Biamou adds gloss to Sky Blues win
Brakes slumped to a 4-0 defeat in their first home friendly of pre-season in front of a Sky Blues-dominated crowd of 1,552, writes Paul Okey.
The League One visitors had the luxury of naming a fresh XI for each half and were even able to add to that with the late introduction of French striker Max Biamou.
Brakes, meanwhile, were shorn of several key players due to wedding commitments, with Paul Holleran giving a run out in midfield to a trialist and naming a youthful bench.
Summer signing Josh March announced himself to home fans with a reckless challenge on Sam McCallum which may have warranted a red on another day as Brakes found themselves struggling to hang on to possession in the opening skirmishes.
Ben Newey got a rare chance to impress in the absence of Tony Breeden and he was relieved to see a Connor Chaplin shot flash by his far post in the seventh minute.
Kyle McFadzdeen nodded a corner wide before Chaplin shot across the face of goal when well placed.
An opener for the Sky Blues looked on the cards but it was to come in a fortuitous manner, Gervane Kastaneer’s wild shot appearing to be heading well wide until striking a defender and diverting past Newey.
James Mace did force referee Robbie Dudley to get his book out after a wild challenge on Jamie Allen, with Jordan Shipley’s resultant free-kick deflecting past the far post.
A poor touch from Colby Bishop prevented him getting a shot away after a quick free-kick from Joe Clarke had put him in space on the corner of the City box and Brakes were made to pay shortly after when Shipley made it 2-0.
Brakes could only half-clear a cross and the Leamington-born midfielder needed no second invitation, sending a sweet drive past the despairing Newey from just outside the box.
Junior English was unable to steer a fierce header on target as Brakes looked for a response and an intelligent effort from Bishop just cleared the bar before play quickly broke to the other end and a last-ditch intervention deflected Kastaneer’s shot away from goal.
Three minutes before the break, the visitors made it 3-0, right back Josh Park arriving unmolested at the far post to chest down a deep cross and emphatically rifle the ball home.
A new-look Coventry City side came out for the second half but despite the fresh legs, they struggled to match the fluency of their first-half counterparts.
Credit has to go to a much more resilient performance from the home side who denied them space in midfield and prevented them getting as much joy down the flanks as they had enjoyed in the opening 45 minutes.
Kaiman Anderson and Kian Taylor were introduced for Leamington in the early stages of the second period in place of Connor Taylor and Callum Gittings and Anderson was quickly into the action, getting on the end of a deep cross from Cieron Keane. However, the pace was taken off his header by a covering defender and Marko Marosi gathered comfortably in the City goal.
Jonny Ngandu had a couple of efforts at goal for City before being replaced by Biamou who was making his return after almost a season out with injury,
Amadou Bakayoko headed just over for the visitors before an isolated Bishop was rewarded for his endeavour when he was picked out by a searching cross from the right. However, his diving header was too close to Marosi who produced a sprawling save to deny him.
Newey produced a similar save at the other end to keep out Liam Kelly from distance which was to prove the Brakes keeper’s final involvement as he was replaced by Matt Hill.
Hill was straight into the action with a strong parry before a brave save denied Biamou. However, with the home defence AWOL, Tom Bayliss latched on to the loose ball and was brought down by substitute keeper.
Biamou then marked his return with an confident penalty into the roof of the net to complete the scoring.