Coventry City 0:1 Leicester City
City got 2011-12 off to a perfect start with a 1:0 win at neighbours Coventry, despite losing Darius Vassell to a red card early on…
A huge following of over 6,000 City fans saw seven players make their league debuts in royal blue shirts, with Matt Mills wearing the captain’s armband.
Though Sven Goran Eriksson’s game plan was soon interrupted when Vassell was sent off following a fiercely contested 50:50 challenge with Keogh. Referee Darren Deadman’s red card looked a little harsh.
City, however, absorbed this setback and matched their eleven man opponents in the first half. There was a lot of passing and few chances though Nugent set up Danns who went close, while Schmeichel did well to tip over a long range shot from Bell that was heading for the top right hand corner.
A couple of minutes after the Sky Blues best chance Deadman was given a chance to even the sides and he took it as Baker clattered into the back of Wellens. Again it looked like a yellow card, but he had now set a precedent and the red was wielded again.
City almost took the lead just before the break when Nugent’s header hit the foot of the right hand post and rolled along the goaline into the grateful arms of Murphy.
It didn’t take City long to get off the mark after the break. Newest signing Fernandez was running the game in midfield with impeccable control and passing and during a good spell City took a 52nd minute lead.
A free-kick from Wellens out on the right was met at the near post by Peltier who glanced a header across Murphy and in at the far post.
This sparked big celebrations among Sven’s side and in the away end. Sadly the goal hero injured himself soon after and was replaced by King.
City looked fairly comfortable for the remainder of the game with Coventry unable to mount any meaningful period of pressure.
Nugent got a big round of applause for his lonely efforts up front after Vassell was dismissed, replaced with Gallagher.
Fernandez and King both failed to capitalise on their own good work with weak shots, while Schmeichel made a good save from Clingan, but City were never stretched and the final whistle heralded a great start to the season and the first win at Coventry since 2003.
Sven Goran Eriksson summed up: “I’m very happy with how the team defended from the centre forward down to the goalkeeper. I think it was a very good team effort. It’s a very good start for us but we have to suffer like this and work like this 45 more times this season.”
Coventry: Murphy, Keogh, Cranie, Hussey , Christie (Wood 78), Bell, Clingan, Baker, Bigirimana, Jutkiewicz, McSheffrey (O’Donovan 79). Subs Not Used: Dunn, Thomas, McPake.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Konchesky, Mills, Bamba, Peltier (King 60), Danns, Abe, Wellens, Fernandes, Nugent (Gallagher 78), Vassell. Subs Not Used: Weale, Dyer, St. Ledger.
Referee: D Deadman (Cheshunt). Attendance: 21,102.