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Birmingham boost survival hopes with victory over play-off-chasing Coventry

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 13 Apr 2024

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Birmingham gave their Sky Bet Championship survival hopes a huge boost with a 3-0 home win over Coventry which put a major dent in their visitors’ play-off hopes.

An own goal by Bobby Thomas in the 12th minute opened the scoring, Ivan Sunjic made it two three minutes before half-time and Jay Stansfield killed the contest with his 13th of the season.

The result was Blues’ biggest win since October – and only their second success in 11 – and moved them out of the relegation zone after Bristol City denied struggling Huddersfield with a last-gasp leveller.

Coventry’s third defeat in four left the FA Cup semi-finalists six points adrift of the top six with four games to go ahead of their big date at Wembley against Manchester United next weekend.

The Sky Blues threatened first with a firm, low angled drive from Milan van Ewijk that was deflected just wide.

Blues countered with a stabbed effort from Tyler Roberts and then a shot from Koji Miyoshi that brushed the side-netting.

And they soon got their noses in front.

Lee Buchanan’s throw-in on the left was worked to Roberts, who turned the ball inside for Keshi Anderson, whose cross hit Thomas and deflected in at the near post.

The closest Coventry came to scoring came in the 20th minute when Haji Wright hit the bar.

Goalkeeper John Ruddy came out of his box to head away a clearance, but only as far as Wright, whose volleyed lob bounced before hitting the woodwork.

Blues remained in the ascendancy and Stansfield twice should have done better instead of firing first over and then several feet wide from 20 yards.

Sunjic doubled the hosts’ lead with a rasping low drive from just inside the area after Paik Seung-ho’s corner was headed away by Liam Kitching, his effort catching keeper Bradley Collins unawares.

Coventry, following a triple substitution at half-time, began the second half looking much improved, creating two quick opportunities.

Kasey Palmer’s 25-yard drive was parried by Ruddy, then Ben Sheaf fired a rising effort over from just inside the area.

There was now an edge to the match and Stansfield and Van Ewijk were booked for shoving each other after the Blues striker was penalised when he thought he had won the ball back.

But Birmingham dashed any hopes of a Coventry comeback when Stansfield made it 3-0.

The on-loan Fulham forward clipped the ball past Collins after his superb diagonal run behind the defence which took him beyond Kitching was spotted by Roberts.

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