Southampton win to dent Coventry play-off hopes


Che Adams inspired Southampton to a 2-1 victory over fellow Sky Bet Championship promotion chasers Coventry – who missed a penalty.

Striker Adams claimed Saints’ opener after he had deflected in Kyle Walker-Peters’ blast before more decisively bagging a second – both after Haji Wright had missed a spot-kick for the visitors.

Jake Bidwell ended his year-long run without a goal to pull one back, but the hosts held on.

Southampton boss Russell Martin has all but waved the white flag on automatic promotion after two draws and a defeat since the international break and his side currently sit nine points behind the top two with six matches to play.

Coventry fall five points outside of the play-off places as they attempt to make up for their Wembley heartbreak last season.

The Sky Blues had won their previous two away games and since December 23, they had the most wins on the road in the Championship.

It was no surprise then when they started quickly and won a penalty inside 10 minutes when Flynn Downes fouled the underlapping Joel Latibeaudiere.

Wright stepped up, aiming to bag his fifth goal in his last four away games, but slipped on approach. His shot came back off the crossbar but would have most likely been disallowed anyway for a double contact.

It woke Saints up and after having a penalty of their own turned down, they went ahead in the 18th minute. Walker-Peters struck from 25 yards before it bounced off Adams’ back to beat Bradley Collins, with both claiming the goal.

There was no debate over the scorer of the hosts’ second 20 minutes later as Adams bundled in from a corner.

After David Brooks had been denied one-on-one, James Bree had drifted his delivery from the resulting set-piece to find Taylor Harwood-Bellis at the back post. He nodded to Adams who beat his defender by dribbling the ball on his head before thumping home.

Adam Armstrong almost added a third 90 seconds into the second half but Collins pushed his rasping shot wide.

Coventry had to wait almost an hour between shots and Callum O’Hare’s attempt to place one in the top corner from the edge of a crowded box failed to halve the deficit.

Substitute Fabio Tavares went closer when his crashing strike was deflected onto the roof of the goal.

Their perseverance finally paid dividends as Tavares’ sumptuous delivery from the right was side-footed on the volley at the back post by Bidwell – his first goal since January 2023 – but there was not to be an equaliser.

The managers

Southampton’s Russell Martin:

“That will release a lot of tension. First half we played so well, it was the opposite of Saturday [against Blackburn].

“There was some brilliant football and we should maybe have scored another goal as we created a lot.

“I should have changed things a bit earlier when players were getting tired but conceding in that moment was a bit disappointing – and Stu Armstrong apologised for not being where he needed to be.

“We should kill the game off and there was a bit of tension, but we showed resilience and character and I’m proud of the boys.

“It was a big response. I said to them that I didn’t want to get questioned about the mentality of the group, I think they showed spirit and character in abundance tonight.”

Coventry’s Mark Robins:

“It would it have been a different story had he not slipped for the penalty, but it wouldn’t have been a different story in the first half as we didn’t compete. We didn’t arrive until half-time.

“[Wright’s] absolutely fine. He’s there to take a penalty and he’s a really good penalty taker. It is just unfortunate that he had a slip.

“We needed to decide whether we want to be challengers tonight, and first half we decided we weren’t going to be.

“The penalty miss obviously has an impact. If we score that then the crowd is edgy and that would have given us a foothold.

“We didn’t lay a glove on them for the other 45 minutes. That is what cost us the game.

“There was enough in the second half but in the first half we shot ourselves in the foot.

“It isn’t about anyone else, it is just about us and our results. We can’t look at anyone else, we can’t do anything about it. But what we can do is not play how we did in the first half.”



Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top