10 MAN BATTLE: Birmingham pick up point at Coventry despite red card
Credit: PA David Davies
Championship high-flyers Coventry and 10-man Birmingham battled to a 0-0 draw in a local affair at the Coventry Building Society Arena.
Both sides had chances to claim all three points as Scott Hogan blazed over from close range while Blues had goalkeeper Matija Sarkic to thank after saves from Matt Godden and Ian Maatsen.
Ryan Woods saw red for the visitors inside the final 10 minutes for a wild swipe on Maatsen as the Sky Blues launched a counter attack.
It was the second goalless stalemate in as many matches for Mark Robins’ men, who picked up a point against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane at the weekend.
For Birmingham, the draw halted a run of two defeats on the spin after losses to Reading and Hull.
Robins made three changes to his starting line-up from the draw in Yorkshire as Maatsen was brought back into the side following suspension.
The Sky Blues reverted to a familiar two up front in a 3-4-1-2 as Liam Kelly and Godden came in for Jamie Allen and Ben Sheaf.
Blues boss Lee Bowyer handed Marcel Oakley a second league start of his career in place of the suspended Gary Gardner in the visitors’ only change.
Birmingham started the brighter of the two sides and Dom Hyam was called into action to head away from the awaiting Troy Deeney following Hogan’s cross.
On-loan midfielder Riley McGree’s dipping volley was Birmingham’s best effort of the opening 45 minutes while Coventry found their feet after the opening quarter of an hour.
It was the first time the sides had met since Coventry left their tenancy of Birmingham’s St. Andrew’s stadium and Montenegro international Sarkic had to be at his best to deny first Godden and then the returning Maatsen.
Godden was the beneficiary of Callum O’Hare’s backheel and drove towards the by-line before firing across goal but the on-loan Wolves stopper palmed his effort to safety.
Maatsen was next to go close before half-time after he was picked out by O’Hare in the box and his left-footed effort was met by another strong save by the 24-year-old Sarkic.
Gustavo Hamer fired a free-kick wide for Coventry before half-time but the best chance of the contest fell to the feet of Hogan after the break.
Deeney’s knockdown found the former Aston Villa and Stoke man just outside the six-yard box but he could only fire his effort high and wide over Simon Moore’s goal.
Godden tested Sarkic again with under 20 minutes to go but his long-range effort was met by an acrobatic save to the keeper’s right-hand side.
Coventry were buoyed in the final 10 minutes when Woods was given his marching orders by referee Leigh Doughty when he hacked down Maatsen but the hosts couldn’t find a way to secure all three points.
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