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What Coventry City boss said about reluctant experiment as ‘blistering’ game changer returns

Coventry City match analysis from CoventryLive as Sky Blues reporter Andy Turner discusses some of the big talking points and things learned from the 1-1 CBS Arena draw with Norwich.

Coventry City came from behind from a first-half goal for the first time this season to take just a point from a game in which they looked like they might snatch all three. Certainly, if the Sky Blues had played for another five or 10 minutes they might well have found the finishing touch that had evaded them earlier in the game, such was the late onslaught from Mark Robins’ men who looked revitalised after three changes were made with 20 minutes to go.

Milan van Ewijk was one of those substitutions and he made a significant contribution for the equalising own goal by sending in the cross which was headed past his own keeper by Canaries’ centre-back Ben Gibson to cancel out Jonathan Lowe’s 41st minute strike that put the visitors in front at the CBS Arena.

Here we take a look at some of the big talking points and things we learned from the 1-1 draw with David Wagner’s side.

Mark Robins had resisted calling upon Joel Latibeaudiere to play a holding midfield role for weeks, but finally took the decision to have a look at the summer signing in the position he plays for his country when he went on for the last 20-odd minutes. Circumstances forced his hand due to the fact Ben Sheaf and Liam Kelly are out injured, while Jamie Allen was filling in and understandably began to fade in his third game in eight days, having only recently returned to full fitness from his summer heart issue.

Ellis Simms
Ellis Simms

Although he initially replaced Liam Kitching in the back three, the centre-half pushed forward into the middle of the park minutes later when Luis Binks was introduced to the game in place of Allen at a time when City were pushing for an equalising goal. And the former Swansea player did really well in front of the back three, with his manager admitting: “We have spoken about Joel in that position but I put him on at the left side of the three and then changed that again, a two step change, and he actually did pretty well in there (in midfield). It’s good to see it live against a good side when we were in control and know that he can do that job. So that’s important.”

New partnership assessed

Fans have been debating it for weeks, and Robins finally took the plunge and played Haji Wright and Ellis Simms up front together for the first time. In the previous 10 games it had been a case of playing Matty Godden with one or the other – a dynamic that works because Godden provides excellent movement and so much energy, particularly pressing from the front to force mistakes in the final third, which complements a more physical front man.

The two big lads did OK and were a threat without really hurting Norwich in a combination that clearly needs a bit more work. There was one first-half attack when Wright broke free and was desperately looking to feed Simms, only for the angle of his pass to be blocked by a defender. But it felt like City lacked Godden’s work-rate in the press to stop the opposition playing out from the back, and the striker added a bit of a spark when he went on as one of three changes in the 71st minute.

It’s safe to conclude that the partnership is very much a work-in-progress, but, given the amount City paid for the pair, the manager simply cannot afford not to work on them as front two.

 

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