Simms’ late equaliser helps Coventry extend unbeaten run to 10 games

30 January 2024 0 By Total Football News

Ellis Simms scored a late equaliser but Coventry’s three-match winning run came to an end with a 2-2 draw against Bristol City.

Tatsuhiro Sakamoto’s seventh goal of the season put the Sky Blues ahead with a rare foray forward in the first half before Rob Dickie equalised on the stroke of half-time.

Nahki Wells put the Robins ahead for the first time with a smart finish with seven minutes remaining but Simms was on hand to tap home an equaliser just two minutes later.

The visitors were without a win in four Championship outings but started the evening on the front foot when Jason Knight tested Brad Collins from distance inside the opening minutes.

Taylor Gardner-Hickman made his loan move from West Brom a permanent one earlier this month and Collins was forced into action once again to beat the midfielder’s swerving long-range effort to safety.

Coventry had barely threatened the Robins’ goal in the opening half an hour but when Sakamoto took the ball down inside the box and created an angle to squeeze his shot into the far corner, the Sky Blues had an unlikely lead.

It was a first half Bristol City had at the very least deserved to end on level terms and they did so through Dickie, who glanced a header in off the far post after a wicked ball in from Gardner-Hickman.

It was the second time this season the defender had scored against the Sky Blues after the former QPR man netted the winner against Mark Robins’ men back in October.

Both Coventry and Bristol City face replays if they are to progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup, and both sides cancelled each other out during a quiet start to the second half.

A potential tie with Maidstone awaits Coventry if they beat Sheffield Wednesday, whilst Bristol City could host Manchester United if they beat Nottingham Forest.

Callum O’Hare flashed a shot wide for the Sky Blues before substitute Ross McCrorie blazed his effort over at the other end, while Dickie was inches away from poking the visitors ahead with 15 minutes to go.

Wells thought he had given Bristol City a fifth away win of the season when he latched onto a loose ball in the box and fired home his first goal since September.

But the hosts were back level when Max O’Leary spilled Liam Kitching’s piledriver into the path of Simms, who tapped home an immediate leveller.

Simms could have snatched all three points for Coventry after Milan van Ewijk’s tantalising cross flashed across the face of goal.

There was still a chance for Liam Manning’s men to earn all three points, but Collins’ smart reaction save preserved Coventry’s 10-match unbeaten run in the league as he denied Harry Cornick.

The managers

Coventry’s Mark Robins:

“Look, we dipped below the standards we have set. It looked like we had played two games on a real heavy pitch last week (at Hillsborough).

“They’ve got a lot of quality in the team. We didn’t show our quality enough.

“Our two goals were decent goals. Their two goals were really poor – a second phase of a set-play and a shot from Nahki Wells, who is a really good finisher but we gave him a little bit too much time and space.

“We were our own worst enemy. We gave away the ball too often and it was a bit negative.

“I’ve got to be happy with a point. Brad’s save at the end was world-class. It keeps us in there at 2-2. If you can’t win, then don’t lose. That was the best I can say about things.

“I thought Tatsuhiro did really well, scored a really good goal and there were little glimpses at times when it looked like we might go and do something but there was no fluidity there.

“You’ve got to credit them in some respects with the way they went about their work. It has got to be a point gained.”

Bristol City’s Liam Manning:

“I think it’s two points lost with the time we go ahead. It was against the run of play because we had stopped controlling the game how we want, Nahki produced a real high moment of quality to go ahead and then obviously when you’ve got eight, nine, 10 minutes to see out the game.

“We’d done such a good job of that beforehand, restricting them to crosses and very few chances, you get that emotional rollercoaster of conceding so soon after.

“But you also have to step back and the bigger picture is we’ve come to a side who are in form, on a good run themselves, and I thought we created numerous opportunities to hurt them, cause problems and did some really good things.

“Their goal in the first half was against the run of play – I thought we conceded two really soft goals tonight, I thought first 15 minutes we could have been one or two ahead and got into some really good areas.

“I spoke to the lads about it, we’ve got to stop being ‘nearly’ and deliver and execute, for me that ruthless edge, (we’re) letting teams off the hook.”

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