Coventry hold landlords Birmingham to draw at St Andrew’s
Coventry kept only their second Sky Bet Championship clean sheet of the season as they fought out an uninspiring 0-0 derby draw with landlords Birmingham at St Andrew’s.
In the first league meeting between the sides since Coventry, who had conceded a league-high 23 goals in 11 games, began ground-sharing with Blues last year, chances were few and far between throughout.
Birmingham striker Lukas Jutkiewicz wasted the game’s best opportunities, sending one close-range header wide and seeing another superbly tipped on to the bar by Coventry goalkeeper Marko Marosi.
The draw halted a sequence of two successive defeats for each side before the international break, as Coventry registered a first clean sheet since their September 26 stalemate at Barnsley.
They partly had Jutkiewicz to thank for that as the Blues striker spurned a great opening only 14 minutes in, nodding wide unmarked from Mikel San Jose’s excellent cross to the back post.
Coventry then went close in bizarre fashion nine minutes later as Tyler Walker stole in between Harlee Dean and Marc Roberts to guide Liam Kelly’s high ball goalwards with his chin, but Blues keeper Neil Etheridge stuck out his left hand to make an excellent instinctive save.
Those were the only real chances of a forgettable first half, although Blues, who edged an FA Cup replay between the sides on penalties last season, looked livelier leading into the break.
Jutkiewicz just failed to reach Jeremie Bela’s fizzed cross and George Friend ended a driving run by drilling wide from 25 yards.
Coventry, again without injured top scorer Matt Godden, threatened first after the interval as a fierce Walker shot cannoned off a Birmingham defender, but Callum O’Hare could only shank the loose ball wide from a tight angle.
Blues enjoyed the better of the rest of the half, but their troubles in front of goal continued as they failed to add to the nine they had scored in their previous 11 games.
Ivan Sunjic fired a cross-shot wide on 65 minutes and Marosi did well to smother a 30-yard San Jose daisy-cutter that took a slight nick off a Coventry defender a few minutes later.
Marosi made an even better stop eight minutes from time, diverting a Jutkiewicz header from Maxime Colin’s cross on to the crossbar from point-blank range.
That secured a point and a clean sheet for the ‘hosts’, although they did have to survive another scare when Jutkiewicz mistimed a sliding finish from Ivan Sanchez’s low cross to stab well wide.
The deadlock temporarily lifted Blues three places to 14th before Saturday’s fixtures, while Coventry remained 21st, two points above the bottom three after just one win in 10 games.