Winning 1-0 at halftime in both games.
1 point from a possible 6.
I highlighted that, in the Preston game, the Walker goal right on half-time was a false positive for the performance and it might have affected any potential change that needed to come. In this game, however, Coventry were very much in control - 61% possession. 7 shots with 2 on target compared to Derby with no shots on target and no real threat to mention.
Coventry started off the game contained, with Derby sitting deeper in a 1-4-5-1 - Hyam, McFadzean, and JCS having 20% of the possession. I called for Allen last time out versus Preston for his ability to move ahead of the ball and play between the lines and it looked like Coventry were facing a similar problem here.
Coventry began to find joy behind the defensive line of Derby in transition. There has been praise for the press and organization from Coventry this season and here it lead to the first goal. Hyam breaks up a Derby counter-attack and the ball falls to Dabo. In this moment, Derby are unorganized and Sheaf steps between the lines to receive the ball. He plays it into the path of Godden who is tripped for the penalty and 1-0.
The press continues for Coventry and it should have been 2-0 from here. Hamer steps and tackles Morrison, Maatsen jumps on the ball and his cut-back cross for Godden is tipped away by Roos. Coventry would rue missed chances like this, ultimately.
With the lead being slender, and Coventry having given up the game from the same position, one would expect a resolute second-half performance.
Yet, Coventry looked labored. Gyokeres drops into the Coventry half to pick up a loose pass. Moments later, with pressure from Jozwiak, has driven into the Derby half and is trying to shoot from 30+ yards away. His work rate is something that Sky Blues fans love, but the effort lacked execution in the second half as he lost the ball 4 times in the second half. The most. Now, it's not a slight, not at all. However, it shows how the game changed from controlling possession and probing to shooting from distance and hitting the target just once.
Robins talked about 3 games in one week and Derby having an extra day off, but they stayed with Coventry and pushed as Coventry tired. However, Coventry had 3 subs, but only used two. As Coventry needed security on the ball, Waghorn might have been a good addition given his ability to hold the ball and connect with players around him.
Compare the Coventry changes to the Derby changes. On 69, Kazim-Richards hits the post after a long and direct ball from Jagielka. He has the immediate impact and Coventry look troubled. Note how deep the Coventry line is. The ball was played from inside the Derby half and allowing balls like this invite pressure from strong physical players like Kazim-Richards.
Coventry did have another chance. The freekick was wild from Hamer, coming back from the bar and Godden heading in emphatically. To the point that it was a surprise, and of course, it was. Offside.
The Derby goal came not from Coventry dropping off, but from a mistake that couldn't be cleaned up. This is where the fixture overload shows. Coventry win the ball and counter-attack. As Derby recovers, possession is recycled. For some reason Hyam tried to play a first time pass into Kelly. Coventry have structure and are organized ahead of the ball. Almost in a way we would want. Yet, Hyam's decision exploits this. He has rarely misplaced a pass this season, especially at RCB, so not a criticism, but a display of tiredness.
A week off now to prepare for the road trip to Hull. It's a point, but it could have been 3. Whilst we sit in 4th and 3 points above Luton, there are 7 teams (including Luton) on 21 and a bad weekend could City drop significantly. Are Coventry imposters? I don't think so, but there has to be some tightening up to keep the dream alive.
Stats from whoscored.com