Hull deal blow to Coventry’s Championship play-off hopes with first-half double

Coventry City v Hull City – Sky Bet Championship – Coventry Building Society Arena
(Image credit: Bradley Collyer)

Hull handed Coventry’s Sky Bet Championship play-off hopes a major blow with a 2-0 win at the CBS Arena.

Richie Smallwood set the Tigers on the way inside four minutes before Ryan Longman fired in his fourth league goal of the season to make it five away games without defeat for Shota Arveladze’s men.

The Georgian named just one change to his side as Regan Slater replaced Greg Docherty, whilst the Sky Blues were forced into a makeshift back three as a result of injuries to Kyle McFadzean and Michael Rose.

Ben Sheaf and Dom Hyam came into the Coventry back three, who were still without Mark Robins and Adi Viveash following positive Covid tests on Saturday morning.

Dennis Lawrence, who took charge of the 4-1 win against Sheffield United at the weekend, and goalkeeping coach Aled Williams also tested positive before the game, leaving under-23s head coach Luke Tisdale in charge.

The Tigers were ahead with their first attack of the match when George Honeyman’s reverse pass allowed Smallwood to fire his shot straight at Sky Blues stopper Simon Moore, but his effort squirmed under the 31-year-old as Smallwood claimed his second of the season.

Coventry reacted well to going a goal behind and Gustavo Hamer’s cross-come-shot forced Hull keeper Matt Ingram into a full-length dive to prevent the Brazilian’s effort finding the top corner.

Matt Godden saw his effort blocked before Sheaf scooped the rebound over the bar.

Arveladze’s men posed more than a threat on the counter-attack, most notably through Keane Lewis-Potter, who had already provided an inviting cross for Tom Eaves to head for goal when he took down a diagonal ball and squared for Eaves, who would have had a certain tap in had the winger’s pass not been inches ahead of the frontman.

Lewis-Potter was left to lament a brilliant Moore save as he cut in from the right and took aim at goal from outside the box, but the former Sheffield United stopper sprawled across goal and pushed the 21-year-old’s effort onto the post.

From the resulting corner, Sean McLoughlin’s knockdown was taken down smartly by Longman who thumped his half volley in off the bar to double the lead.

Coventry continued to push to half the deficit in what was an end-to-end first half, Callum O’Hare cutting inside after he was released by Fankaty Dabo, but his left-footed effort was straight at Ingram.

It continued to be an open game after the interval, Dabo picking out stand-in captain Godden whose effort was smothered by Ingram at point-blank range.

Eaves had a chance to stretch the lead further but his effort was beaten away by Moore, before Godden’s powerful strike was headed to safety by Alfie Jones.

Godden continued to try his luck to no avail, heading Hamer’s corner narrowly wide of Ingram’s goal.

There was still time for controversy before the full-time whistle as Ian Maatsen’s strike at goal cannoned off Jacob Greaves and then Ingram before appearing to cross the line, but referee Thomas Bramall waved play on to the dismay of Coventry players and fans alike.

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