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Mark Robins relieved decision to leave captain Liam Kelly on paid off

Derby County v Coventry City – Sky Bet Championship – Pride Park Stadium
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Coventry boss Mark Robins felt vindicated by asking captain Liam Kelly to play through the pain barrier after he ultimately hit the winning goal against Wycombe.

Liam Kelly had already given the Sky Blues the lead with his first goal since April 2018 by the time he agreed to struggle on with half-time approaching.

He went on to grab what proved to be the decisive goal to earn Coventry their first away win of the season at Adams Park right on half-time with his final act before eventually being replaced.

While Coventry were able to celebrate, Wycombe were left cursing their luck after they had an injury-time “equaliser” from Scott Kashket controversially ruled out for offside.

Robins said: “He’s got up to the edge of the box and hit it true because he can, that’s just belief.

“He’s hit it, it’s gone in, we’re 1-0 up and then he’s injured, really, wants to come off and I’ve asked him to stay on because obviously that takes away an opportunity to make a substitution.

“He did and with that he’s got what turned out to be the winning goal.

“It’s bittersweet for him and for us because we’ll miss him for a period of time now, but ultimately it’s a really good three points for us.

“It’s a tough place to come, we’ve loads of injury problems and all sort of things that are going on, so the team changes around.

“We had to change our game when Gus (Hamer) came on and Kells has done his groin while he’s on a hat-trick, so there’s loads of things that happened in this game.”

Coventry went ahead after 32 minutes when Kelly seized possession in midfield before powering a shot into the bottom corner from outside the box.

The stricken midfielder doubled his tally by heading in from close range after Dominic Hyam had nodded Hamer’s free-kick back across goal.

Joe Jacobson gave Wycombe hope from the penalty spot with just under half an hour still to play, following a foul on David Wheeler.

Hamer almost killed the game off for Coventry with a brilliant 45-yard lob that came off the outside of the post.

That near miss meant Wycombe could continue to press and they thought they’d snatched a point when Kashket followed up Ben Wilson’s save from Adebayo Akinfenwa’s volley, only to be denied by the linesman’s flag.

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth said: “Scotty Kashket’s onside, how the linesman has given it – and taken so long to give it – it’s just gone against us.

“I thought the officials were going to get better at this level, and I’m not going to say anymore than that.

“We’ve been on the end of a couple of decisions that have gone against us – there was one where we were in possession and it’s hit the referee and the referee gave the ball back to Coventry.

“I was baffled by it, but I wouldn’t like to be a ref, I’ve said this many times.

“It’s tough and I just hope that we can get some decisions going our way in the second half of the season because it certainly hasn’t gone our way this side of it.

“I honestly think we were the better team today and we’ve got to start putting our chances in.”