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Callum O’Hare double fires Coventry to win over Birmingham

Callum O’Hare scored his first goals since a long-term injury lay-off (Nick Potts/PA)
Callum O’Hare scored his first goals since a long-term injury lay-off (Nick Potts/PA)

Callum O’Hare netted a brace as Coventry beat Birmingham 2-0 at the CBS Arena.

The former Aston Villa midfielder had not scored for over 18 months after suffering a serious knee injury on Boxing Day last year and was starting just his second game since returning from injury.

The 25-year-old opened the scoring after he was played in by Milan van Ewijk before his superb solo goal made the three points safe in the second half.

O’Hare’s goals also meant Mark Robins’ men claimed their second consecutive home win, moving them above Blues and up to 14th in the table.

Blues’ woes under Wayne Rooney continued as Birmingham were handed their sixth loss in nine games since the former Manchester United striker replaced John Eustace and had John Ruddy to thank that the deficit was kept to one for the majority of the second half.

The visitors had started positively when Coventry failed to clear their lines and Krystian Bielik’s effort was saved by Brad Collins.

Collins had to be on hand again a minute later to keep Juninho Bacuna’s effort at bay.

Coventry started to get a foothold in the game midway through the first half and looked a threat down the right through Van Ewijk, whose cross found O’Hare but his effort was beaten away by Ruddy.

Robins’ side opened the scoring on the half-hour mark when Van Ewijk and O’Hare combined again before the 25-year-old held off the challenge of Lee Buchanan to stab his effort in at the near post in front of over 26,000 spectators in the CBS Arena.

The Sky Blues then had appeals for a penalty waved away when the ball struck Koji Miyoshi on the arm before half-time.

Coventry went in search of a second after the break as Haji Wright had a hat-trick of chances to extend the lead.

Firstly, the American met Van Ewijk’s pinpoint cross but his downward header was comfortable for Ruddy, who then bravely blocked Wright’s second effort with his face a minute later after the forward beat Bacuna down the left.

Ruddy was called into action again when he gathered Wright’s low effort after he cut inside from the left for a second time after O’Hare’s delightful outside-of-the-foot pass.

Van Ewijk was next to test Ruddy’s resolve when his powerful free-kick was clawed away by the former Norwich keeper before Tatsuhiro Sakamato’s effort was also kept out.

O’Hare completed his brace and gave Coventry breathing space on 77 minutes with a superb solo effort.

Dancing across the box, terrified Birmingham defenders watched on as O’Hare blasted in his second to complete a memorable night for the Sky Blues midfielder.