Former Portsmouth target Matty Godden seals late Coventry winner to end Blues' record-breaking run
Pompey’s winning run came to an abrupt end as they suffered late agony at promotion-rivals Coventry.
And it was former Blues target Matt Godden who inflicted the damage on 84 minutes, as he scored the only goal of the game at St Andrew’s within two minutes of coming on as a substitute.
Pompey fell asleep at a throw-in deep in their own half as the game looked destined for a goalless draw.
And the striker made them pay for it by diverting the ball past Pompey keeper Alex Bass with a smart finish.
The Blues dropped a place in the table as a result of their first defeat in all competitions since the turn of the year.
It also handed one of their promotion rivals a major boost in their pursuit of Championship football as Pompey’s recent impressive form of nine consecutive wins came to an end.
On a cold night in Birmingham, neither side warmed the hands of their respective supporters in the first half as they struggled to create any clear-cut chances.
The Sky Blues certainly came out on top in terms of efforts on goal - but they all came from long range as the Pompey defence kept them at arms’ length.
Liam Walsh’s effort on six minutes from outside the box forced Blues keeper Alex Bass to save low to his left.
However, the shot was never troubling the Blues youngster.
A superb ball infield from Fankaty Dabo then presented Callum O’Hare with the time and space to test Bass once again with 15 minutes on the clock.
But his daisy-cutter was deflected for a corner, before the Coventry threat fizzled out again.
A booking for Cameron McGeehan on 19 minutes following a foul on former Pompey loanee Dom Hyman turned attention to the other end of the pitch, with Kenny Jackett’s side struggling to impose themselves in their attacking third.
And as the visitors’ passing proved increasingly wayard, it offered further chances for Coventry to at least keep their goal attempts on the rise.
Again, both Walsh and O’Hare had glimpses of goal from outside the box - but there was nothing produced to really test Bass.
As the game passed the half-hour mark, Pompey’s attacking threat rose, sparked by Ronan Curtis’ quick-thinking to block Coventry keeper Marko Marosi’s clearance.
But the Blues were unable to benefit - a similar result when the ball fell to Ben Close on the edge of the box on 37 minutes, with his effort from long range well off target.
And with both teams struggling to produce anything meaningful in the opposition box, it was no supise to see Jamie Allen’s effort from 20 yards drift over the bar.
The second half proved a livelier affair, with both sides upping the tempo.
McGeehan saw his shot blocked on 52 minutes, after Close did well to win the ball back halfway in the Sky Blues half.
Allen dragged his shot wide from the edge of the Blues box a minute later, while Amadou Bakayoko was unable to get on the end of the midfielder’s superb cross immediately afterwards.
Keen to secure a 10th win in a row, Pompey made their intentions clear on 63 minutes with a double substitution that saw Ellis Harrison and Marcus Harness replace John Marquis and Ryan Williams.
And within seconds the alert Ellis forced a fine point-blank save from Marosi with his first touch of the game, following a decent delivery into the box by James Bolton.
The bold move by Jackett certainly gave the visitors a greater attacking threat, with Harness seeing his shot from the angle drift over the Sky Blues bar on 74 minutes.
The hosts were struggling to get out of their own half, and when the ball fell to Steve Seddon on the edge of the home penalty area on 82 minutes via Harrison’s drilled delivery hopes rose of a breaking of the deadlock.
Yet the Birmingham loanee fired well over the target on his return to St Andrew’s.
And it came back to haunt the Blues a minute later.
Pompey fell asleep at a throw-in and O’Hare’s delivery into the box picked out substitute Godden, who found a way past Bass with a smart right-foot finish.
The Blues’ response was a McGeehan effort that was superbly dealt with by Marosi.
Meanwhile, Harrison missed a great chance deep into injury time as the visitors attempted a late, late comeback.
However, it wasn’t to be as the Sky Blues claimed all three points in what could prove a crucial game in the race for promotion.
Coventry: Markop Marosi, Michael Rose, Kyle McFadzean, Dom Hyam, Fankaty Dabo, Liam Kelly, Jamie Allen (Max Biamou 71mins), Callum O’Hare, Liam Walsh, Sam McCallum, Amadou Bakayoko (Matt Godden 82mins). Subs not used: Ben Wilson, Josh Pask, Jordan Shipley, Ryan Giles, Zain Westbrooke.
Pompey: Alex Bass, James Bolton, Christian Burgess, Sean Raggett, Steve Seddon, Ben Close, Tom Naylor, Ryan Williams (Marcus Harness 63mins), Cameron McGeehan, Ronan Curtis, John Marquis (Ellis Harrison 63mins). Subs not used: Craig MacGillivray, Lee Brown, Ross McCrorie, Jack Whatmough, Gareth Evans.