Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Match Reports

Coventry City 1 Rovers 3

Evans, Smallwood and Samuel on target as Rovers progress

8 August 2017

Sponsored by

Tony Mowbray enjoyed a winning return to the Ricoh Arena, as Rovers cruised into the second round of the Carabao Cup with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Coventry City.

In a frenetic first half, Corry Evans opened the scoring on 16 minutes with his first Rovers goal since November 2015 - a looping left-foot shot which swerved into the top corner. 

Coventry equalised on 22 minutes when Duckens Nazon netted the rebound following a fine save from David Raya, but Rovers regained the lead 10 minutes later when Richie Smallwood rifled home his first goal in Rovers' colours via the aid of a deflection.

Former Sky Blues striker Dominic Samuel sealed the victory 11 minutes into the second half with his first Rovers goal following his summer switch from Reading.

Rovers had countless opportunities to add to their tally late on, but couldn't find a further way past Liam O'Brien, as they bounced back in the perfect manner from Saturday's disappointing opening day defeat.

Ahead of the game, manager Mowbray, who spent 18 months in charge of Coventry, made four changes to the side that lost at Southend, with Paul Caddis, Elliott Ward, Evans and Liam Feeney all came into the starting line-up.

Darragh Lenihan (foot) and Bradley Dack (hamstring) mised out with injuries picked up at Roots Hall, whilst Peter Whittingham and Danny Graham dropped to the bench.

The changes meant a Rovers debut and 300th club career appearance for summer signing Caddis, a first start for Evans since December and an opportunity for Ward to impress against one of his former clubs. 

With Rovers adopting a 3-4-3 formation, Samuel led the attack against the side he enjoyed a successful loan spell with under Mowbray during the second half of the 2014-15 season, scoring six goals in 12 league starts.

Ben Gladwin made the Rovers bench after recovering from a slight calf strain and he was joined in the 18 by youngsters Willem Tomlinson and Jack Doyle.

Coventry made six changes to the side that kicked off their League Two campaign with a 3-0 victory at home to Notts County, with hat-trick hero Jodi Jones remaining in the starting XI.

After a cagey opening, the hosts had the first effort at goal of the game on 11 minutes, as Jordan Shipley's free-kick found the head of Maxime Biamou, but Raya made a routine save.

But with Rovers' first meaningful attack, on 16 minutes, Mowbray's men opened the scoring. Caddis cut the ball back to Evans on the egde of the box and after riding a challenge, his looping left-foot volley found the top corner.

Two minutes later and it ought to have been 2-0. Elliott Bennett slipped the ball through to Samuel, who smashed a shot goalwards, but it was superbly saved by O'Brien, who was quickly off his line.

Samuel was denied again moments later, as after advancing from midfield, he unleashed a crisp 25-yard drive, which stung the palms of the Coventry keeper, who parried the ball to safety.

And Rovers were made to pay, as Coventry equalised midway through the first half. Jack Grimmer saw a shot across goal well saved by Raya, but Nazon was on hand to slam home the rebound.

On the half-hour mark, Evans was a whisker away from scoring his second. Feeney played in the Irishman, who attempted to thread the ball through O'Brien's legs, but the ball deflected just the wrong side of the post.

The game was proving to be an entertaining end-to-end encounter, as on 31 minutes, Jones sent Nazon into space, his centre for Biamou came off Caddis and almost deflected into his own net, but Raya reacted well to make the save.

And, straight up the other end, Rovers regained the lead. The ball broke to Smallwood on the edge of the area and his left-foot strike deflected into the top corner of O'Brien's goal.

A minute before the break and Rovers could have added a third. Charlie Mulgrew swung in a corner from the right, Derrick Williams flicked on to the unmarked Feeney at the back post, but his acrobatic effort sailed high over the bar.

Both sides remained unchanged at the start of the second half and it was the hosts who had the first sight of goal on 49 minutes, but Ward made a superb block to deny Nazon's crisp strike.

Straight up the other end, Feeney saw a shot saved by O'Brien low down at his near post.

However, the visitors didn't have long to wait for their third. On 56 minutes, Caddis played the ball into the box, Samuel created space for a shot and his effort deflected off a defender past a wrong-footed O'Brien.

Just past the hour mark, Feeney delivered a deep cross from the left, but Williams headed over from right underneath the Coventry crossbar.

Both sides then rang the changes, with Gladwin and Doyle coming on for their Rovers debuts.

Two of Rovers' substitutes combined for the next chance of the game on 78 minutes, as Gladwin showed neat feet before finding Harry Chapman in space to his right, but his crisp strike was well saved by O'Brien at his near post.

Rovers ended the game playing some free-flowing football, with Gladwin pulling the strings. On 82 minutes, he spread the play out wide to Caddis, who centred for Smallwood, but his shot was blocked on its route to goal.

A minute later, the two debutants combined, as Gladwin found Doyle to his left and the young full-back's top corner bound effort had to be tipped over the bar by O'Brien.

Chapman went close again on 88 minutes, after collecting a through ball from Smallwood, but again he was denied by O'Brien.

Rovers saw out the remaining minutes with ease, to book their name in the hat for the second round draw, which will take place live on Sky Sports News on Thursday night, following the televised game between Bury and Sunderland.

COVENTRY CITY: O'Brien, Grimmer, McDonald, Biamou (Ponticelli 62), Hyam, Nazon, De. Kelly-Evans (Beavon 62), Shipley, Stevenson, Jones (Finn 74), Camwell.

Subs not used: Charles-Cook, Pearson, Di. Kelly-Evans, Maycock. 

Goals: Nazon (22)
Booked: Camwell

ROVERS: Raya, Caddis, Nyambe, Ward, Mulgrew (Doyle 75), Williams, Smallwood, Evans (Chapman 71), Feeney (Gladwin 66), Bennett, Samuel.  
Subs not used: Leutwiler, Tomlinson, Whittingham, Graham.

Goals: Evans (16), Smallwood (32), Samuel (56)
Booked: Evans, Samuel, Bennett

Attendance: 5,372 (620 Rovers fans)

Advertisement block