Exeter City recorded a hard-earned three points against Coventry City with a 1-0 win at St James Park.
Ryan Harley's early strike was enough to win it for the home side who defended well to keep out a dangerous Coventry attack.
Match report sponosred by Speedy Freight
Paul Tisdale made two changes to the side that were beaten in the FA Cup by West Bromwich Albion last weekend, as Lee Holmes and Lloyd James came into the City starting XI.
It was the perfect start for the Grecians when they went ahead in the eighth minute with their first attempt at goal.
After a ball through the middle from James caused havoc in the Coventry defence, Lee Burge came out to clear but could only find Harley on the edge of the box. The midfielder then kept his composure excellently to loft the ball into the net to give the home side the advantage.
In a thrilling opening 15 minutes Coventry went close to levelling after a scramble in the Grecians’ area. After Jack Grimmer kept a corner alive he delivered the ball back in towards Marc McNulty, but amongst a crowd of bodies, he was unable to fashion a clear shot on goal.
Moments later Jayden Stockley was inches from scoring for City when he turned to shoot powerfully on the edge of the box, but his effort edged just wide of the top corner before Harley had another effort at goal which was blocked by the Sky Blues on the six-yard line.
In a combative first period, Christy Pym was called into action just minutes before half-time when Max Biamou was found in on goal with just the City keeper to beat. Credit to the City shot stopper, though, who did well to save from close range.
Following that chance the away side went close again through McNulty. After the Grecians were sloppy in defence, the Coventry striker went for goal on the edge of the box but could only shoot wide of Pym’s left-hand post.
But it was the home side who would have the last chance of the half when Dean Moxey’s free-kick rebounded to him before he struck a volley from distance, but Burge claimed the ball comfortably.
It was a high tempo start to the second period as well with City’s first chance coming when Jake Taylor burst into the box before his cross was turned away.
Minutes later the away side went close to levelling when they broke at speed with McNulty. The Coventry striker did well to get a shot away, but again, Pym was equal to it as he turned the ball away for a corner.
The away side continued to look for a way back into the match as they began to control possession in midfield. City had Pym to thank once again on 67 minutes when a Michael Doyle shot from the edge of the box came through a bunch of players before the City keeper did well to save down low.
The Grecians then had a very good chance to double their lead on 75 minutes through James. After good play from Lee Holmes, who poked the ball into the path of James, his effort from close range was saved low by Burge.
City had the chance to kill the game off with just five minutes to play when Harley delivered an excellent cross from the left which found substitute Hiram Boateng, who could only header straight at the Coventry keeper.
Despite their narrow advantage, City did well to frustrate their opponents with a resolute defensive display reducing Mark Robins side to half chances and attempts from distance as Tisdale's side held out for an important three points.
Exeter City: Pym, Sweeney, James, Archibald-Henville, Tillson, Harley, Holmes (Boateng, 80), Stockley, Seaborne (Woodman, 45), Moxey, Taylor
Subs not used: Jones, Simpson, McAlinden, Jay, Wilson
Coventry City: Burge, Grimmer, Stokes, Willis, Doyle, Biamou (Ponticelli, 69), McNulty, Davies, Maguire-Drew (Stevenson, 83), Shipley (Barrett, 78), Bayliss
Subs not used: O’Brien, McDonald, Beavon, Haynes
Attendance: 4,219 (Inc, 339, away)