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Match Report: Coventry City 3 - 1 Leicester City

10-man Foxes bend and then ultimately break at the death

Coventry City v Leicester City - Sky Bet Championship - Coventry Building Society Arena Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images

Recap

10-man Leicester City fell to Coventry City by a score of 3-1 on Saturday morning. The Foxes took the lead late in the first half through a Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall penalty from a Bobby Thomas horror challenge. Minutes later, Abdul Fatawu was sent off for a late challenge, reducing City to 10 men for the entire second half. The Sky Blues scored three late goals via a Callum O’Hare brace on either side of a Milan van Ewijk strike to secure the three points.

In case it wasn’t obvious, the match turned on two huge calls by referee Darren England. I’ve heard them called “controversial” but I’m not convinced they were. I don’t think VAR would have overturned either call. Thomas won the ball but was completely out of control and went in studs-up into the side of Dewsbury-Hall’s knee. There’s no real argument that it wasn’t a penalty. Fatawu’s challenge was far less dangerous in that his feet were on the ground, but he did come in late with a lot of force. It was well into “you’ve seen them given” territory.

“All eleven on a pitch” eh? Good to know.

With that out of the way, it wasn’t much of a game. We were uncharacteristically sloppy in the first half and didn’t create much. We defended well for half an hour and then we didn’t defend well at all for the last fifteen minutes. Hopefully we learn our lessons (don’t make needless, reckless challenges 70 yards from your own goal) and move on.

What was worrying, though, was that both Fatawu and Mavididi were well-shackled from the opening whistle. Life is going to be very difficult if clubs figure out how to neutralise those two. Not that we have to worry about that very specific case for the next three matches as Fatawu miss them through suspension.

The defeat leaves us on 65 points from 27 matches. We remain top of the table and, no matter how results go today, we will have a 10-point lead in the race for automatic promotion at a minimum. Next up, we host Ipswich Town on Monday the 22nd. The following Saturday, we host either Hull City or Birmingham in the 4th round of the FA Cup. Yes, I said “host”; we have a rare home fixture in the Cup.

Lineups

Leicester City: Mads Hermansen, Ricardo Pereira (C), Wout Faes, Jannik Vestergaard, James Justin, Cesare Casadei, Harry Winks, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Abdul Fatawu (red card 45’), Stephy Mavididi (Kasey McAteer 46’), Tom Cannon (Hamza Choudhury 81’)

Coventry City: Bradley Collins, Liam Kitching, Bobby Thomas, Jake Bidwell, Milan van Ewijk, Josh Eccles, Ben Sheaf, Kasey Palmer, Tatsuhiro Sakamoto, Matthew Godden, Callum O’Hare


Key Moments and Notes

1’- As is often the case following a fixture pileup, the teamsheet is as much about who is returning to the bench as it is the starting XI. Dennis Praet and Kasey McAteer are available as substitutes today as they return from long-term injuries.

5’- Close! The Foxes have been a little sloppy in the early going, and it’s the hosts who have the first chance. It’s a good one, too, as Sakamoto skins Justin and bears down on Hermansen’s goal. The shot is going to find the inside of the near post, but the Danish keeper makes a fine save to turn it out for a corner.

12’- Hermansen is wearing a brimmed cap today and you can see why. The little patch of sunlight in front of his goal is so bright that the video feed is struggling with the contrast. Every time the ball goes back to the keeper it disappears in a blur of neon green.

19’- To say that either team is on top at this point would overstating the matter. That said, the Sky Blues are probably just edging it at this point.

33’- Close! Dewsbury-Hall hasn’t had much time on the ball, but he gets a chance to run at the Coventry defense and cause some havoc. KDH finds Casadei rushing into the space vacated by Mavididi’s run on the left. The Italian has time to take a touch and line up his shot, but he places it just wide of the far post.

41’- GOAL! KDH attempts to pounce on a loose pass in the Coventry area. Bobby Thomas gets there first but his sliding challenge is a wild one and he goes through the Leicester man’s knee with a high boot. Referee Darren England immediately points to the spot. It’s the right call, but it still seems harsh. Dewsbury-Hall sends the keeper the wrong way and rolls the ball into the net.

45+1’- RED CARD! A sloppy series of passes sees Fatawu dive in recklessly. He gets it all wrong and the referee produces a straight red card. It’s not as filthy a tackle as Thomas’, but he doesn’t get the ball. Again, it’s the right call. What was he thinking?

HALF TIME: Coventry City 0 - 1 Leicester City

46’- Maresca makes one change at the break, introducing Kasey McAteer for Mavididi. I wouldn’t have been shocked to see this move even without the red card.

51’- Close! The Foxes win a free kick in the Coventry half. It’s pumped into the box and deflects off of a Sky Blues defender before falling to Justin on the left side. Unfortunately, his left peg and his shot lacks the pace to beat the keeper.

66’- Wout Faes seems to really enjoy last-ditch defending. His energy level has come way up since the red card and he’s pumping his fist at every clearance. I just realised that both he and Vestergaard were panic buys due to Wesley Fofana’s absence.

Coventry City v Leicester City - Sky Bet Championship - Coventry Building Society Arena
Not the most poorly-aging post I’ve ever made, but it’s on the list.
Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images

74’- Close! Out of nowhere, a Leicester throw finds Cannon on the edge of the Coventry area. He turns and fires and Collins has to be alert to parry it.

79’- GOAL! It all comes from confusion between McAteer and Ricardo on the right. They pick the wrong man to pick up and Coventry are able to get the ball into the area. O’Hare ‘s low drive doesn’t have a lot of pace, but it sneaks in at the far post.

81’- Hamza Choudhury comes on for Cannon. Looks like Maresca’s playing for the draw.

86’- GOAL! Vestergaard is furious at Choudhury for having to concede a corner. It’s an odd routine, as it’s sent deep to the edge of the penalty box. The header back into the mixer is cleared as far as van Ewijk. The defender takes one touch and then bounces a shot into the far corner.

90+4’- GOAL! Well, that’s that. Sheaf is well offside when he chases down a ball over the top, but Faes gets to it first anyway. His clearance only finds O’Hare, who tries to play a one-two but Choudhury deflects the return ball. It’s an unfortunate deflection as it comes to O’Hare who blasts home on the volley.

Coventry City v Leicester City - Sky Bet Championship
This lad’s got big Jack Grealish rizz (and hair). That’s not a compliment.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

FULL TIME Coventry City 3 - 1 Leicester City