Carlisle United got back to business following their weather enforced weekend break with a trip to Sixfields, the temporary home of nomads Coventry City, and they brushed aside a recent worrying run of six straight away defeats to pick up a vital and very welcome three points.
The Cumbrians halted their slip towards the bottom four recently with two impressive home victories but their search for consistency has consistently faltered on the road making this result, against one of the division’s stronger sides, even more satisfying.
Coventry have had their own problems as a surge up the table was temporarily paused by two unexpected defeats against lesser opposition and their play-off credentials are under scrutiny once more following this latest disappointment.
Both sides were quick into the tackle on the spongy surface and Carlisle went close to drawing first blood when Redmond whipped a deep free kick into the box. Potts got there but his header was easy to save.
The Sky Blues responded with a good spell of pressure and a cross from Fleck caused problems as it bounced awkwardly in the area. Moussa had to measure his shot and Pickford watched it all the way.
Carlisle looked the better side as they took the game to their hosts and a flick from Drennan left Miller all alone with the ball at his feet. It was a tight angle and he rifled a bending shot harmlessly into the side netting.
Clear cut chances were hard to come by despite the dominance in play and the Cumbrians were made to pay for not making more of their good start when Franck Moussa swung a hopeful ball into the box. Meppen-Walter cleared it but Baker pounced to put Akpom in control. Moussa had followed the passage of play forward and he got his reward as a deft touch left him with the simple task of sweeping the ball under Pickford and into the bottom corner.
Confidence suddenly flowed through the hosts and Petrasso and Christie tested Pickford with shots from distance which had to be dealt with. A strong finish to the first half from Coventry had the United fans behind the goal biting their nails as danger man Cyrus Chrisitie twisted and turned to complete a fizzing cross. Pickford punched it high into the air and he had to be up quickly on his feet as a follow up header from Webster threatened to creep in just under the bar.
Coventry should have doubled their lead within a minute of the restart when Akpom twisted and turned his way to the byline. His cut back found Baker but he lost his balance as he tried to turn and shoot and he dragged it well wide.
The visitors kept their composure and they were back on level terms with their first attack of the second period when Potts beat his man and left him for dead on the halfway line. Miller took over, and back heeled it to Redmond, who then had the presence of mind to put a shot on a plate for Liam Noble. He kept his cool and finished off a wonderful move in some amount of style from just inside the box.
Carlisle kept coming and they grabbed their deserved lead when substitute Sam Byrne, who had been on the pitch for just two minutes, capitalised as he was played clean through. It was a difficult angle but he lifted it over Murphy as he advanced off his line.
Carlisle looked good for their lead but they were reminded there was still work to do when Chimbonda shepherded a high ball into the area away for a corner. McGeouch got it in at the second attempt and Meppen-Walter had to stretch to head it clear.
And there was more drama to come as a wicked cross found Akpom just six yards out with the goal at his mercy. His header had back of the net written all over it until Pickford somehow pulled off an unbelievable save to deny the hosts a late share of the spoils.
Coventry City - Murphy, Christie, Webster, Seaborne, Clarke, Thomas, Fleck (Daniels 73), Baker (McGeouch 73), Moussa, Akpom, Petrasso. Subs - Willis, Haynes, Barton, Mauno, Burge.
Carlisle United - Pickford, Chimbonda, O’Hanlon, Meppen-Walter, Robson, Ekangamene, Noble (Chantler 87), Potts, Redmond (Amoo 79), Drennan (Byrne 67), Miller. Subs - Fleming, Symington, Guy, Novo.
Goals: Coventry City – Moussa (32); Carlisle United – Noble (55), Byrne (69).
Bookings: Coventry City – Webster (71); Carlisle United – Meppen-Walter (47).
Ref: Mr Stephen Bratt