League One
WalsallWalsall0CoventryCoventry City2

Walsall 0-2 Coventry City

By Ged ScottBBC Sport at the Banks's Stadium
Marcus Tudgay heads home Walsall's clinching second goal at Bescot
Marcus Tudgay heads home Walsall's clinching second goal at Bescot

Coventry City claimed their third away win in five league games with a comfortable victory against Walsall.

Captain Jim O'Brien's spectacular early goal, a 30-yard right-foot screamer, set the Sky Blues on their way.

Recalled striker Marcus Tudgay then headed in his first goal for Coventry to condemn the Saddlers to a second successive home defeat.

But the visitors could have won by more as Tudgay saw his penalty saved, as well as heading against the bar.

It was a disappointing way for Dean Smith to mark his fourth anniversary in charge of Walsall which, following Alan Pardew's departure at Newcastle, makes him the fourth longest-saving manager in English football's top four divisions.

Happy hunting ground
Walsall have now hosted Coventry City seven times over the past 30 years - but the Saddlers' only win in that time was a 4-0 victory at Bescot two seasons ago.

Coventry should already have been ahead before their sixth-minute opener.

After Romaine Sawyers was adjudged to have brought down O'Brien, Walsall keeper Richard O'Donnell then saved Tudgay's spot-kick with his legs.

But, having failed from 12 yards, just a minute later, Coventry took the lead from well over double that distance when O'Brien let fly with a speculative effort out on the right and the ball flew into O'Donnell's top right corner.

Tudgay then headed against the bar, Frank Nouble curled a low right-foot shot wide and O'Donnell went full stretch to his left to make a brilliant one-handed save to deny on-loan City defender Matty Pennington.

Walsall, who face a Johnstone's Paint Trophy area final tie at Preston on Wednesday night, improved after the break.

James Baxendale and Anthony Forde were both denied in quick succession before on-loan midfielder Michael Cain's low volley came back off the right-hand post.

But the Saddlers had been outplayed and Tudgay rose at the far post to head home O'Brien's cross to settle the outcome three minutes from time - and send Coventry's 1,772 away fans home the happiest.

Walsall manager Dean Smith told BBC WM:

"I was very angry with the way we started. We were sloppy and slow, they got in our faces for the first 15 or 20 minutes and we were sitting too deep.

"The lad scored a wonderful goal, but we gave them a lift and you can't afford to do that against any team in this league.

"In the second half we were superior, Romaine Sawyers was creating things and we should have scored.

"We didn't deserve to lose, as you could tell you get a team like Coventry coming here and time-wasting for 45 minutes."

Sky Blues manager Steven Pressley told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire:

"That was the sort of performance you expect from a Coventry City side, one to make our fans proud.

"We were outstanding, especially our young back-four who performed brilliantly to keep our fifth clean sheet in eight games.

"We've now conceded only four goals in eight games. That's a fantastic record. And it gives us a really good foundation to build from.

"We had quite a bit to contend with before the game with Gary Madine and Aaron Martin being out, and Andy Webster withdrew just before the game. But the players didn't let it get to them."

Line-ups

Walsall

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1O'Donnell
  • 4O'Connor
  • 6Downing
  • 15ChambersSubstituted forPurkissat 71'minutes
  • 3Taylor
  • 27FordeSubstituted forMansetat 83'minutes
  • 12Cain
  • 7Chambers
  • 11BaxendaleSubstituted forBenningat 67'minutes
  • 10Sawyers
  • 9Bradshaw

Substitutes

  • 2Purkiss
  • 13MacGillivray
  • 14Benning
  • 17Flanagan
  • 24Grimes
  • 25Henry
  • 37Manset

Coventry

Formation 4-5-1

  • 23Allsop
  • 18PhillipsSubstituted forFinchat 78'minutes
  • 22Pennington
  • 2Willis
  • 26Haynes
  • 11O'Brien
  • 6ThomasBooked at 73mins
  • 12JacksonSubstituted forBartonat 79'minutes
  • 7Fleck
  • 19Nouble
  • 20Tudgay

Substitutes

  • 1Burge
  • 3Pugh
  • 10Swanson
  • 16Barton
  • 27Finch
  • 36Maddison
  • 37Thomas
Referee:
Carl Boyeson
Attendance:
5,930

Match Stats

Home TeamWalsallAway TeamCoventry
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home16
Away8
Shots on Target
Home6
Away6
Corners
Home4
Away5
Fouls
Home6
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Walsall 0, Coventry City 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Walsall 0, Coventry City 2.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Adam Chambers (Walsall).

  4. Post update

    Conor Thomas (Coventry City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  5. Post update

    Corner, Coventry City. Conceded by Ben Purkiss.

  6. Post update

    Attempt saved. Andy Taylor (Walsall) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

  7. Goal!

    Goal! Walsall 0, Coventry City 2. Marcus Tudgay (Coventry City) header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Jim O'Brien following a corner.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Coventry City. Conceded by Malvind Benning.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Coventry City. Conceded by Andy Taylor.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Walsall. Mathieu Manset replaces Anthony Forde.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Andy Taylor (Walsall) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Michael Cain (Walsall) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Matthew Pennington (Coventry City).

  14. Post update

    James O'Connor (Walsall) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  15. Post update

    Frank Nouble (Coventry City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Ben Purkiss (Walsall).

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Coventry City. Adam Barton replaces Simeon Jackson.

  18. Post update

    Simeon Jackson (Coventry City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Michael Cain (Walsall).

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Coventry City. Jack Finch replaces Aaron Phillips because of an injury.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Swindon24146446242248
2Bristol City23146342222048
3Preston23136436211545
4MK Dons22135448222644
5Bradford2310673126536
6Sheff Utd229672826233
7Chesterfield238873231132
8Port Vale2495103133-232
9Rochdale2394103931831
10Notts County228772724331
11Peterborough2394103029131
12Fleetwood248792524131
13Walsall247982324-130
14Oldham227962933-430
15Doncaster228682327-430
16Coventry247892631-529
17Barnsley2275103235-326
18Scunthorpe217592836-826
19Leyton Orient2367103234-225
20Gillingham2467112837-925
21Crawley2358102136-1523
22Crewe2365122041-2123
23Colchester2356122740-1321
24Yeovil2355131936-1720
View full League One table

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