The Sky Blues made the journey south on Saturday to face a Colchester side who had been struggling to pick up results of late. With the absence of leading scorer Adam Armstrong from the Coventry ranks, a significant number of away supporters were worried that goals would be hard to come by.
It turned out to be a very enjoyable afternoon, however, for the travelling fans. Tony Mowbray’s side put in an efficient display to ensure the Midlands outfit left a very wet Weston Homes Community Stadium with a very valuable victory.
City did go 1-0 down on 17 minutes as some poor defending allowed George Moncur to skip across the centre of the park. He then played a ball out wide to Callum Harriott who swiftly crossed in to a dangerous area, Macauley Bonne was on hand to tap home from six yards following some confusion at the back for Coventry.
With 31 minutes on the clock, the Sky Blues pulled it back level against the run of play. Rubén Lameiras found Marc-Antione Fortune out wide, the striker’s cross then reached Jacob Murphy and the winger made no mistakes with the finish that flew in to the bottom corner.
The away side continued to press and they looked rejuvenated after scoring, and this was exemplified when they took the lead on 39 minutes. A quickly taken free-kick found Jim O’Brien and he played a forward ball to Murphy, he then rounded Jamie Jones with some brilliant footwork which allowed him to slot the ball away with the Colchester defence static.
The lead was extended to 3-1 early into the second half and this killed the game completely. Some excellent build-up saw City manoeuvre the ball in to a dangerous area, Fortune then played an initial pass out wide to Lameiras. The Portuguese midfielder then took aim and the goalkeeper spilled the ball in to Fortune’s path and the striker made no mistakes from close range.
Colchester did attempt to make waves for the remainder of the half, but Mowbray’s side were organised to quell any danger. A few opportunities were passed by from The U’s and they only forced Reice Charles-Cook in to a couple of fairly routine stops.
Ryan Haynes did almost stretch Coventry’s lead further on 86 minutes with a curling effort, but it fell just the wrong side of the post with Jamie Jones at full stretch. The referee’s final whistle was blown soon after to signal victory for the Sky Blues and defeat for Tony Humes’ Colchester.
With Walsall and Burton Albion both without fixtures, this game was a real chance for us to push further towards the top of the table. After conceding an early goal from some very poor defending and nearly going two goals down when Sordell hit the post, it didn’t look like it was going to be a good day in the away end.
We never really got going until our first goal, but after we did make the breakthrough we progressed and made fairly light work of things. Admittedly, the second of our goals came from a gift by the U’s defence, but it came after an improved spell and it was thoroughly deserved. I’m not taking anything away from Murphy either, the way he took his second was exceptional.
At the break I was saying that we needed an early second half goal, and once we got it I was delighted. The two-goal deficit gave us some breathing space and it made for a more comfortable affair on our part. If I’m honest, I was dissapointed with the Colchester attack considering their goal scoring capabilities but we defended against them admirably.
Our approach didn’t make for an exciting second 45 minutes, but who cares when it’s effective and it gets you the full amount of points? We compromised and gave up some possession to maintain our shape, and this tactic worked wonders as the home side didn’t really have a sniff.
In terms of our attacking threat too, we looked far more dangerous than we have done in previous games where Armstrong has been away. Fortune put in a good shift and he was unplayable, bringing players around him into play. The midfield marshalled the game competently too and they certainly improved as the game went on after a shaky start.
It was another superb following from our supporters and it was a trip made worthwile as we moved to joint top of League One. We needed to pick up our performance after last weekend’s drab display and we certainly did that. Roll on next weekend as we face Gillingham in a top of the table clash.
Reice Charles-Cook – 7
Chris Stokes – 7
Aaron Martin – 7
Sam Ricketts – 8
Aaron Phillips – 8
John Fleck – 7
Romain Vincelot – 7
Jacob Murphy – 8
Jim O’Brien – 9
Rubén Lameiras – 7
Marc-Antione Fortune – 9
Marcus Tudgay – 6
Ryan Haynes – 6
Conor Thomas – N/A
Coventry City: Charles-Cook (GK), Phillips, Ricketts, Martin, Stokes, Vincelot, Fleck, Lameiras (Haynes 74), Murphy, O’Brien (Thomas 77), Fortune (Tudgay 69).
Unused Substitutes: Burge (GK), Di. Kelly-Evans, Sambou, Elford-Alliyu.
Colchester United: Jones, Edwards, Kent, Eastman (Elokobi 51), Briggs; Gilbey, Lapslie (Massey 69); Harriott, Moncur, Bonne; Sordell
Unused Substitutes: Parish, Olufemi, Curtis, Sembie-Ferris, Porter