Jake Bidwell’s first Coventry goal earned the Sky Blues a 1-1 draw with Bristol City at the CBS Arena.
The defender joined Coventry from Swansea in January 2022 and was on hand to nod in after Max O’Leary clawed his initial effort off the line.
Antoine Semenyo scored an equalizer for Bristol City just before the half-hour mark but the draw leaves Nigel Pearson’s men with just one win in 10 Sky Bet Championship matches.
Kasey Palmer was greeted by boos by the away support after leaving the Robins in the summer but almost made his former club pay inside the first three minutes when his clever reverse pass picked out Martyn Waghorn.
The striker had returned to the starting XI for the first time since October, but his effort was well saved by O’Leary.
However, the Sky Blues opened the scoring after 12 minutes through Bidwell’s first goal since October 2021.
A neat one-two between Gustavo Hamer and Viktor Gyokeres sent the former to the by-line and his low cross was met by Bidwell, whose first effort was clawed away by O’Leary before the former Brentford full-back nodded the rebound in from close range.
Only Reading had conceded more goals away from home than Bristol City before their trip to the West Midlands, whilst only three sides had scored more on the road.
They went in search of their leveler and were in luck on 28 minutes, when Nahki Wells’ shot rebounded off Jonathan Panzo and Alex Scott before Semenyo was in the right spot to place his left-footed effort into the bottom corner.
Buoyed by their leveler, Pearson’s men went in search of a second as they pressed Coventry high up the pitch, forcing both Panzo and Callum Doyle into giving the ball away in dangerous areas.
Top scorer Gyokeres had proven deadly inside opposition boxes this season, notching 12 times in the process, but it was his brilliant defending that prevented a second goal for the visitors as he amused Kal Naismith’s acrobatic effort over the crossbar.
Coventry, who extended their unbeaten home run to seven games with a second draw in succession, came out stronger after the break and Palmer fed Waghorn once again, but the forward dragged his effort past the post.
O’Leary had to be alert again to deny Gyokeres as he rushed out to stop the Swede lifting his effort over him to take the lead.
Andi Weimann could also have given Bristol City all three points, but he failed to bundle over the line inside the six-yard box and was booked in trying to hand the Robins a first win of 2023 by punching the ball over the line.
What the managers said…
Coventry’s Mark Robins: “We haven’t got enough in terms of a significant pool of players to be able to change things enough to go and win a game when it’s needed. When you’ve got people that are leggy and sometimes when you’re putting a team out on the field you just don’t know how long they’re going to last for.I thought we started off brightly, I thought we looked like we were the team that was going to get the second goal as well which would have killed it.
“You could see that we were lacking in energy, I thought you could tell we played two games in four days and the third game is always a stretch. You can see some strange decisions made by players that are usually really solid in their decision making but also in their quality.You see Premier League games yesterday where there’s a lack of quality, you never thought you’d say that but they’re making different decisions than they’d usually make.We have a load of players injured so we ‘ve not been able to train and it looked like we needed to train, to try and get some things ironed out because we start to drag them onto us and make ourselves feel like we’re under pressure.”
Bristol City’s Nigel Pearson: “We need to win more games. That doesn’t change, we’ve had two very tough away games and we’ve shown a level of commitment, desire and ability in both games to look capable of winning. It’s a game both sides were capable of winning and threatened to win, but there was some really good defending from both teams.
“In our position at the minute, we’re short of wins but the last two performances have been really solid away performances with some really good attacking play too. I’d rather have a point than nothing. There were some great performances today, I don’t think anybody was a weak link, there was a lot of really good play offensively and defensively.”