Two goals in ten second half minutes condemned Lincoln City to a home defeat as Coventry City turned the game on its head at Sincil Bank.
After a well contested first half between two sides in and around the play-offs, the Imps were ahead at the break courtesy of Matt Rhead’s composed volley.
But Jodi Jones inspired Coventry’s comeback, scoring their equaliser before Duckens Nazon scored the winner ten minutes later, following up after Jones’ shot hit the bar.
In truth, it was a well deserved win for the visitors, who moved the ball well and had much the better of the second half.
Danny Cowley made three changes to his Lincoln side that beat Crewe last week, including the surprise omission of Elliott Whitehouse, who was replaced by Rhead.
It was a packed house at Sincil Bank, and nearly 1,500 travelling Coventry fans in good voice, combined with a sold out home end, made for a great atmosphere.
And it was the visitors who showed the first glimpse of an attacking threat. Just two minutes had passed when intricate passing involving Ryan Haynes and Michael Doyle down the left freed Jordan Shipley, whose square ball evaded everyone and Jones couldn’t make the most of the recycled ball.
Lincoln stopper Josh Vickers was then called into routine work to hold Mark McNulty’s effort from range, but the opening stages were largely even as both sides felt their way into the game.
On the quarter hour, Nathan Arnold’s flick into the box was well dealt with by the retreating Rod McDonald, who headed over his own bar, but real chances were few and far between early on.
Before the game, Cowley had noted Coventry’s impressive record of not conceding from a set piece this season but that was put to the test when Lincoln won a series of corners midway through the half. From the second came the best chance, when Sean Raggett’s goalbound header was touched on by Matt Green and the visiting defence cleared off the line.
From the resulting corner Coventry broke, and Jones’ good work down the right gave McNulty a chance but he was denied by the onrushing Vickers.
But shortly before the half hour mark, Rhead justified his recall to the side, the striker in space at the far post to guide home on the volley from Alex Woodyard’s fine pass and give the home side the lead.
The visitors responded well though, and forced forced Vickers into action straight away – a strong save denying Shipley’s powerful effort from 25 yards.
By this stage, the game had opened up and Green was crowded out in the six yard box as he tried to double the advantage.
Before half time, Max Biamou’s strike from range flew just over and Liam Kelly’s effort from ever further out was tipped over by a full stretch Vickers. From the resulting corner, the keeper was impressive again to deny McDonald at the far post.
Coventry’s long range efforts were a threat throughout the first half, and in stoppage time Jones cut inside only to see his left footed strike tipped over again.
Coventry boss Mark Robins introduced Nazon six minutes into the second half in the hope of bringing his side level, and he almost had an immediate impact. He’d been on the pitch for only a minute when he cut inside from the left and fired an effort towards the top corner which Vickers denied with a stunning save. McDonald met the resulting corner, but was again denied by the Lincoln ‘keeper.
The visitors had started the second half on top, and pulled themselves level on the hour. From a Lincoln corner, Rhead’s effort looked to be going out of play but didn’t. Lincoln switched off and Coventry broke at pace, culminating in Jones cutting in from the right and firing a fine strike into the bottom corner to give Vickers no chance.
The Imps almost responded immediately, and from Neal Eardley’s wide free kick, Green powered a header onto the bar and Anderson’s follow up was held by Lee Burge.
But Jones was a thorn in Lincoln’s side throughout, and the winger continued his impressive game by playing a key role in Coventry’s second on 71 minutes. He cut in from the right again but was twice denied, first by Vickers’ low save, and then by the crossbar on the rebound. The Sky Blues weren’t to be denied a third time, though, and Nazon drilled home from 12 yards to turn the game on its head.
Nazon was then denied a third by a strong Vickers save, after dancing his way through the defence.
As the clock ticked down, Coventry managed the game well and Lincoln’s sights of goal were sparse. Whitehouse had a tame header saved, but it was Coventry who came closest to a goal in the six minutes of stoppage time when Vickers tipped wide from Nazon.
And the visitors held on for the win that keeps them in the play-off positions, while Lincoln drop to tenth.
Lincoln: Josh Vickers, Sean Long, Matt Rhead (Elliott Whitehouse 69), Matt Green, Rob Dickie, Michael Bostwick, Neal Eardley, Sean Raggett, Harry Anderson (Ollie Palmer 78), Nathan Arnold (Cameron Stewart 76), Alex Woodyard. Subs not used: Paul Farman, Sam Habergham, Luke Waterfall, Billy Knott
Goal: Matt Rhead (27)
Coventry: Lee Burge, Jordan Willis, Rod McDonald, Liam Kelly, Michael Doyle, Max Biamou, Mark McNulty (Duckens Nazon 51), Jodi Jones, Tom Davies, Ryan Haynes, Jordan Shipley (Chris Stokes 89). Subs not used: Liam O’Brien, Peter Vincenti, Dominic Hyam, Callum Maycock, Jordan Ponticelli
Goal: Jodi Jones (61), Duckens Nazon (71)
Attendance: 9,581 (1,460 visitors)Tweet