Burnley moved within two points of a place in the Championship play-off positions with only their fifth home league win of the season at Turf Moor last night.
Chris McCann gave the Lancashire side an advantage they never relinquished in the first half, with Steven Caldwell adding a late second with a header.
It provided Chris Coleman, Coventry City's new manager, with a reminder of the harsh realities of life in the Championship – Burnley on a windy midweek evening in February must have seemed a long way from Real Sociedad.
His team were unfortunate to come away from this game with nothing but, for all their possession, only once was Brian Jensen forced into serious action in the Burnley goal.
"You can't concede two goals from set pieces," Coleman said. "We've got to be meaner than that. I've played at this level and I've been to places like Burnley and I know what it takes. Now we go to Scunthorpe and that will be just as hard."
With both sides fielding five midfielders, the first half had little appeal as a spectacle. The home side went ahead after 20 minutes when Wade Elliott's deep corner found Caldwell. His header back across goal gave Kyle Lafferty the chance to shoot acrobatically. The Northern Irish forward failed to make significant contact but provided a sufficient diversion to allow McCann the space to shoot home emphatically.
In reply, Julian Gray had a goal disallowed moments later when he was rightly ruled offside. Coventry continued to press in the second half and Elliott Ward headed straight at Jensen from a corner. Then Leon Best gave Mifsud the chance to test Jensen, with the goalkeeper blocking his shot at the cost of a corner.
Burnley only rarely threatened but, with five minutes left, a corner from substitute Robbie Blake gave Caldwell the chance to guarantee three points.
"It wasn't one of our most fluent performances but then we played better on Saturday at Cardiff and lost, so that's the way it goes," said Owen Coyle, the Burnley manager. "It was an important three points because it pushes us up near the play-offs."
Burnley (4-5-1): Jensen; Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell, Harley; Elliott, O'Connor, Gudjonsson (Randall, 58), McCann, Lafferty (Blake, 78); Akinbiyi (Spicer, 89). Substitutes not used: Kiraly (gk), Unsworth.
Coventry City (4-5-1): Marshall; Osbourne, Ward, Hall, Fox; Mifsud, Thornton, Hughes, Tabb (Simpson, 70), Gray; Best. Substitutes not used: Konstantopoulos (gk), Dann, Birchall, Andrews.
Referee: A Bates (Staffordshire).Reuse content