The Warmdown: Late McFadzean goal secures victory against Nottingham Forest
Kyle McFadzean of Coventry City celebrates scoring the winning goal in injury time during the Sky Bet Championship match between Coventry City and Nottingham Forest at Ricoh Arena on August 8, 2021 in Coventry, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Coventry City captain Kyle McFadzean bagged a 96th-minute winner against Nottingham Forest to condemn the Reds to a third consecutive opening day defeat.

Chris Hughton and his side will feel they deserved at least a point from the encounter, after a good first-half showing. Brilliant work from youngster Brennan Johnson saw him tee up striker Lyle Taylor for an easy finish to give the Reds a half time the lead at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

Forest dominated for large parts of the first half, but the tables turned in the second 45. 

Great work on the right-hand side from Callum O'Hare saw him fire into a crowd of bodies before the ball eventually fell to Viktor Gyokeres who fired home into the roof of the net past the helpless Brice Samba

The game looked like it was going to end all square until a late free-kick caused panic in the Forest 18-yard box and Samba pulled off a good save but the ball landed at the feet of McFadzean whose effort squirmed past the Reds keeper to secure a 2-1 victory for Mark Robins and his side. 

Here is our warmdown of the game, where we go over the key talking points.

Forest need defensive reinforcements 

Hughton and his side were already dealt a blow before a ball had even been kicked. Sought after centre back Joe Worrall was ruled out of the game after picking up a calf injury in training. This allowed for former Paris Saint Germain defender Loic Mbe Soh to play in his natural position after featuring at left-back throughout pre-season. The 20-year-old had a very solid first 40 minutes until a muscle injury saw him be replaced by Tobias Figueiredo

The injuries to the pair now leave Forest with just two recognised first-team central defenders.

Tyler Blackett departed the club in midweek to join MLS side FC Cincinnati, leaving the Trentside club with just one left-back. Gaetan Bong, who was told he could leave at the end of last season, started the game against Coventry but struggled for large parts. A combination of the 33-year-old and Jack Colback couldn't stop the run of O'Hare who dribbled past the pair with ease to help draw the game level. 

Bong was often caught out in and out of possession which left the backline outnumbered and out of shape. If Forest are to mount a promotion push this season, Hughton must address the full-back situation as soon as possible. 

However, the opposite full-back produced a steady performance. Jordan Gabriel has been linked with a move to Blackpool in recent weeks but started on Sunday afternoon. The 22-year-old was rarely caught out and did offer an option down the right on the overlap. 

Despite this, Hughton will need to strengthen in this department even if Gabriel decides to stay put. Carl Jenkinson is the only other recognised right-back in the Forest ranks, but he too has been made available for transfer.

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Brennan Johnson will go right to the top

In what was just his third Forest Championship start, Johnson, showcased why many Premier League sides are interested in signing the 20-year-old. 

Playing in the number 10 role behind Taylor, he was able to get on the ball and drive through the Sky Blues midfield and this was evident in him getting the assist for the opening goal. 

His quick feet and good awareness allowed him to win multiple free-kicks in dangerous areas for the Reds, bringing that creativity that they have missed greatly over the last 12 months. 

Despite the result, his Man of the Match performance can give Forest fans a reason to be hopeful for this campaign. He will be a crucial part of the squad this season and offers the club a new dimension in the final third.

It is no secret that more bids will come in for Johnson between now and the end of the transfer window, but if Forest are to succeed this season, it is pivotal the club keep hold of him.

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Coventry know how to grind out results

Mark Robins admitted himself in his post-match press conference that his side were poor in the first half and that his side "showed real guts" to turn the game around. 

The Sky Blues rarely threatened the Reds goal throughout the first 45 minutes, but the tables turned in the second period. They kept Hughton's side pinned in their own half for the last 15 minutes, which subsequently produced the two goals from Gyokeres and McFadzean to secure all three points. 

The home side showed more grit and determination throughout the game, which forced Forest to fold allowing for the turnaround to be complete. 

Robins will take a lot of credit for his ruthlessness too. Julien Da Costa had a poor first half and was subsequently replaced by Michael Rose which brought more stability to an unsettle backline from the first period.

High praise must also go to O'Hare once again, as he created the first goal and also won the free-kick that led to the winning goal. 

Despite the performance of the 23-year-old, it must be said the whole squad deserve praise for their resilience to turn the game completely on its head and wrap up a good outing on their return to the once called Ricoh Arena.

Off of this first showing in the new campaign, it is clear that Coventry should survive pretty comfortable and push on to be a strong mid-table outfit this season. 

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Highlights from the game can be seen below: 

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