Coventry 2 Ipswich 1
Clinton Morrison’s first-half brace ensured Roy Keane got off to a bad start to the Coca-Cola Championship season as his much-fancied Ipswich team fell at Coventry.
Morrison scored twice within the first 25 minutes to put Chris Coleman’s side in charge and while Jon Walters quickly responded Coventry held on for all three points.
Keane guided Sunderland into the top flight at the first attempt three seasons ago and has stated that he will view his tenure at Portman Road as a failure if he does not repeat the trick within his two-year contract.
That has fuelled expectations in Suffolk but, despite a barrage of attacks in the second half, the visitors were unable to find a way past the excellent Keiren Westwood in the Coventry goal in their first game since the death of Bobby Robson.
Robson, who won the FA Cup in 1978 and brought UEFA Cup glory to Ipswich in 1981, died last Friday and was remembered with a minute’s applause before kick-off.
Robson’s name was still being sung when his former side fell behind in the 10th minute after a rush of blood to the head from goalkeeper Richard Wright.
A harmless looking goal-kick ran through to Morrison and after Wright needlessly chased out of his goal, the striker was able to turn and chip a delightful effort over his head and those of several covering defenders to find the top corner.
Some fine passing in the middle then led to Morrison’s second in the 25th minute.
David Bell played it into the feet of Leon Best and after the striker was tackled Aron Gunnarsson worked it back out wide to Isaac Osbourne.
The right-back sent in a perfect first-time cross for Morrison to attack and he powered a header past Wright from 10 yards out.
Keane was irate as he appeared on the touchline and within three minutes his side had one back.
Jon Stead dissected the Coventry defence with a perfect throughball and Walters kept his cool to steer a shot inside the post.
Ipswich captain Gareth McAuley should have tested Westwood with a free header before debutant Lee Martin twice shot over when well placed.
Jaime Peters was then denied by a sprawling save from Westwood as Ipswich piled on the pressure after the break.
Keane gave new £1.7m signing Tamas Priskin 25 minutes from the bench and his first touch set up Walters for a fine effort which flew just wide.
Westwood made another top save to keep out a Walters header and Morrison headed a Pim Balkestein effort off the line as the hosts soaked up wave after wave of Ipswich attacks.
But Coventry held on to start the season with a win and end Keane’s 100% record with the Blues.