Upson double sinks Sky Blues

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Ed Upson – mkdons.com

Had the suspended Marvin Sordell played up top for Coventry City on Saturday afternoon, it seems likely that they would have secured at least a draw, rather than fall to the 2-1 defeat they suffered. Sordell provides pace, athleticism, bravery and a willingness to chase initial balls into the box, qualities replacement Marcus Tudgay lacked.

The former Derby forward wanted to drop deep, to peel off to the back-post and occupy less obvious positions. That mind-set has its place, so long is there is another striker busting a gut to get to the first balls into the box.

The absence of that type of striker was the only thing stopping Coventry from capitalizing in an otherwise impressive first half. Kyel Reid made some good runs down the left but his crosses were not attacked, making life comfortable for centre-backs Paul Downing and Joe Walsh. Therefore, the hosts relied on snapshots from outside the box from the likes of Gael Bigirimana and Ben Stevenson.

Bigirimana made some powerful runs in the first half while Stevenson showed some nice touches. By contrast, MK Dons’ midfield could not get a handle on the game, or provide the right supply for the attacking trio of Kieran Agard, Dean Bowditch and Daniel Powell, who became increasingly isolated.

Out of nowhere, they opened the scoring. Dean Lewington had struggled against Jodi Jones defensively but played a pinpoint cross for Upson, who glanced home on 35 minutes, though Coventry responded three later. David Martin’s distribution has long been criticized and his mishit clearance fell to Stevenson, who curled the ball beyond him with an excellent first time effort.

Given the intent Mark Venus’ side showed late on in the half, Jones coming close within a minute of MK Dons kicking off, one expected more Coventry dominance after the interval. Instead, the space in behind Jordans Willis and Turnbull, who lacked the power ideally required from centre-backs, was exploited by Agard, who hit the bar when one-on-one.

Dion Kelly-Evans had offered attacking width in the first half but his defensive struggles were exacerbated when Ryan Colclough came on. The ex-Crewe youngster, along with the impressive Ben Reeves, changed the game. They were helped on 74 minutes, when Stevenson was sent off for a high challenge on Lewington.

MK Dons capitalized when Coventry failed to clear the ball in their box and Upson got his second goal, finishing from close range. With 10 men, the hosts did not put up a fight and ultimately paid for a lack of physicality and bravery in both boxes.

A fourth straight defeat for Coventry signals the end of Venus’ ‘honeymoon period’, and 11 wins in 42 marks them out as definite relegation contenders. MK Dons at least climb out of the relegation zone, providing some brief respite in a turbulent time for the club.

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