Tyler Walker’s brace boosted Coventry’s Championship survival hopes as they claimed a deserved 2-0 win over stuttering Brentford.
The promotion-chasing Bees headed into the clash at St Andrew’s in the midst of a wobble after two surprise defeats in a week to Barnsley and QPR. And news that they were missing 24-goal top scorer Ivan Toney with a minor ankle injury would have done little to improve the nerves of their fans. He was badly missed as the visitors lacked bite in forward areas, while a hard-working and positive Sky Blues side impressed in attack and defence.
Coventry, boosted by skipper Liam Kelly’s first start since December, went ahead from the penalty spot after 19 minutes. David Raya saved Maxime Biamou’s fierce strike but, from the rebound, Biamou was caught by Rico Henry inside the box. Walker stepped up and slotted the penalty under the Spanish keeper.
The home side started well again after the break, with Gustavo Hamer firing into the side-netting before they doubled their lead in the 55th minute. Callum O’Hare capitalised on sloppy defensive play and fed Walker, who turned smartly and fired low into the right-hand corner of Raya’s net.
Brentford made a triple change, with Josh Dasilva, Tarique Fosu and Henrik Dalsgaard brought on, but found clear chances hard to come by and it was Coventry who threatened a third as Dom Hyam went close from a corner. Dalsgaard prodded wide as the game entered the final 20 minutes and Dasilva saw an effort deflect over, but Coventry were comfortable and well worth their victory.
Meanwhile, the English Football League has expressed disappointment at the temporary halting of a loan payment to Championship clubs by the Treasury, but is hopeful a solution will be reached.
Teams in the second tier expected a £100m loan through the Bank of England to be paid on Friday to help finish the current season. However, earlier this week already-agreed terms of the financial bail-out package were changed by the government, who insisted on pay restrictions for “relevant individuals” to include players, not just board directors and senior executives.
It led to the EFL writing to Championship clubs on Thursday to provide an update on the situation and, while the delay is unwelcome, the overall expectation is the loan will be paid with proactive discussions taking place with the Treasury.
• Full round-up to follow later …