Coventry City continued their impressive 100% home record with a relentless second-half display against Fulham, who missed the chance to go top of the Championship following West Bromwich Albion's loss on Friday evening.
Viktor Gyokeres was on top form against the Cottagers, scoring twice to take his tally to six for the season.
The Sky Blues' emphatic win moves them into third place, leapfrogging the visitors who lie in fifth following the disappointing loss today.
Story of the match
The first real chance of the game fell to the hosts in the 10th minute, some brilliant movement down the left flank from Callum O'Hare carved out just enough space for a lofted ball into the middle. Waiting on the edge of the six-yard box was Kyle McFadzean, who was unable to generate enough power behind his shot to trouble the Fulham backline, who were on hand to block the shot and clear their lines comfortably.
Perhaps a wake up call for the Cottagers, who begun to grow into the game on the 18 minute mark. Antonee Robinson's darting run from left back was Fulham's first threat to Coventry City, who buckled all too easily. The former Wigan Athletic full-back took matters into his hands, searing forward and winning his side their first corner of the afternoon. From the resulting set-piece, the ball was swung into the middle and headed into the bottom left corner by an unfortunate McFadzean, under significant pressure from Fulham's Aleksander Mitrovic leading to the own goal.
With the visitors now in charge of proceedings at the Ricoh Arena, the majority of Coventry City's chances came through slick counter attacks, often resulting in a low driven ball across the face of goal from Chelsea loanee, Ian Maatsen. However, Alfie Mawson, making his first start since December 2019, was regularly on hand to prevent any Sky Blue shirts from meeting the ball in the middle.
With five minutes remaining of the first 45, Fulham's Bobby Decordova-Reid looked to double the visitor's lead with an audacious strike from distance, forcing Simon Moore to parry the ball to his right.
Just moments later, Mark Robins' men looked to equalise late on in the half. An explosive break from the Sky Blues as O'Hare switched play from left to right in a flash, setting up Maatsen in brilliant fashion. However, the young Dutchman's resulting effort was blocked spectacularly by Denis Odoi's last ditch slide, leaving Paulo Gazzaniga with nothing to do.
Despite their first-half misfortunes, Coventry City enjoyed a dream start to the second half. A calamitous mix-up at the back between Gazzaniga and Tim Ream gifted the ball to O'Hare, who selflessly squared the ball to Viktor Gyokeres to roll it into the empty net and level the scores with Coventry's first shot on target.
Things went from bad to worse for Marco Silva's men, as Robinson gifted the hosts the opportunity to go ahead in the 50th minute. A clumsy challenge on Matty Godden inside the penalty box left referee, Gavin Ward, with no option other than to point to the spot. Godden made no mistake, converting from 18 yards, sending Gazzaniga the wrong way and the Ricoh into hysteria.
Maatsen led the charge for Coventry as they looked to double their lead on the hour mark: the Chelsea prospect threaded a long ball across field to his full-back counterpart, Fankaty Dabo, who sent it back towards the penalty spot. The ball bounced around and fell to the feet of Maatsen again, this time on the edge of the box. The youngster killed it with one touch before rifling home into the top right corner, leaving Gazzaniga with absolutely no chance. Mark Robins was visibly delighted by his team's turnaround, and Coventry showed no signs of letting up yet.
Shortly after, Viktor Gyokeres added his sixth goal of the season on the 69th minute mark to round off the scoring. Godden delivered an inch-perfect ball, leaving Ream and Odoi helpless, and the former Brighton & Hove Albion striker made no mistake, bringing the ball under control and rolling it past the oncoming Fulham keeper who could only watch as the ball trickled into the bottom right corner to extend the hosts' lead to three and signal game over.
Takeaways from the match
Coventry City mean business this season
Coventry looked a real force against Fulham, and this was no fluke. Mark Robins has an incredibly talented bunch of players at his disposal, from Callum O'Hare to Viktor Gyokeres, to Ian Maatsen; this is a side capable of beating any team in the Championship on their day, as proven by their dismantling of Premier League hopefuls, Fulham, today.
The Sky Blues have now won all six of their home games since returning home for the first time this season. The Ricoh Arena has become somewhat of a fortress for Robins’ men and if they continue to pick up points at this rate, they will surely be looking at a top six finish come May 2022.
Player of the match
Viktor Gyokeres was undoubtedly the stand-out player at the Ricoh Arena today with two fabulous goals to send Coventry on their way to three points.
The Swede was dominant in every department against Fulham, leaving Ream, Mawson and Odoi helpless on many occasions. His first finish was admittedly a rather simple one, however, the second was an example of his sheer technical ability - to bring the ball down and roll it home with such composure showcased exactly what he is capable of and how clinical he can be for Coventry.