Mark Robins toasts ‘a special day’ as Coventry win to boost their play-off hopes

·3-min read
Barrington Coombs/PA Wire

Mark Robins hailed Coventry’s 2-0 win over Birmingham ‘a special day’ as they strengthened their hold on a play-off place in the Sky Bet Championship in front of a record crowd at the CBS Arena.

Josh Eccles’ first career goal set Coventry on their way inside three minutes before Viktor Gyokeres’ penalty doubled the lead before half-time.

“I’m very proud. In a nutshell I think the whole day was a special day,” said Robins.

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“From the first attack we’ve gone 1-0 up and that gets the big crowd’s tails up and it was really loud, it was akin to Wembley.

“Second goal was a penalty with some really good play, it touched the lad’s hand and that’s it.

“We created a number of chances in the second half and we had one disallowed for offside…but the move for that reminded me of Dean Saunders.

“They look really confident and they have done for a while, at the start of the season we couldn’t get our legs going. Three points after seven games and what has come after it has been incredible.

“Twenty clean sheets is phenomenal and 40 points at home again is fantastic when you look back to the start of this campaign.”

The victory, which extended Coventry’s run to one defeat in 16 matches, means they travel to Middlesbrough on the final day knowing a win will book a play-off place.

Robins said: “There’s an opportunity that we’ve put ourselves in a really good position, so can we finish the job off?

“Whatever we need to do it will be in our hands to do it. It’s a really tough place to go to, Middlesbrough.

“If we can put a performance together then who knows? There’s teams behind us who think they can do that and they’ll be going all out to do that too. It’s a brilliant league and it’s been a brilliant year.”

Birmingham boss John Eustace focused on his side’s poor start, admitting his disappointment in his side that found themselves 1-0 down inside the first five minutes.

He said: “We’re a team that matches the opposition’s intensity when we play against them and at the start of the game we just weren’t at the races.

“We didn’t match their intensity, which is the disappointing thing, and to go a goal down against a top team in the league who are in a real good moment is tough.

“The penalty decision which came just before half-time I thought was extremely harsh, then it’s obviously always a tough task to go in 2-0 down before half-time.

“In the second half, fair play to the boys, we huffed and puffed without really causing them any problems. It was a tough afternoon.”

Eustace, in Coventry’s side when they were relegated from the Premier League in 2001, was also sent to the stands by referee James Linnington at half time following his complaints after the decision to award Coventry a penalty.

He explained: “My emotions got a little too much. I was probably still a little disappointed with the way we conceded the first goal and then the referee to give that decision…

“I don’t think he gave us any decisions, to be fair, in the first half so the way he gave the penalty decision was a real tough one to take and I can’t have just spoken to him about that.”

Eustace also claimed his former side would have a good shot at the play-offs if they were to secure a top-six place.

“It’s a proper way to build a football club. They’ve done it the right way and they’ve been patient, it’s a great story.”