Small step for Coven­try, gi­ant leap for the on-loan young­ster

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Adam Dent

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.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

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

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