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LATE GOAL PUNISHES ROVERS AT THE RICOH

25 March 2017

Coventry City 1-0 Bristol Rovers

Attendance: 11,946 (4,069 away)

A late goal from Coventry striker George Thomas ten minutes before the final whistle allowed the home side to take all three points in the fixture at the Ricoh Arena.

Heading into the game, Rovers named three changes to the side that defeated Chesterfield at the Memorial Stadium last Saturday, with Stuart Sinclair, James Clarke and Jonny Burn coming into the starting eleven.

The home side were forced into making one change from the team that beat Port Vale in the week, with Jodi Jones replacing injured striker Kwame Thomas.

After an even opening ten minutes at the Ricoh Arena, Rovers were the first side to create an opportunity on goal, when a quick break from midfield resulted in Rory Gaffney receiving the ball to his feet and the striker held up play well before sliding a pass through to the open Billy Bodin inside the box. The winger took a touch to control the pass and fired towards goal but his effort was pushed around the post by Coventry 'keeper Lee Burge.

Coventry responded by launching a shot on target from a free-kick, as Jodi Jones lined up a powerful strike from twenty-five yards out that was well held by Joe Lumley, who collected the ball at a comfortable height inside the left-hand post. 

A neat exchange of passes between Ollie Clarke and Billy Bodin resulted in Clarke receiving the ball twenty yards out from the Coventry goal. The midfielder poised himself to shoot, but under pressure from a number of Coventry defenders Clarke's shot lacked the power to test Burge.

After Rovers had a number of shots blocked inside the Coventry area, the hosts managed to break through Jodi Jones, who ran with the ball to the fringes of the Rovers area before playing Callum Reilly through on goal, but one-on-one with Lumley, Reilly could only drag his shot wide of the post. 

Both sides had chances to take the lead in the minutes leading up to the half-time break , as Lee Brown fired a free-kick from a dangerous position into the Coventry wall, with the home side creating a chance of their own when Stuart Beavon controlled a bouncing ball inside the Rovers area and managed to angle a shot on target from an awkward position that was gathered on the ground by Joe Lumley. 

During the interval, Rovers made a double substitution, with Byron Moore and Daniel Leadbitter introduced at the expense of James Clarke and Rory Gaffney.

The host were quick to test Joe Lumley during the second half, as a Jodi Jones corner found Stuart Beavon on the edge of the area and the midfielder managed to connect with a first-time strike that was pushed away from a good reaction save by Lumley.

Rovers looked dangerous on the break and created two chances on goal in quick succession as substitute Byron Moore managed to dig out a deep cross from the byline that picked out Ollie Clarke and the midfielder directed a powerful volley towards goal but his effort was acrobatically tipped over the bar by Burge. From the resulting corner, Jonny Burn managed to get on the end of Chris Lines' inswinging delivery, but the defender's header was held by 'keeper Lee Burge. 

A stray pass from the home side midway though the second half was picked up by Billy Bodin, who ran unchallenged towards the Coventry goal but opted for power on his effort which was directed straight into the hands of Lee Burge from just inside the area.

With ten minutes left in the contest, the hosts were able to work the ball through to substitute George Thomas inside the box and the striker managed to lift his finish out of the reach of Joe Lumley and into the far corner of the net to put Coventry ahead.

Inside the final ten minutes the hosts managed to retain possession, with Rovers unable to create a chance to bring the scores level until deep in stoppage time  when Billy Bodin fired a volley well over the crossbar from just inside the area, as the home side held out to record the victory.  

Next Saturday Rovers host Shrewsbury at the Memorial Stadium in SkyBet League One.



Coventry City: Lee Burge (G), Jordan Willis (C) (61' Dion Kelly-Evans), Gael Bigirimana, Nathan Clarke, Jodi Jones (74' Ruben Lamerias), Kyel Reid (85' Chris Stokes), Callum Reilly, Stuart Beavon, Farrend Rawson, Ryan Haynes, George Thomas.

Substitutes: Reice Charles-Cook (G), Jordan Turnbull, Charles Vernam, Ben Stevenson.

Rovers:
 Joe Lumley (G), Lee Brown, Jonny Burn (64' Robert Harris), Tom Lockyer (C), James Clarke (45' Daniel Leadbiiter), Chris Lines, Ollie Clarke, Billy Bodin, Stuart Sinclair, Luke James, Rory Gaffney (45' Byron Moore).

Substitutes: Steve Mildenhall (G), Cristian Montano, Jermaine Easter, Lee Mansell.

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