Canaries clipped by Sky Blues
Ward and McKenzie strikes undo Roeder's men
Last Updated: 09/08/08 5:59pm
McKenzie: Late strike
Two second-half goals meant Coventry made a winning start to their new Championship campaign against Norwich at the Ricoh Arena.
Elliott Ward netted from the spot in the 48th minute, before former Norwich player Leon McKenzie wrapped up the victory four minutes from time.
A total of 12 debutants took to the field, with Canaries boss Glenn Roeder giving debuts to six of his summer signings, including on-loan Fiorentina striker Arturo Lupoli and former Portsmouth defender Dejan Stefanovic.
But it was the lesser-known John Kennedy who made the biggest early impact for the visitors as the on-loan Celtic defender was on hand to make a vital block in the 16th minute when Coventry winger Julian Gray's cross-cum-shot drifted goalbound.
And five minutes later the Scot proved his attacking pedigree with a spectacular overhead kick which would have given his team the lead had team-mate Lee Croft not got in the way and inadvertently deflected the ball wide.
Coventry boss Chris Coleman opted to field a completely new-look strike force as Freddy Eastwood and Clinton Morrison lined up alongside each other in the Sky Blues attack for the first time since their summer moves from Wolves and Crystal Palace respectively.
But neither player was afforded any space by a stoic Canaries defence and it was the visitors who continued to press for the opener.
The home defence were almost breached in the 27th minute as Jason Shackell leapt above static Coventry centre-back Ward but could not generate enough power from his header to test goalkeeper Keiren Westwood.
Lupoli began to threaten towards the end of the first half but his optimistic effort from 20 yards out did not have the power to trouble Westwood.
But the home side came out of the tunnel a rejuvenated side and immediately took the lead at the start of the second half.
Jay Tabb was replaced by Robbie Simpson at the break but it was fellow midfielder Guillaume Beuzelin, a free signing from Hibernian this summer, who proved the inspiration for the Sky Blues' first goal of the 2008-09 campaign.
Beuzelin picked up the ball in the 46th minute and darted forward before feeding former Sunderland full-back Stephen Wright who took one touch before being felled by Norwich midfielder Sammy Clingan in the area.
Clingan's challenge appeared innocuous but referee Colin Webster had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and centre-back Ward stepped up to lash home the resulting spot-kick into the top right corner to give his side the lead.
The visitors were visibly riled by the decision and seemed determined to restore parity as soon as possible but Sky Blues goalkeeper Westwood was equal to Jamie Cureton's turn and shot after Croft's cross in the 52nd minute.
Roeder withdrew the diminutive Lupoli in the 62nd minute in favour of on-loan Portsmouth striker Omar Koroma in a bid to add a more physical presence to his attack.
And his decision almost paid off six minutes later as the Gambian striker found himself one on one but his effort was bravely smothered by Westwood.
The former Carlisle goalkeeper was in inspired form all day and had to call on all his agility to tip Croft's clipped effort over the crossbar in the 76th minute.
But it was McKenzie who put the result beyond doubt as the 69th-minute substitute followed up Morrison's effort which rebounded back off the bar and comfortably into his path to tap home and give his side all three points.
Sky Bet Championship
Sat 9th Aug
Birmingham1 - 0Sheff Utd
Blackpool0 - 1Bristol C
QPR2 - 1Barnsley
Ipswich1 - 2Preston
Plymouth2 - 2Wolves
Cardiff2 - 1Southampton
C Palace0 - 0Watford
Derby0 - 1Doncaster
Sheff Wed4 - 1Burnley
Coventry2 - 0Norwich
Charlton2 - 0Swansea
Sky Bet Championship
|4||Queens Park Rangers||43||73|
|6||Brighton and Hove Albion||43||65|