West Brom 2-1 Coventry City: Johnston’s early stunner helps dent Sky Blues’ playoff hopes

The Championship’s latest round of fixtures kicked off on Friday night at The Hawthorns, as West Bromwich Albion welcomed fellow playoff-chasing side Coventry City. The Baggies were hoping for a third win in five games, while the Sky Blues brought Maidstone United’s remarkable FA Cup run to an end last time out; dismissing their National League South opponents 5-0.

WBA: Palmer; Furlong, Kipre, Pieters, Townsend; Mowatt, Yokoslu; Johnston, Fellows, Diangana; Wallace

COV: Wilson; Latibeaudiere, Thomas, Binks; van Ewijk, Torp, Eccles, Dasilva; Palmer, O’Hare; Simms

An even start to affairs at The Hawthorns was eventually broken through what was the first shot in any shape or form for either side; and it proved to be the opener. The ball was picked up by Celtic loanee Mikey Johnston down the left hand side and the winger drove forward. Johnston then cut inside Milan van Ewijk before bending a stunning strike into the far corner past Ben Wilson to give the Baggies the lead.

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Ellis Simms, who netted his first senior hat-trick in the Sky Blues’ FA Cup thumping of Maidstone United on Monday, could have found an instant response for his side; only for the former Everton man to completely get his footing wrong and steer the ball well wide at the near post. Kasey Palmer also saw a first-time effort whistle past the far post.

A well-worked corner routine almost saw Josh Eccles steer home an equaliser from the edge of the box, but when the ball looked destined for the far corner, it somehow bobbled just wide instead. 

Mark Robins’ side had clearly taken the game by the scruff of the neck at this point, and it seemed that a possible leveller eluded them, as Kasey Palmer once more sent another chance begging for the visitors; this effort from the Coventry winger flying just wide of the far post.

However, City couldn’t find that equaliser, and they were punished for missing those chances when West Brom doubled their lead with ten minutes of the first half to go. Tom Fellows got the better of Josh Dasilva down the right hand side and fired the ball in towards Grady Diangana, who steered the ball home on cue past Wilson to provide the home side with a healthy advantage. 

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The Sky Blues started the second half brightly, but failed to really muster a shot on target, with Victor Torp coming closest to getting a goal back for the visitors.

However, with just under 20 minutes to go, the Sky Blues were given a lifeline in the form of a penalty kick, with Kasey Palmer tripped in the box by Erik Pieters. Coventry substitute Haji Wright then stepped up from 12 yards out and sent Alex Palmer the wrong way to get the visitors back into this contest.

Ellis Simms then almost put City in front just moments later, only for his effort from just outside the box was fired just over the bar. Haji Wright was also unable to steer the ball home from a couple of yards out soon after.

Both sides are back in action next week, as Coventry welcome rock-bottom Rotherham to the CBS Arena on Tuesday at 7:45pm, and West Brom make the trip south to QPR on Wednesday at 8pm.