Coventry City didn’t move up a place but they put a crucial bit of distance between themselves and the bottom three with a huge three points against Rotherham United.
The Sky Blues’ impressive 3-1 St Andrew’s victory over the Millers means they’re now six points off third from bottom Wycombe Wanderers, whom they face at Adams Park next weekend.
It’s the first time they’ve won by two clear goals at home in the league since they beat Bristol Rovers 2-0 in August 2019.
Here are some of the big talking points and things we learned from what Mark Robins described as a brilliant Championship win.
Make no mistake, this was a huge three points.
City have had a difficult start to the Championship, having played all of the top seven sides so far, which meant that it was all the more important that they made up lost ground against the teams around and below them.
Rewind just over 12 months and the Sky Blues were taught a lesson by Rotherham at the New York Stadium where they were thumped 4-0, but on Saturday Coventry turned the tables with a convincing 3-1 victory that even United boss Paul Warne conceded, the scoreline flattered his side.
The result against a side who started the day just a point and place behind City will provide a real psychological boost ahead of a run of games against the Championship’s also-rans.
The second tier is an incredibly difficult and often unforgiving league and these are the games when City are on a level playing field with the opposition, against the teams who have also come up from League One.
And to come out on top so convincingly will work wonders for confidence.
Out Rotherhamed Rotherham
The Sky Blues have been bullied and out-muscled a couple of times in the first quarter of the season but on Saturday they gave an opposition a taste of their own medicine when they out Rotherhamed Rotherham!
Even Millers’ manager Paul Warne – a thoroughly decent bloke, by the way – sportingly admitted in his post match appraisal that the Sky Blues “bullied his side a little bit.”
As well as the big lads at the back putting in a no-nonsense display – led by the experienced head of Kyle McFadzean – the physicality ran right down the spine of the team with Liam Kelly superb in the middle of the park and Max Biamou immense up top against a side packed full of six plus footers.
Tip top two up top
The fans have been calling for Mark Robins to play two strikers up top for some time, and on Saturday it worked a treat as the Sky Blues more than matched Rotherham’s physicality.
As already mentioned, Biamou’s presence was exceptional and hugely influential, so much so that former City skipper and evergreen Richard Wood was withdrawn by his manager at the break.
As well as taking his goal with great composure, Max almost scored a second with a trademark overhead kick that the keeper pushed onto the post, and created chances for strike partner Tyler Walker, including having a hand in his goal.
And the exciting thing is that the pair struck up a terrific understanding, showing they have the potential to become a formidable partnership.
That has to be good news at a time when Matty Godden – the man Mark Robins calls the team’s talisman – is out injured indefinitely.
There may be times when City have to revert to playing just one to allow an extra man in midfield, but at least City have real tactical options that work to good effect, and can adapt to suit the situation.
Counter attack threat
City adopted an initial cautious approach against Rotherham who started the game with worrying intentions at St Andrew’s where they got at Mark Robins’s men from the kick-off.
But having successfully weathered the opening five minutes, the Sky Blues hit the visitors with a three-man counter attack (ball up from Ostigard, chest pass from Walker and control and finish from Biamou) in what was a smash and grab lead.
Countering at speed became a theme of City’s game as they quickly doubled their lead and, had it not been for goalkeeper Jamal Blackman, would have been 4-0 up by the break – the Millers’ stopper denying Biamou and Walker with good saves.
There is genuine pace in the side, and that’s on a day when rapid Ryan Giles was rested on the bench, with the likes of Walker, Callum O’Hare, Gus Hamer and Fanky Dabo all able to turn on the burners and cause real problems.
Work that goes unnoticed
Callum O’Hare was unplayable at times against Rotherham.
The livewire midfielder wreaked havoc from the first minute to the last in another impressive attacking contribution for the Sky Blues.
But the one area where he doesn’t always get the credit or recognition he deserves is his work off the ball.
This incredibly fit and mobile young player pressed from the front, tracked back to defend and help regain possession, blocked shots, tackled and generally make a complete nuisance of himself all over the pitch.
Able to defend near the corner flag one minute and race forward on the attack the next, his energetic and effervescent contribution cannot be underestimated.