Coventry City 3-2 Blackpool Player Ratings: subs shine

Jobello celebrates the equalizer (with thanks to the Coventry City photographer) –

Callum O’Hare became Coventry City’s hero on Saturday afternoon, coming off the bench to bag the winner to maintain the Sky Blues’ 100% winning record at St Andrews, whilst condemning Blackpool to a first league defeat of the campaign. Here’s our Player Ratings from the game.

Coventry City

Marko Marosi – the former Doncaster goalkeeper was not notably at fault for either goal; he was unlucky that the outfielders looked disorganized at those moments. While Marosi’s distribution looked risky at times, it was key to the way Coventry built their play from the back and ultimately tired Blackpool out. 6

Fankaty Dabo – the right-back had a difficult game last week at Oxford, where he had a hand in one goal but also scored two own goals – but the fact he started again here shows that manager Mark Robins has belief in him and that seemed to help his confidence. Dabo’s marking was suspect for the opener, but he made some good runs in from the right channel and was involved in the build-up to the winner. Perhaps, to get as good a right-back as Dabo is going forward at this level, one must make some allowances for the odd defensive lapse? 7
Kyle McFadzean – the centre-back, who missed the last home game through a knock, did reasonably well on his return to the side after a mixed start to the season. McFadzean played a nice diagonal to Godden for Coventry’s first goal and, in the first half, he made one or two driving runs between Nuttall and Gnanduillet to get things going. 6
Michael Rose – the centre-back’s quality of passing so far this season has not been quite at the level that was perhaps reported from Scotland when he initially signed from Coventry. The team looked short of an experienced leader at the back, too, although that is perhaps a collective issue rather than necessarily something to blame Rose for. 5
Sam McCallum – the 19-year-old was forced to start at right-back in the last home game, when Dabo was sidelined and has done enough to maintain his place in the XI in his more natural position of left-back. Fared ok and put in the cross that led to Coventry’s second goal, although he also looked a touch nervy early on – Brandon Mason may be at a more advanced stage of development. 5

Liam Walsh – the Bristol City loanee made his debut by replacing the injured Liam Kelly in the starting line-up – and we saw both cons and pros of that switch. In the first half, Coventry missed Kelly’s tenacity and leadership – Walsh was unable to block Nuttall’s route to pockets of space in front of the defence in the lead-up to Pool’s second goal. In fairness to Walsh, though, he probably has more about him than Kelly from a technical perspective and when the visitors were not challenging him so much, he had the space to dictate play with real class. 7
Zain Westbrooke – the young midfielder showed some positive attributes; he at times dropped deep to start attacks, but then he also made intelligently-timed forward runs and linked play very nicely – especially in the first half. After the interval, Coventry needed a midfielder making slightly braver runs that Westbrooke was into the final third and from that perspective, taking him off with just over a quarter-hour to play was the right decision from Mark Robins. 6
Jordan Shipley – with Tom Bayliss now at Preston, Shipley seems to have gone from being a diligent wide midfielder who tucks in to provide balance, to somebody relishing that extra freedom to break into the central pockets before anyone else. The Irishman did a job when Bayliss was around, but on today’s evidence, he is reaching a new level of performance – not only is he showing a willingness to embrace the combative side of the game, but he is also linking play well. Set pieces were hit and miss, though. 7

Wesley Jobello – Mark’s Martinican maestro made key contributions when involved in general play; powerful, direct runs down the right-flank, pin-point crosses and even an aerial threat that made him a key out-ball – Jobello more than deserved his goal just before half-time. Much like the previous home game against Gillingham, Jobello drifted out of the contest slightly towards the end and perhaps, he might have chipped in more defensively in the lead-up to Pool’s opener – then again, if he was always switched on and had a higher rate of involvement, he’d be playing at a higher level. 7
Matt Godden – considering the turbulent summer that Godden has had for various reasons, he can be pleased with his early-season performances for Coventry and certainly his display here. The former Peterborough striker ran the channels selflessly, grafted hard and linked play with Hiwula effectively, whilst always looking to pose an aerial threat when crosses and diagonal balls came in so deserved his goal. Tired slightly towards the end. 7
Jordy Hiwula – the wide forwards direct running, his determination to get right-footed shots away, made him a real threat. The Manchester City academy graduate has lacked awareness in previous games but this individual display represented an improvement in that regard; Hiwula showed the composure to lay off for Jobello for the equalizer and then tee up O’Hare for the winner. If he can maintain this new intelligent dimension to his game, he has a chance of pushing on towards a Championship career. 8

Callum O’Hare (on 73) – the attacking midfielder has looked bright so far for Coventry, both from the bench and in his EFL Trophy start in midweek – so it was no surprise that he had a huge impact on the game once again. O’Hare made braver runs, deeper into the final third than the man he replaced and, at a time where the team’s play was in some danger of going slightly stale, he injected fresh energy. Took his goal very well and could be a real asset this year. 9
Gervane Kastaneer (on 90) – the exciting wide forward was only on the pitch for injury-time and yet, he managed to almost cram what we might expect from a 90-minute performance into that tiny timeframe – just because of his raw pace, power and determination to influence the game wherever possible and he looks a real asset on the counter-attack. The key thing for Mark Robins will be to use him wisely and at times sparingly, so as not to quell the frenetic aspect of his performances that clearly makes him what he is. 8
Dominic Hyam (on 90)- the centre-back was arguably unlucky to lose his place to McFadzean, after a good performance in the previous home game. Should McFadzean or Rose become unavailable, Hyam looks ready to pounce. 6


Jak Alnwick – it seems harsh to blame Alnwick too much, because he made six saves here and was beaten by three close-range finishes – and yet, in the case of Coventry’s first goal and to a lesser extent the other two, he was beaten in an area of the goal that he might feel he could have reached. Often went long from goal-kicks, without the team necessarily having a centre-forward who relishes competing aerially for high balls from deep. 5

Oliver Turton – the utility man played at right-back in a 4-2-2-2, although sometimes moved closer to a right-sided centre-back role when the formation switched to a 3-4-1-2. Lacked the defensive presence to convince as a centre-back and did not offer much going forward as a right-back, so it was difficult to pin-point precisely which qualities he brought to Blackpool’s performance. 4
Ryan Edwards – the centre-back did not dominate in the air as much as a centre-back, especially one in a Simon Grayson team, really needs to – Edwards often was not on the same wavelength as Tilt. The ex-Argyle man’s place could come under threat for next week’s hosting of MK Dons – Heneghan looks the favourable option. 4
Curtis Tilt – the ex-Wrexham centre-back made a slight error for Coventry’s second goal, when he missed his bold, attempted header from McCallum’s cross – him being out of position had a knock-on affect. If Tilt was at times rash here, though, it might have stemmed from frustration at either a lack of bravery from a fellow centre-back or perhaps the midfield dropping off too much. Maybe Blackpool needed Tilt to be more restrained, or maybe they needed more players as aggressive as he was – either way, the 28-year-old was not quite defending on the same wavelengths as his teammates and that looked like a problem. 5
James Husband – the left-back tried his best going forward and made some intelligent overlapping runs, without really providing the athleticism to make a meaningful contribution. Held his position as best he could but sometimes struggled to cope with the direct running of Jobello. 5

Callum Guy – the midfielder is tidy in possession – he linked play quite nicely on one or two occasions – and has a reasonable work ethic. However, when playing as part of a double-pivot, especially in the defensive phase, one needs more than work ethic – one needs strength and aggression, neither of which seemed to come naturally to Guy, who might prefer being part of a three-man midfield. This is a tactical problem which might be relevant to the personnel available because Matty Virtue-Thick, the midfielder on the bench, would have probably have experienced the same problems. 4
Jay Spearing – the one-time Liverpool youngster was by far Blackpool’s most influential player last season and remains that this term; his leadership and tenacity helps him exert his authority at times – even when there’s question marks over the wider setup – and Spearing used the ball well too, with some accurate passes out to Feeney in the early stages. Had Blackpool possessed a clone of Jay Spearing in midfield next to the real one, they might have had more joy. 7

Liam Feeney – at Championship level, Feeney has previously been seen as a one-dimensional, classic right-winger with few qualities beyond direct running. Relative to League One, he has perhaps a touch more quality about him and was a valuable outlet here, especially in the first half. Feeney produced an accurate cross from the right for Kaikai’s opener, then teed up the same player for the second – although he did wane in influence thereon. 6
Sullay Kaikai – at Southend, the attacking midfielder was the one dribbling between lines and creating for the forwards but here, he was the one putting the finishing touches to the attacking moves – that was how the ex-Cambridge man bagged a first half brace. Kaikai showed great awareness to clip a right-footed volley inside the far post just 57 seconds in, before tapping home a simple second from close-range. 7

Joe Nuttall – the energetic forward looked lively in the first half and seemed to be the one carrying Blackpool’s counter-attacks; he went dragged one shot just wide of the near-post from a first half breakaway, then did most of the leg work in the led-up to Kaikai’s second when he managed to get in behind Walsh. Seemed to carry a threat and pressed when given the encouragment to do so – although he did give the ball away a few times, too. 6
Armand Gnanduillet – the striker had scored five goals in the first seven games this season – and the key reason for that had been the team’s ability to put accurate crosses into him at the back-post from high up the pitch. For much of this game the midfield was a long way apart from Gnanduillet, so while the ex-Chesterfield man did well to keep the ball in play and drag back for the second, he was largely a peripheral figure. 5

Ben Heneghan (on 67) – Pool fans were delighted when Heneghan re-joined, after a loan spell from Sheffield United last season and it was surprising that he was on the bench here, because when he came on he helped stabilize matters for the Seasiders with his assurance and knowhow. 6
Nathan Delfouneso (on 67) – like Heneghan, Delfouneso helped stabilize things briefly -the energetic, versatile forward offered more mobility in central, forward areas than Gnanduillet and – temporarily at least – that aided Blackpool’s pressing. 6
Ryan Hardie (on 80) – the Rangers loanee got a positive reception from the Blackpool fans, but was unable to repay their affection in his short time on the field – because the team was coming under increasing Coventry pressure. 5