Fleetwood Town leave the Ricoh Arena a frustrated side as they lost out to fellow play-off hopefuls Coventry City 2-1 on Tuesday night despite dominating the ma
Joey Barton’s side go back to the Fylde Coast wondering how they didn’t pick up all three points after having chance after chance against Mark Robins’ Coventry City. Amadou Bakayoko gave the home side the lead with a bit of lucky after closing down Alex Cairns on a back pass.
Ched Evans’ header from two-yards out after Paddy Madden’s strike at goal made it 1-1 just before the half-time interval, making it 14 goals for the season at Fleetwood for the Sheffield United loanee.
But it was former Town player Jordy Hiwula who scored the winner just before half-time, and with the Cod Army dominating in the second half, they will be wondering how it stayed 2-1.
Despite the result, it was the away side had the first chance of the match from a corner on the right hand side. Ross Wallace whipped in a dangerous ball towards the back post, it found Wes Burns, but the Welshman failed to hit the target with his header.
Ashley Nadesan was having joy down the right wing and managed to find Madden unmarked at the far post. The Irishman had time to head the ball on target, and it did trouble Burge, who had to scamper across to save it.
Moments later it was Coventry who took the lead, despite Town’s good start to the game. You have to say it was fortunate as Coyle passed the ball back to his keeper and with Bakayoko closing the ball down, he managed to get a touch on Cairns’ clearance and send the ball towards goal, and slowly over the line.
Barton’s side reacted well to going a goal behind and it was captain on the night, Evans who rose the highest from Nadesan’s cross. It looked goal bound, but it somehow skimmed the crossbar and went over for a goal-kick.
Nadesan – just like earlier in the first half – stole away from the City full-back Brandon Mason after Wallace’s chip over the top, and as he drove into the box, he struck one fierce at the near post, making the keeper parry it away for a corner. It was better from the away side with half-time looming in the West Midlands.
Evans did make their pressure count as he equalised with a close range header just after the half hour mark. The initial corner found an unmarked Madden, whose shot was on goal was deflected onto the crossbar, and Evans was there to grab his 14th goal of the season.
It was another former Fleetwood loanee who gave Mark Robins’ side the narrow 2-1 lead as both teams went down the tunnel. Hiwula drifted inside and out of his defender on the left side and as he entered the box, he pulled the trigger and gave Cairns no chance as it flew into the opposite corner.
As the two teams came out for the second half, the weather got colder but with the action packed first half, surely it would keep the fans warm inside the Ricoh Arena.
And it certainly did as Coventry went forward minutes after the restart with Bakayoko having a one on one with Cairns at his mercy, but with a couple of bad bobbles, his chance to double his tally on the evening went away.
Madden nearly got his goal after another sloppy back pass, this time by Coventry’s centre-half Tom Davies and as he got to the ball before the keeper, he couldn’t weigh his knock past, to get on the end of his touch. A great chance for Fleetwood to get back on level terms.
Evans had an even better chance to do what Bakayoko failed to do after Nadesan nutmegged Bayliss on the edge of the box and slid a lovely through ball into the talisman. This time Burge was on hand to get down and save his effort, keeping his side in the lead midway through the second half.
The introduction of Hunter gave Town a bit more creativity as Barton switched from a 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 formation. This saw Nadesan go right of the four, with Madden now going up top with Evans. Could this move get them back into the match with twenty minutes to go?
With the two up top, it allowed Burns to exploit space down the right wing and with a lovely one two with Coyle, he pulled his cross back to Madden, who scuffed his shot – which you normally see him connect with nine out of ten times. Still time for more opportunities?
Well yes it was! Burns picked up the loose ball from 25-yard-out, and instead of floating it into the penalty arena, he struck the ball sweetly but just over Burge’s crossbar. Hunter - who made an impact - went close twice before the whistle, hitting one just over the bar! it just wasn’t to be our day on the pitch.
A frustrating evening in the West Midlands for Joey Barton and his men, but they will without a doubt take a lot of positives into Saturday’s match to Plymouth Argyle.
Coventry City XI: Burge (GK), Mason (Brown 60’), Davies, Meyer ©, Hiwula, Sterling, Bayliss, Bakayoko, Thomas (Wakefield 74’), Shipley, Willams (Grimmer 82’).
Subs not used: Addai (GK), Ponticelli, Westbrooke.
Fleetwood XI: Cairns (GK), Coyle, Holt, Eastham, Burns, Evans ©, Souttar, Madden, Wallace (Hunter 68’), Nadesan (Rydel 75’), Sheron (Sowerby 46’).
Subs not used: Jones (GK), Husband, Biggins, Baggley.