Coventry City 0
Bradford City 2 (Jones 51, Hiwula 56)
March 2017 | Sky Bet League One | The Ricoh ArenathSaturday 11
The Bantams recorded another victory to make it three successive Saturday wins with second half goals from Alex Jones and Jordy Hiwula proving enough to get the better of a lowly Coventry City side. The hosts more than held their own in the first half but quick-fire goals early in the second half put Mark Robins’ side to the sword on his first game in charge following Russell Slade’s departure at the end of last week.
Coventry will have been boosted by the appointment of Robins earlier in the week and they started the game on the front foot, almost going ahead after just ten minutes. Charles Vernam’s corner came out to the edge of the box and Ben Stevenson beat Mark Marshall in a challenge before firing a shot narrowly wide of the target.
It certainly looked like it would be the hosts to score first at this stage and they went close again five minutes later. A free kick into the box from a deep position was headed on by Kwame Thomas and Stuart Beavon attempted an audacious overhead kick which went a matter of inches wide of the post.
City’s first chance in the game was probably the best opportunity in a low-key first half. Marshall had a run at Chris Stokes and got the beating of him before crossing into the box where Charlie Wyke saw a header hit the inside of the post; the ball looked like it may have still had a chance of going over the line but Jordan Turnbull was in the right place at the right time to hook the ball clear of danger.
George Thomas saw a shot held onto by Colin Doyle after he had shown good tenacity to get the better of Jordy Hiwula and bring the ball forward from midfield and the last chance of the half was a Bradford one and it came through the hosts' former favourite Romain Vincelot. The Frenchman latched onto Marshall’s pass in additional time at the end of the half, but his first time shot skewed comfortable wide of the target.
City needed a way of putting a Coventry side, clearly low in confidence, under pressure and they did just that with a goal early in the second half. Tony McMahon hadn’t had many dead-ball opportunities in the first half but his corner on this occasion was met plumb on the volley by Alex Jones who smashed the ball into the roof of the net from 6 yards out, to notch his third goal in Bradford City colours.
With barely enough time for the hosts to lick their wounds after going behind, City doubled their advantage. Marshall led the attack and he found Jones in a central position who fed the ball wide to Hiwula unmarked and he kept his cool to beat Lee Burge with a shot which deflected into the bottom corner.
The Bantams did a good job of muting any threat that Coventry may have had in the latter stages especially given the introduction of the lively Jodi Jones, with Rory McArdle and Nathaniel Knight-Percival conjuring up commanding displays in the heart of the defence.
By the time the next chance came around, Coventry looked sapped of confidence and the scoreline was almost made more comfortable in City’s favour through Billy Clarke late on. With five minutes left on the clock, the Irishman who had come on in place of the injured Alex Jones, curled a free kick towards the far corner from an improbable angle and Burge had to tip the ball over the bar.
The win extends the gap between City and Southend United in seventh position to eight points going into Tuesday night’s round of fixtures, with the gap looking the other way towards the top two, now just two points. The amount of league games remaining also down to single figures.