Coventry City moved up to second in League One with a fantastic 3-2 comeback win against Blackpool secured by Callum O’Hare in stoppage time.
Despite the issues of playing at St. Andrew’s, the Sky Blues have coped with the transition well and went into today’s game, against unbeaten Blackpool, having yet to taste defeat, or concede a goal, in the Second City.
However, the latter changed very quickly.
Simon Grayson’s side started with a real purpose and they were rewarded for that after just 71 seconds.
The hosts had dealt with an initial cross that came in but they left Sullay Kaikai unmarked at the back post as Liam Feeney sent in a smart delivery. Whilst it was a fine ball, Kaikai still had a lot to do but he cushioned a finish over Marko Marosi with real class to give Blackpool the lead.
With Jay Spearing patrolling in the middle, and front two Armand Gnanduillet and Joe Nuttall causing Coventry real problems, Grayson’s men were good value for the early goal.
Whilst the lively Wes Jobello had a snapshot for Mark Robins’ side, the better chances were coming the way of the visitors.
Nuttall broke the offside trap before wasting a decent opportunity when he dragged his shot and the very attacking James Husband couldn’t find a striker when an excellent link-up with Kaikai got him in behind.
They didn’t have to wait long for to get their second though.
The powerful Nuttall had too much for debutant Liam Walsh in midfield and he fed his striker partner Gnanduillet who was quickly closed down by Marosi and the ball squirmed free.
He didn’t give up on it though, with the forward finding Feeney who intelligently squared for Kaikai, leaving him with a simple task to tap home.
Even though there was only around 5,500 Coventry fans in the stadium, they made their frustrations heard and it was understandable. Robins’ men had played some neat football, it was by no means one-way traffic, but they lacked that cutting edge at this stage.
The turning point in the match came in the 41st minute, when Sky Blues striker Matty Godden reacted quickly to a bouncing ball from a long diagonal to lash home.
Immediately, the dynamics changed and Coventry seemed to play with more belief and they went in at the break level thanks to Jobello’s excellent finish.
When another ball wasn’t cleared by the Seasiders, Jordy Hiwula set up the summer signing and he smashed home from close range.
It was a first-half played at a frenetic pace, with both sides looking to build from the back and playing some intricate football.
Unfortunately, the pattern changed after the break.
The Tangerines weren’t as aggressive in their pressing, although they still had chances as the adventurous Husband drilled across goal.
As the Coventry midfield began to get more space, Walsh started to show why he is so highly regarded and he began to influence the game for the hosts.
Playing at the base of the three-man midfield, his abilities complemented the energetic Zain Westbrooke and Jordan Shipley who looked to get forward a lot.
Yet, despite the additional control, creating clear chances was a problem, with Hiwula going close but he was denied by sharp goalkeeping from Jak Alnwick.
Centre-back Michael Rose then wasted a half-chance as he headed over from a corner.
O’Hare’s introduction in the 73rd minute gave Blackpool another problem to deal with but it seemed as though they would leave with a point as they defended strongly. But, it wasn’t to be.
The Aston Villa lad has probably dreamt about scoring a last minute winner at the home of bitter rivals Birmingham and that’s exactly what he did, even if he wouldn’t have imagined these circumstances.
Latching on to a ball in the box, he slid in and connected with his left-foot to send the Coventry fans that did make the trip wild.
Substitute Gervane Kastaneer should have sealed the points moments later after wasting a one-on-one with around a minute to play – but it didn’t matter.
Coventry held on and moved into the top two after making it four wins from four in their temporary new home.