Small steps for caretaker manager Mark Venus after Coventry beat Oxford

Small steps for caretaker manager Mark Venus after Coventry beat Oxford

Caretaker manager Mark Venus saw Coventry move off the bottom of the table following a 2-1 win over Oxford - and hopes it is the sign of things to come.

A stunning goal from youngster Ben Stevenson helped them to a first home success of the season after five successive draws.

Venus said: "If you watch us over the last few games you will see what we have been trying to do. We are a young team and in my opinion we are probably not a team which can win five or six games on the trot but this is about small steps.

"Hopefully we are going to continue to get better and get stronger but people can see how we want to play and how we think we can get up the league.

"I don't believe you should change the team on the back of one result. I didn't think we played badly at Charlton but we couldn't deal with the physicality and we did not get the goal we deserved but you can't lose faith.

"The players out there have got the shirts and they deserve the shirts and they showed how much they want to keep them by how hard they worked.

"We have got players who can come on and help them as well. The work-rate was outstanding. I didn't think we could keep it up but we did and they deserved the result."

Stevenson broke the deadlock in 28th minute when he rifled in a 25-yard shot which gave Oxford keeper Simon Eastwood no chance and when Marvin Sordell pounded on a defensive mix-up in the 43rd minute it looked all over.

But sub Dan Crowley ensured a nervy final few minutes when he scored in injury time in front of almost 2,000 travelling fans.

United manager Michael Appleton said: "We were very poor in the first half and I have had to remind the players just how poor it was.

"It was much better in the second half and we created more opportunities but when you are 2-0 down it can be too late.

"Their first goal was a fantastic strike and there is nothing you can do about those goals apart from take your hat off to them.

"The second goal was sloppiness and a lack of concentration and you go in two goals down and it can be damage limitations.

"The supporters were fantastic and my apologies go out to them. Our standards are higher than we set in the first half."