The Wrap: Huddersfield Town – 4-0

Beset by injuries and a packed fixture list, Coventry City defied the darkening mood around the team’s play-off chances this season by romping to victory away to a hapless Huddersfield Town side.

There was little between the two teams, especially in a first-half of few chances. However, a Huddersfield mistake, a poor back-pass from their centre-back, Michal Helik, was pounced upon by Viktor Gyokeres to dink over the opposing keeper to hand the Sky Blues a half-time lead from which they never turned back.

The game was over early in the second-half, firstly with Gustavo Hamer finding space in the penalty area before beating Huddersfield Town’s Nicholas Bilokapic at the near-post. Soon after, Hamer sent through Viktor Gyokeres to finish past the tall, Australian. goalkeeper for 3-0.

A final gloss was applied to the scoreline when Gyokeres ran at the Terriers’ defence in the final minutes of stoppage time, before setting up substitute Tyler Walker for a tap-in for 4-0.

Ruthless Hamer & Gyokeres Make It A Rout

Looking at the raw statistics, and leaving the final score to one side, there really wasn’t much in this game between the two teams. Coventry City just about edged possession, Huddersfield Town had one more shot than the Sky Blues, even if it was the away side who had more shots on target. Had it not been for such a one-sided scoreline, Huddersfield might have been able to come out of the game feeling they had competed well against a team much higher up in the table than them.

There was a clear reason (or, reasons), however, why the final score tells a different story to the general flow of the game, and that was the presence of Gustavo Hamer and Viktor Gyokeres in Sky Blue shirts. The duo were absolutely ruthless in this game, especially when they got into the final third, directly involved in each of the four goals. Perhaps Huddersfield Town would have been minded to pay closer attention to them, the end result being a cruel lesson in what happens when you let your concentration slip against two truly devastating footballers.

For Viktor Gyokeres, the clinical touch he showed in this game demonstrates his growth into a leading man in attack over the course of the season. His first goal might have been the result of an opposition error, but his calmness in dinking a one-on-one shot over the keeper is something that he has lacked in similar situations previously. In a tight first-half, that composure was vital in allowing Coventry City to spend the rest of the game in a disciplined shape to await further opportunities to punish a meek Huddersfield side.

Gustavo Hamer, having spent most of the game hand-holding two inexperienced team-mates in the centre of the park and taking responsibility for much of the team’s creative and defensive work in midfield, was then able to make a driving run into the penalty area to finish past the Huddersfield Town goalkeeper at his near-post early in the second-half to effectively kill the game off as a contest. To be able to produce a moment like that having taken on such a big workload throughout the 90 minutes is especially impressive.

The third goal epitomised the dual importance of Gustavo Hamer and Viktor Gyokeres as Coventry City’s leading men. It began with Gustavo Hamer reading the play in midfield to intercept a pass, then instantly spot the opportunity to slide Viktor Gyokeres through on goal, with the Swede again showing an encouragingly ruthless touch to finish. Gyokeres then helped put a final gloss on the scoreline, driving at the Huddersfield defence in the depths of injury time to set up Tyler Walker for a tap-in.

Coventry City ended up easing to victory in a convincing manner in this game, thanks almost entirely to Viktor Gyokeres and Gustavo Hamer. It wasn’t a dominant display from the Sky Blues, instead, it was a match that came down to moments, moments which were both created and finished via the quality of two truly outstanding players.

Eccles & Howley Put In Solid Midfield Displays

With Jamie Allen, Kasey Palmer, Ben Sheaf and Liam Kelly all currently missing as options in central midfield, Mark Robins has elected to take the risk of throwing two youngsters, in Josh Eccles and Ryan Howley, into the firing line to plug the gaps. While Eccles has been close to the first-team for several years, he remains a relatively inexperienced footballer, leaving the concern of what the midfield would look like if another, even more inexperienced footballer, was added to the mix in that area. It is the credit of both players’ that their inexperienced was not apparent in this game.

This felt like an important step forward for Josh Eccles in particular, as he passed the baton of the team’s most inexperienced midfield player to Ryan Howley. Without doing anything particularly eye-catching, Eccles showed great industry throughout this game to both compete for the ball and keep possession circulating when it was won. Eccles kept things ticking over nicely when there had been a danger of being outcompeted by an energetic and desperate Huddersfield Town side.

For Ryan Howley, this game represented a smaller, but no less important, step forward. In his one previous league appearance for the club, as a late substitute with the team losing away at Nottingham Forest towards the end of last season, he looked incredibly nervous, gave the ball away a few times and then retreated completely into his shell. On his first start for the club, he competed well for the ball, showed a few decent touches and even got a shot away. He added to the team’s presence in midfield and was impressively unaffected by picking up a yellow card in the first-half.

The caveat is, of course, that the duo were aided in their efforts by the brilliance of Gustavo Hamer alongside them, which removed a lot of the pressure on them to create or impose themselves on Huddersfield Town. The next test is what they are capable of when the kind of big moments that Hamer and Gyokeres had in this game fall their way – for Eccles, especially, as he is further established as a first-team player – but Eccles and Howley did exactly what was needed of them in this game at a time when Mark Robins was almost all out of options in midfield.

Other Things That Were Nice To See

One of the other positive things to come from this game was seeing Fankaty Dabo look much more energetic and free in his movement than he has in well over a year. It has been quite sad to see how much physical capacity Dabo appeared to have lost in some of his performances earlier in the season, having previously been such an industrious performer at wing-back on either side of the ball. To see Dabo commit to challenges and drive forward with the ball so confidently was really pleasing to see.

It is far too early, nonetheless, to describe Fankaty Dabo as back to his best, but this was a performance that outlined that he is capable of contributing to the first-team if his fitness can be correctly managed. Whether it is possible for Dabo, at some point further in the future, to become a regular starter once again remains to be seen. His display here was a tantalising reminder of how complete of a presence at wing-back Dabo was at his best for Coventry City.

The other nice thing to see in this game was Tyler Walker coming off the bench to score. He is a player that has come in for a lot of criticism over the past two seasons for not impressing in what has largely been a series of 10-minute cameo appearances in place of either Viktor Gyokeres and Matt Godden. It’s not an easy role to play, especially when Walker was dropped last season in somewhat baffling circumstances after scoring in back-to-back starts.

It might have been a tap-in for Tyler Walker at the end of a game that Coventry City were winning anyway, but it was a reward for continuing to plug away in both training and those graveyard shifts in place of Gyokeres and Godden over the past two seasons. If this can provide him with a boost to his confidence, it could provide the Sky Blues with another contributor in attack at a time there are few alternatives.

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