The first game after a break always seems to be a little slow to get going. Especially as both teams have players who were selected for international duty or missing key players, meaning some second-choice players. Blackburn has Brerton on the bench and Coventry were missing Maatsen and Clarke-Salter.
Both teams struggled to get anything going early on, as you see a counterattack from Blackburn that shows the almost identical line-ups. Longer, more direct play early on forced Coventry to organize against that threat with Gallagher and Dolan pinning Coventry deeper. It also pins Dabo and Kane into a back 5.
Once Blackburn established more positional control of the game, Buckley began to take over. Here you can see Blackburn in control. Moving the ball through midfield and looking for Nyambe down the right beyond Kane. Fortunately, Nyambe has never scored, but he was a constant threat down the Coventry left.
In an almost identical moment, Blackburn move the ball with Edun down their left. A quick switch to an open Buckley breaks the press of City, but it also exposes Kane between pressing the ball and tracking Nyambe.
Buckley was a constant threat, to the point that Coventry pressed quicker on him. It eventually lead to frustration and a soft yellow that seemed to take him out of the game, but it made way for Rothwell to shine.
Rothwell really found his feet in the game with his run and goal. He picked up the loose ball and combined with Gallagher to break the press of 6 Coventry defenders. His run and dink over Moore were the quality that the game lacked early on.
For the second goal, Sheaf's attempted layoff is jumped on and Rothwell lays the ball into Gallagher to put it away. Coventry had spread to build an attack with both Kane and Dabo high and wide, leaving the CB's exposed and split. The poor pass was a result of the pressure from Rothwell, but also from a poor decision by Rose to play into the pressure.
The goals for Blackburn came from movement off and ahead of the ball. Compare those goals to the chances that Coventry created. With just two shots on target, one from Sheaf and the other from Walker, Coventry were clearly struggling to affect Blackburn. See the image with Kelly, below. Coventry have just won the ball, but with Blackburn looking threatening each time they attack down the City left, players are out of position and unable to build an attack. Instead it becomes a quick counter and is a large part of the reason why Coventry lost the ball 14 times in the first half.
It could have ended up like the Luton game. Especially as City were away from home and we all know how that record looks.
However, into the second half, Robins made a simple switch that seemed to make a lot of difference. Having Dabo and Kane switch sides meant that Edun, who was not a forward threat like Nyambe would be occupied by Kane and Nyambe would face up with Dabo.
From the start of the second half until the second City goal, Coventry had 75% of possession.
As Blackburn tailed off in attack Coventry began to get more control for b building out. Sheaf, whilst partly at fault for the goal, began to give Coventry more control of the ball and connect the lines, before being withdrawn just after the first goal.
Here Sheaf has received the ball on the right, cut inside and connected with Rose. As Kelly covers, Sheaf is able to push forward and break the pressing line of Blackburn. He then instantly connects wide with Dabo and Coventry are off on the attack.
The sub, of Hamer for Sheaf, is a compliment to the work that Sheaf performed. His control of the game helped the Coventry line push up, allowing wingback more freedom to attack and more turnovers from Blackburn. Hamer was then able to play in the space created.
Before Hamer's entry, Coventry struggled to create clear-cut openings. The goal came from counter-pressing after Coventry force the ball centrally. Gallagher lays the ball off under pressure and O'Hare immediately releases Kane down the right. His cross is jumped on by Walker and Coventry has life at 2-1.
The second goal. Just follow the pink arrows in the image to see the importance of Gyokeres with the ball at his feet. In dribbling and holding off pressure, Kelly can move forward to receive the ball and fire the shot, on purpose, off of the post and on to the back of Kaminski.
A special mention for McFadzean. So consistent, but so reliable this season. On 66 Rose makes a mistake, allowing Gallagher to run at the City goal, but McFadzean's positioning and experience show as he simply cuts off the ball and helps Coventry break the pressure. Coventry score two minutes later.
Robins said he had to be happy with the point, and I think it should be celebrated given the Luton result after conceding 'soft' goals and we all know how that ended up. Coventry showed resiliency and got back into the game well versus Blackburn, and a point away from home is always welcomed.
Stats from whoscored.com