); Janelt, Jensen, Ghoddos (Dasilva, 57’); Canos, Mbuemo (Fosu, 57’), Forss
Subs not used: Daniels, Zamburek, Pressley, Gilbert, Bidstrup
Coventry now face a tough trip to Swansea City full of confidence. Their hosts, who find themselves in the play-off positions, face an out of sorts Huddersfield Town later today. Mark Robins side should have beaten the Welsh side in the reverse fixture and will be hoping to continue from today.
For Brentford, it’s Sheffield Wednesday visiting the Brentford Community Stadium as they look to stop the rot and put a bit of distance between themselves and the chasing pack.