For 3 games in a row Coventry took a 1-0 lead into halftime, but this time they 'held' on to it.
In the opening exchanges, Coventry were comfortably stronger. Before the goal, they had 70% of possession with the majority of that coming from the back into midfield.
With an unchanged team, the direct style of play for Coventry continued. The structure, in possession, has been key to the success this season and here you can see the organization behind the ball as it goes into Maatsen. Whatever central midfield combination, they are always on the same line, and the attacking pair can play in the space that O'Hare creates.
There is a lot going on in this image, but it explains the dominance for Coventry.
In a repeat moment for the goal, Godden checks for the ball. The possession and fluidity that Coventry displayed early on had Hull all over the place. The orange line connects the Hull defensive line. Ss Emmanuel and Bernard press, Coventry exploit the space they have left and Gyokeres takes off. He is tackled and the cross from Maatsen finds a stooping Godden and it's 1-0.
Hull really struggled to capitalize on opportunities when they did win the ball. Though Coventry started well, after 20 minutes, the game leveled out with both teams completing less than 80% of passes and only 3 soft shots on target from 10 between the two. Here Sheaf and O'Hare lose the ball centrally, but O'Hare is able to easily win the ball back after a Hull misplaced pass and poor shape to attack.
Moncur pushed forward a lot in this game, meaning Hull rarely had a short outlet on the left side, as you see above. Instead, Hull attacked down the right (42%). Moncur wins the ball centrally at this moment and throws his arm up as the only outlet is Emmanuel, with Elder still deep. Lewis-Potter was an excellent outlet for Hull with twice as many touches as his strike partner, Eaves.
In an almost identical moment to the opening attacks from Coventry, it could have been 2-0 to Coventry. After a Hull cross is cleared, Coventry counter-attack with a through ball for Gyokeres. Robins mentioned that he looks almost back to his best and true to his form, he carried the ball between Emmanuel and Bernard before seeing his curling effort pushed away by Ingram.
As the game limped into halftime, Coventry had 4 successive corners, but not a chance on goal. In the Stoke game, at Stoke last season, Coventry had gotten creative to fashion chances from setpieces, and it might be time to explore that again as the whips from Hamer and Maatsen fall short.
In the second half, Hull made two tactical changes. Taking off Smallwood meant Hull could play 3 in the back and push Elder and Emmanuel forward. Right from kick-off, you can see it.
The new shape for Hull pinned Dabo and Maatsen deeper as the Coventry attack stalled somewhat. A flash chance from Gyokeres that went wide was as close to a shot on target, let alone a goal that Coventry got. Here you see both Emmanuel and Elder pushing forward and giving Hull more room to play. However, the Coventry defense were firm and organized with few clear-cut chances coming from open play.
A lot of credit should be given to Hull. Whilst they lacked the quality to hurt Coventry, they adapted to a sloppy start and took it to Coventry in the second half. Coventry were shaky, as expected given the second-half performances in the last two games, but 'held' on. There are concerns around the manner of holding on, but 3 points away from home and breaking the streak of giving up 1-0 games lately is a huge positive, and winning games like this make the difference in confidence and point tallies.
Stats from whoscored.com