Former Norwich City striker Leon McKenzie came back to haunt his former club by sealing his 100th career goal and securing three points for the Sky Blues on the opening day of the 2008/09 season.
Coventry City took the lead just after half-time thanks to a spot kick from Elliot Ward and McKenzie doubled the home sides advantage with five minutes to go giving Chris Coleman’s new look side a first day victory.
“It wasn’t a good performance but the desire and will to win were good. We were desperate at times and we’re a much better team than we showed today,” explained a relieved Coleman.
“Norwich should’ve got more from the game but our players had a ‘never say die’ attitude despite making some elementary mistakes which we never normally do.”
The Canaries, kitted in their familiar yellow colours, started the brightest and should have taken the lead with seven minutes played but winger Lee Croft was unable to connect with a dangerous across goal.
New boys Arturo Lupoli, on loan from Italian side Fiorentina and Sammy Clingan, a revelation for Nottingham Forests last season came close to breaking the deadlock as Norwich dominated a dull first half.
Chris Coleman’s side took the lead immediately after the re-start against the run of play and it was his first summer signing, Guillaume Beuzelin, was the architect. The Frenchman was fouled inside just inside the area and Elliot Ward made no mistake from the spot, firing home the Sky Blues first goal of the campaign.
The Canaries continued to press after having what looked a clear penalty dismissed by the man in black. Substitute Omar Koroma was denied an equalising goal by debutant goalkeeper Keiren Westwood. The youngster, signed from Carlisle in June, showed the Ricoh Arena crowd his credentials producing a superb reflex save.
The Sky Blues killed the game off thanks to the introduction of Leon McKenzie who secured a trademark 100th career goal against his former club. The impressive Clinton Morrison could only fire against the crossbar after being put clear on goal, but the rebound fell straight to the feet of McKenzie and the 29-year old fired home his milestone.
Afterwards, boss Chris Coleman was full of praise for the striker, who could have scored with his first touch, but had no sympathy about the penalty decisions made.
“I’m delighted for Leon. He came on and did well and was unlucky not score with his first touch. I thought Norwich should have had a penalty and perhaps we shouldn’t have, but I don’t feel sorry as we will be on the end of bad decisions this season.”
Coleman added, “It’s a good sign that we didn’t play well and still won the game.”
Attendance: 22, 607 (2421 away)
Westwood, Wright, Fox, Ward, Dann ©, Beuzelin, Tabb Eastwood, Gray, Gunnarsson, Morrison
Marshall, Shackell, Kennedy, Stefanovic, Croft, Clingan, Cureton, Hoolahan, Fotheringham ©, Lupoli, Omosuzi