Milwall 1-2 Coventry City
It's a new year. Sadly, for the optimists', I think it means nothing for getting in shape or starting a new hobby. However, and hopefully, it's the start of a resolution for Coventry. Coventry took control and never really looked like letting go, even in the closing moments when conceding a goal would have likely had shorter odds.
In the opening exchanges, Milwall looked more threatening. Perhaps learning from the slow Coventry start versus Preston, Milwall pressed hard and won the knockdowns they forced.
Pressing hard on Sheaf after a throw from Dabo. The clearance fell to Wallace to attack for Milwall
Milwall pressed Coventry back to Wilson, and then sat back, leaving him to play long predictable balls that were won with knockdowns.
Starting slow has happened in the last two games, but in both games, Coventry has found their stride, and versus Milwall, there were two key moments:
Be hard to beat.
10 players behind the ball early on will help to contain the attack of Milwall, but it also provides passing opportunities to prevent the long ball that Milwall would win. You can see the diamond/2-2 centrally with the 5 behind, and 5 because of the defending moment. The Milwall attack has flipped to a 1-3 with Bennett and Wallace pushing higher, leaving Bradshaw isolated. Milwall couldn't get through the organization of Coventry.
Seconds before this was sloppy possession from both teams, but eventually, the ball cycled through McFadzean, into Sheaf, and then out to McCallum as Milwall scrambled to recover. Importantly, Sheaf supported McCallum, who then found Hamer, and his ball wide found Dabo who cut inside and the cutback cross cut out.
Why did it swing here?
Note the black player lines. The two holding midfielders for Milwall were deep. Bringing 3 of the attacking 4 with them (Milwall played in a 1-4-2-3-1 early on). Therefore, no outlet for Milwall and so even though the ball was won from the cross, it went right back to Coventry.
Be hard to beat, and the chances will come.
With a loss of possession and recognition of the situation, Coventry dropped behind Biamou. In dropping back, the ball is often played in front of you, and Dabo seized the opportunity. He won the ball, and it eventually found Shipley to shoot and play it purposefully off of the post and Cooper for 1-0.