Small step for Coventry, giant leap for the on-loan youngster
ADAM Armstrong was the toast of the Ricoh as his double-goal debut put promotion favourites Wigan to the sword.
Coventry had managed a solitary goal in their pre-season campaign but Newcastle teenager Armstrong doubled that tally with well-taken goals in each half.
His first came after 15 minutes after Wigan had enjoyed more possession but never looked threatening.
The game needed to be ignited and the spark came when midfielder Jim O’Brien collected the ball in midfield and spotted a run from Armstrong.
His pass was inch-perfect and allowed the little Geordie to race clear and coolly slot the ball home past Richard O’Donnell.
The visitors, playing with Will Grigg operating as a loan front man, made their first impression when Michael Jacobs fired a shot high over the cross bar.
That provided the drive and Wigan began to push forward with more intent.
But, as the visitors pushed forward, gaps emerged at the back and gave the speedy Armstrong room to run.
He could well have doubled the advantage nine minutes before the interval when he made some space with another darting run across the face of the penalty area, but his left foot shot was saved by O’Donnell.
Coventry continued to press and won a free-kick eight yards from the Wigan area. Junior was booked when the first effort hit him as he advanced from the wall early, but James Maddison’s second attempt also struck the line of defenders.
Wigan boss Gary Caldwell waited only eight minutes before deciding to go two up front, bringing on Craig Davies to assist Grigg, and also introducing Kevin McNaughton.
It was Coventry, however, who continued to look sharper and Ruben Lameiras was put through just short of the hour by the increasingly influential Maddison but O’Donnell was out to deny him twice.
His blushes were spared two minutes later when Arsmtrong doubled his tally – and Coventry’s lead – guiding home a cross from John Fleck.
For Tony Mowbray, beginning his first full season at the Sky Blues, it was the perfect start.
“That’s three points in the bag and we are off and running which is what we wanted,” he said.
“The first day of the season is interesting because you have so much time to prepare for the opposition. “This week I got to Tuesday and I thought we had done everything we could on Wigan and we had to be careful we did not keep on bombarding them with too much information.
“But what was pleasing is that our goals came from what we have prepared all week – nicking the ball off them and then running in behind.
“I’m delighted that the game-plan worked and delighted that the lads took the game-plan on board, and that is really encouraging for me as a coach.
“There is not a day when this team does not practice passing, to the point of almost boring the players so when it plays dividends on a match day it shows them that it is important.”
Gary Caldwell had gave 13 players out of 14 their club debuts, but felt they had made it too easy for the home side.
He said: “We were confident going into the game and through we could win the game but we caused ourselves too many problems. Coventry play on the counter and we played into their hands and basically gave them the opportunity.
“We gave them goals from our slackness. We had a lot more possession then them but as I have said to the players they have to learn to cope with teams sitting off us.
“We can pass the ball and we can be creative and cause problems but we have to grow in belief.
“I have watched Adam Armstrong in Coventry’s games.
“He has got speed, scored two goals but this is a hard league and there are some very good players in it.”
FLYING HIGH: Adam Armstrong celebrates scoring Coventry’s first goal with teammates
SKY BLUE JOY: Wigan’s David Perkins confronts Coventry’s James Maddison and Coventry fans celebrate their opening goal