A first goal of the season from skipper Tom Clarke and a penalty from Joe Garner gave the Lilywhites a 2-0 away win on their return to the Ricoh Arena.
Clarke powered home a low shot from Paul Gallagher’s free kick just after the hour mark and within three minutes Garner doubled the tally with his second penalty in as many weeks, having been himself upended in the box by the home side’s Seb Hines.
Manager Simon Grayson made two changes to the previous week’s side, Scott Wiseman and Chris Humphrey coming into the side in place of Will Hayhurst and Calum Woods.
And it was one of those new starters who had the first real impact on the game, Scott Wiseman making a tremendous run down the right hand side in the sixth minute. The No.4 was seemingly upended in the box by loanee Seb Hines, but there was nothing going from referee Tim Robinson.
Moments later Chris Humphrey out-muscled John Fleck and drove inside, hitting a left-footed shot inches wide of the right hand post.
Bailey Wright had the opening half’s best chance. The first on 11 minutes saw a Paul Gallagher free kick after Humphrey was fouled; the cross was headed straight up in the air and punched weakly out by Allsop, but Wright, unmarked, headed over from 12 yards out.
Then, ten minutes later, another Gallagher free kick 30 yards out after a foul on Joe Garner, was whipped in and Wright again rose highest, but this time headed onto the top of the bar from 15 yards out.
Shortly after came a pivotal moment as a wonderful recovery tackle from Ryan Haynes denied Humphrey being clean through one-on-one with Allsop after excellent pressure football from PNE; Gallagher threading the ball through to the No.7.
Just before the hour mark Joe Garner almost brought the opener. He gathered a channel ball on the left and beat the Sky Blues’ skipper Andy Webster before driving along the byline and beating Allsop, but a wonderful defensive block from Ryan Haynes denied Chris Humphrey the opener. However, the ball ricocheted up in the air and as it came down Webster flattened Garner, only for the referee to again do nothing.
However, the pressure came to fruition moments later as Chris Humphrey was brought down by Haynes – who on his birthday received an additional card from the referee for his trouble – and Paul Gallagher whipped over a superb cross into the danger area and Tom Clarke guided a low shot past Ryan Allsop into the bottom corner, much to the delight of the North End fans behind the goal he had just bulged.
Only three minutes later North End were awarded a penalty as Joe Garner was played through by Josh Brownhill; Seb Hines upended him, but Garner got up dusted himself down and buried the penalty into the bottom left hand corner for his fourth goal in as many games.
The closest Jamie Jones came to having to do anything came in the final minute as Coventry’s first corner wasn’t fully cleared and Marcus Tudgay blasted well wide.
Five minutes of stoppage time were found from somewhere by the match official only enough time for Calum Woods to pick up an injury as North End picked up another important three points.
Coventry City line-up: Allsop, Willis, Webster (c) (Miller, 74), Fleck, Swanson (Coulibaly, 64), O’Brien, Jackson (McQuoid, 64), Tudgay, J Clarke, Hines, Haynes. Subs not used: Burge, Pugh, Phillips, Finch.
PNE line-up: Jones, Wiseman (Woods, 85), Buchanan, Kilkenny, Clarke (c), Wright, Humphrey (Reid, 72), Browne, Garner, Brownhill, Gallagher (Robinson, 77). Subs not used: Stuckmann, Laird, King, Hayhurst.
Attendance: 10,006 (783 away fans)
Referee: Mr T Robinson