Coventry City 3-0 Middlesbrough: Haji Wright opens his account at the CBS Arena

In the EFL Championship’s lunchtime kickoff, Coventry City welcomed Middlesbrough to the CBS Arena. Having tasted defeat in last Sunday’s M69 Derby against Leicester City, the Sky Blues would look to pick up their first points of the 2023/24 season against a side that lost to Millwall last weekend.

COV: Wilson; Latibeaudiere, McFadzean, Thomas; Dasilva, Sheaf, Eccles, van Ewijk; Palmer; Godden, Simms

MID: Dieng; Coulson, Lenihan, Fry, McNair; Barlaser, Hackney; Silvera, Rogers, Jones; Crooks

Coventry looked to probe for an early goal through Eccles, though his delivery from the right flank failed to truly test the Boro goalkeeper – with Dieng able to make the save with ease. He was called into action once again though to deny Simms from the edge of the eighteen-yard box, just moments after Jones had attempted to tee up Hackney at the other end of the pitch.

With just eleven minutes on the clock at the CBS Arena, the Sky Blues found their opener. Eccles was involved yet again, thumping an effort into a crowded penalty area that eventually fell to Godden following a deflection – and the striker made no mistake, poking the ball past Dieng to send the majority of the 24,080-strong crowd into a moment of sheer euphoria.

Coventry had certainly been the better side throughout the opening stages, and would be keen to add a further goal given the events that unfolded at the other end of the M69 last weekend. They came close to finding that second goal with just over twenty minutes played, as Godden’s strike was palmed away into the path of van Ewijk – but his effort was skewed wide of the woodwork.

Dasilva did well to dispossess Hackney deep in Boro’s half, opting to play a neat through ball into Simms. The striker’s effort was squandered though, directed straight into the grateful arms of Dieng. Coventry City’s one-goal lead at half-time was certainly deserved, though Mark Robins’ side will feel they could have been ahead by two or three.

Boro were quick out of the blocks in the second half, with Rogers driving towards goal and dancing into the penalty area. The move was ultimately fruitless though, clipping his strike wide of the left post to bring a rather underwhelming effort to what could have been a phenomenal solo goal.

Middlesbrough looked to turn their early pressure into an equaliser, and came close to doing so as Rogers sought to find Silvera with a cut-back pass – but the winger’s strike flew over the horizontal from six yards out or so.

But mere minutes after his introduction, Wright doubled Coventry’s lead against the run of play. A corner delivery from the left flank was parried away by Dieng, but only as far as the substitute, who thumped a low drive into the back of the net!

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That wouldn’t be the end of the action at the CBS Arena though, as an own goal from Lenihan saw Boro trail by three despite their positive start to the second half. Godden’s cross from the right flank was to blame, deflecting off the defender’s chest and trickling past Dieng to seal Coventry City’s first win of the EFL Championship season.

Coventry City will return to action on August 19 as they travel to Swansea City’s stadium for a 3pm kickoff, while Middlesbrough will host Huddersfield Town as they continue their search for their first points of the 2023/24 season.