Cambridge United suffer defeat on the road at Coventry City

PUBLISHED: 21:42 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 21:43 30 January 2018

George Taft scored for Cambridge United at Coventry City. Picture: Cambridge United

George Taft scored for Cambridge United at Coventry City. Picture: Cambridge United

Simon Lankester Photography

Poor first half costs U’s dear at Sky Blues

An improved second-half performance was not enough for Cambridge United as they suffered a 3-1 defeat at Coventry City in Sky Bet League Two.

Goals from Marc McNulty and Jordan Shipley had given the Sky Blues a 2-0 lead at the break as the U’s struggled to get going, but they rallied after the break to enjoy the majority of the play.

However, despite George Taft’s goal, they were unable to anything from the game as Michael Doyle hit a late third for the hosts.

It was the first shot of the game that broke the deadlock in the 10th minute.

A bouncing ball at the edge of the area appeared to hit a hand, but it fell free to McNulty who curled a left-footed effort inside David Forde’s right-hand post.

United’s first sight at goal came in the 16th minute as Jevani Brown flashed a shot wide from the edge of the area.

Devon Kelly-Evans looked a handful on the Coventry right, and he went very close to doubling the lead in the 20th minute, hitting a volley just past the near post.

The lead was doubled in the 31st minute when McNulty did well to get to the by-line and dink a cross to the back post, where Shipley rose highest to loop a head back over Forde and in at the far post.

There was not much joy for United during the rest of the half as Taft flicked a header wide and then Uche Ikpeazu shot tamely at Lee Burge after being played through by Billy Waters.

In the closing stages before the break, Ikpeazu powered into the box and had a shot tipped over the bar by Burge, and it left United facing an uphill battle in the second half to change things around and to stretch the hosts.

United made a bright start to the second period, enjoying the majority of possession and territory without creating any clear-cut chances.

They did have claims for a penalty dismissed by referee Tom Nield in the 55th minute, with the official deeming that Chris Stokes had won the ball with his tackle in the area on Ikpeazu.

From the subsequent corner, Harry Darling’s header was held by Burge.

There was a scare in the 62nd minute as Forde was caught in possession from a backpass and was robbed by McNulty, but the U’s keeper was able to recover to dive on the ball.

George Maris had a 20-yard effort that had to be pushed behind down low by Burge as the U’s continued to look for a way back into the match.

Maris was involved again minutes later as his shot was deflected wide by Tom Davies, as the U’s players and bench appealed for a handball.

But the visitors had a let off when McNulty’s front-post header was deflected narrowly wide.

United had the lifeline their second-half performance deserved as George Taft headed home Brown’s corner in the 84th minute.

But they suffered a late blow as Max Biamou broke down the right to pull a cross back in the area and while one Coventry player missed his kick, Michael Doyle was following up behind to lash the ball past Forde for Coventry’s third.

Coventry City: Burge, Grimmer, Stokes, McDonald, Doyle, Biamou, McNulty, Davies, Kelly-Evans, Shipley, Bayliss.

Substitutes: Vincenti (Kelly-Evans, 65), Haynes (Shipley, 71). Not used: O’Brien, Hyam, Beavon, Barrett, Ponticelli.

Cambridge United : Forde, Halliday, Darling, Taft, Carroll, Deegan, O’Neil, Maris, Brown, Waters, Ikpeazu.

Substitutes: Azeez (Ikpeazu, 72). Not used: Mitov, Dunk, Phillips, Lewis, Corr, Davies.

Bookings: Coventry – McNulty (dissent, 81).

Referee: Tom Nield.

Attendance: 6,897.

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