Jones grabs late glory for Reds
Mike Jones was the hero with a late winner as Reds kicked off the new campaign with a breathless win over gallant Coventry.
The hosts were in charge at the break thanks to goals from Jamie Proctor (14 mins) and Joe Walsh.
But the visitors rallied after the break and were level with nine minutes to go thanks to close-range efforts from Callum Wilson and Franck Moussu.
Reds went again and Jones raced onto a sublime pass from Nicky Adams to slide home the winner with four minutes to go.
The game was a fantastic advert for League One football although it was probably a bit too open for the respective managers.
There could have been goals at both ends before the start as Wilson, twice, and Jones both saw shots blocked inside the first three minutes.
Play raged from end to end and when the breakthrough came it was a cracking goal from Proctor. The striker ran at the heart of the Coventry defence, side-stepped two defenders and
then hit a rising shot into the corner of the net with keeper Joe Murphy well beaten.
The goal invogorated the home side and when Murphy pushed a curling effort from Adams around the post Reds doubled their lead from the resultant corner as Walsh rose unchallenged at the far post to nod in Adams’ flag-kick.
Proctor could have added further goals before the break as two presentable chances went begging before the half ended with Jones bringing the best out in Murphy. Gary Alexander, starting in the absence of Billy Clarke whose wife had gone into labour, was a superb foil for his strike partner.
The second period began with the Sky Blues on the front foot and when they pulled a goal back on 59 minutes it was no more than they deserved. There was a hint of hand-ball in the build-up as Moussa teed up Wilson for a close-range finish.
The Sky Blues’ fans were now in full voice, although their number had been reduced in the first half when a minor pitch invasion held up play for a couple of minutes. About 15 away fans got on the pitch before order was restored although the incident would have left home supporters’ sympathy for Coventry’s off-the-field plight in short supply.
Proctor nearly got his second when he found the side-netting after an excellent cross-field pass by Adams but at that stage Coventry were looking the more likely to score the next goal and with eight minutes left it arrived when Reds failed to clear a corner and the impressive Moussa fired home from close range.
But there was to be one more twist. Two minutes later Adams broke down the left and his pin-point pass was perfect for the run of Jones who slid the ball under Murphy to provide the grandstand finish the game deserved.
Reds: P.Jones, Hurst, Sadler, McFadzean, Walsh, Adams, Bulman, Simpson, M.Jones (Torres 90+2), Proctor (Drury 77), Alexander. Unused subs: Maddison, Essam, Connolly.
Attendance: 3454 (1080 Coventry)