Basement boys Cov have pride at stake
COVENTRY City signed off their sorry home campaign at the Ricoh Arena with a surprise win over mid-table Walsall to lift themselves off the foot of the table for the first time since January.
George Thomas pulled the trigger on the only goal, to the relief of manager Mark Robins.
“To win in front of our supporters was important and I was pleased with the way we performed, especially in the first half when I thought we were really, really good,” he said.
“It is pleasing to be off the bottom. It is important not to finish bottom, because it is embarrassing where we are. But it is what it is and we have to try and build.
“The support was fantastic and that will keep me going through the summer because we will be working really hard to bring the right blend of the people in.”
The first opportunity of the game fell to the hosts after 11 minutes when Ruben Lameiras saw his effort blocked by Craig MacGillivray who was forced into a second quick-fire save when Kevin Foley followed up with the rebound.
The Saddlers almost took the lead just after the half-hour mark when Joe Edwards’ inswinging free-kick was headed inches wide of the post by Matt Preston.
It was already relegated Coventry who went in ahead at halftime, Thomas grabbing the opener after his shot from the edge of the area found the bottom corner, the 20 -year-old’s third goal in six games.
Walsall pressed for an equaliser as the second half progressed, and would have found one if not for the quick reactions of Gael Bigirimana, who knocked James O’Connor’s headed effort off the line.
The visitors’ uphill battle became that much harder with 20 minutes to go after they were reduced to tenmen when Eoghan O’Connell was shown a second yellow for a foul on Thomas.
A frustrated Jon Whitney said: “For the first 45 minutes of that game we were way below par, it had an end of season feel to it. You cannot be that below standard and expect to get something from the game, and for that I’d like to apologise to the travelling fans.
“The second half we gave it a go, but you can’t keep giving goals the first goal.
“We huffed and puffed but didn’t really create and clear cut chances, we were very lacklustre and I’ve told my players that.
“People say you’ve got nothing to play for, but for me that’s still another defeat on my record.”