A LATE Max Biamou leveller was a just reward for Coventry City in a 1-1 draw at Norwich City – says manager Mark Robins.
The Sky Blues left it late to strike with a minute of normal time remaining to stun the Carrow Road hosts – who went in front through Mario Vrancic’s first-half penalty – and push their unbeaten run to three matches ahead of tomorrow night’s trip to Derby County.
And following a result which edged City into 20th place in the Championship table, one position above Nottingham Forest, the positives were plentiful for Robins coming away from the recently-relegated Premier League Canaries.
“To come here away from home and pick a point up having been behind, the spirit and character was first class again,” said the 50-year-old.
“The penalty was tough to take, but they got on with it and carried on playing. I thought we finished the first half strongly, we continued that in the second half and they didn’t have a great deal of opportunities.
“We had to go for it a little more at the end, we showed good bravery and it gave us a chance to score an equaliser which we did.
“The goal that we scored at the end, the referee gave it a bit of time [as an advantage]. Max was down on the floor, it was brilliant ball in, Tyler [Walker] gets his foot to it first and Max gets up off the floor to stick it in the net – it was what we deserved.”
Coming into the side was Ben Wilson – making a first Sky Blues start in almost a year – slotting in for the injured Mark Marosi, while Fankaty Dabo pulled on a City shirt for the 50th time.
Coventry forced the first opening against the run of play when Leo Ostigard cracked a volley goalwards, sending the ball over the bar from a good position, while Callum O’Hare sent a header agonisingly wide of Michael McGovern’s goal moments later.
Jamie Allen should have done better with his header when meeting Dabo’s centre – as City continued to dominate the chances, if not the possession statistics.
Wilson was quick to deny Marko Stipermann down the other end as Norwich grew into the game, followed by a Vrancic double save and a Max Aarons attempt that was parried away.
But with the next opportunity that came the hosts’ way, Wilson was unable to answer as Vrancic planted the ball into the net from the penalty spot following a foul by Coventry’s shot-stopper in the 27th minute.
Norwich may have held the lead at the break, but the pattern of play remained the same as Coventry started the second half the stronger of the two sides.
Amadou Bakayoko should have done better when meeting a pinpoint cross that was on the money from Ryan Giles, the ball flying off-target, as Coventry continued to ask questions.
Giles was again the man to lay up opportunities for his teammates, his next opening setting up O’Hare who guided his shot goalwards and earning the visitors a corner.
With a change of formation came a returning face in the form of Wesley Jobello – sidelined for the best part of 13 months – as Coventry began to throw more caution to the wind.
Gustavo Hamer was unlucky not to net a clever free-kick from 25 yards that was chipped goalwards and went all the way through to McGovern’s left-hand post – bouncing away from danger.
Though it appeared Coventry’s best efforts may be in vain, there was reprieve when Biamou reacted instinctively to some frantic play to thrash the ball home from a matter of yards to earn a point.