Rob Dickie gives Bristol City victory against Coventry

By Sports Desk October 21, 2023

Centre-back Rob Dickie was Bristol City’s match-winner in a 1-0 Sky Bet Championship victory over Coventry at Ashton Gate.

Having survived incessant pressure, the home side took the lead in first-half stoppage time when Dickie rose to net with a downward header from Taylor Gardner-Hickman’s free-kick.

Coventry had squandered several chances and were not the same force after the break as their opponents leapfrogged them in the table with a dogged display.

Both managers made four changes, injury-hit Bristol bringing in Haydon Roberts, Andy King, Andreas Weimann and Tommy Conway, with five academy players on the bench, while Coventry named Ben Sheaf, Luis Binks, Milan van Ewijk and Matty Godden in their starting line-up.

The half-time score was completely against the run of play. Cheered on by one of the loudest contingents of travelling fans at Ashton Gate this season, Coventry dominated from the opening whistle without finding a finish to match impressive approach play.

Tatsuhiro Sakamoto had a fourth-minute shot palmed over by Max O’Leary and three minutes later Sheaf clipped the crossbar.

City, with experienced midfielder King operating in the middle of a back-three, looked all over the place as their former player Jay Dasilva revelled in yards of space on Coventry’s left flank.

Sakamoto went close again and Ellis Simms fired narrowly wide before the visitors hit the bar again through Godden’s drive.

A head injury to midfielder Matty James after 20 minutes allowed Bristol time to regroup. He continued swathed in a bandage, but still Coventry piled forward and Godden shot wide after being set up by Simms.

The hosts at last featured as an attacking force after 34 minutes when a crunching tackle by James led to Weimann cutting in from the right to force a diving save from Ben Wilson.

Even so, by the 38th minute City manager Nigel Pearson had seen enough and sent on Jason Knight for youngster Roberts, switching to a back-four, with Mark Sykes dropping to right-back. His team improved, but Dickie’s goal just before the break still came out of the blue.

The hosts looked better-balanced at the start of the second half and Cameron Pring had a 53rd-minute shot blocked. Nine minutes later Knight’s powerful long-range effort was held by Wilson.

Sakamoto fired wide, but Coventry were struggling to re-establish their first-half superiority.

Chances were few and far between after the break, substitute Haji Wright shooting wide of the near post for the Sky Blues after 79 minutes.

The home side were better organised and more tenacious, Sykes nullifying the threat of Dasilva and Dickie producing a goal-saving challenge in injury time to complete what for 45 minutes looked an unlikely success.

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