Coventry City captain Kyle McFadzean scrambled in an injury-time winner as the Sky Blues sensationally came from behind to beat Nottingham Forest.
But Swedish striker Viktor Gyokeres lashed in an 81st-minute equaliser to spark a late turnaround for Coventry, who had spent the past two seasons ground-sharing at Birmingham City’s St Andrew’s home.
Then, six minutes into added time, Forest twice repelled goalbound efforts before big defender McFadzean fired through the crowd and Brice Samba could not prevent the ball squirming across the line.
It was anguish for Forest, who had led at the break when Brennan Johnson’s breakaway stretched the Coventry defence, allowing Taylor to slide in and convert from close range.
That was only a sixth goal for the club for last summer’s signing from Charlton Athletic – but his first away from the City Ground and his first in front of a crowd too.
There might have been a second Forest goal just before the break but home keeper Simon Moore spread himself well to come to City’s rescue as he denied Johnson.
Coventry, perhaps daunted by the occasion of returning to their home city in the first half, looked an improved side after the break, going close when Ben Sheaf’s side-footed effort hit the bar.
But the hosts gradually wore Forest down as the majority of the 20,843 crowd really got behind them – and Mark Robins’ side had a double sting in the tail.
First, Callum O’Hare caused enough confusion down the right for his blocked cross to rebound into the path of Gyokeres, whose shot took a slight deflection before finding the back of the net.
Then, after Dom Hyam’s header was saved and O’Hare’s shot was blocked, McFadzean brought the house down when his follow-up effort somehow made it across the line.
What a return to Coventry
It was 833 days since Coventry’s fans had last seen the Sky Blues perform in a competitive fixture in their own city.
Added to that, in City’s second ground-share during their long-running dispute with their stadium’s then owners (having also headed off to Northampton in 2013), the majority of their two seasons in Birmingham was spent in behind-closed-doors post-Covid isolation.
For so long, it seemed as if the afternoon would end in disappointment for the home fans helping to make up the Championship’s second highest gate of the weekend – bettered only by the 29,043 at Bramall Lane on Saturday night for Sheffield United’s defeat by Birmingham City.
But the previous time Coventry returned to this ground from exile, in September 2014, they won that night, against Gillingham. And this latest return was to have a happy outcome for the home support too – if not for the noisy and ultimately dejected Forest faithful.
Chris Hughton’s side will attempt to put things right when they play their first home game of the season against Bournemouth next Saturday, when Coventry go to Barnsley.
Coventry City boss Mark Robins told BBC CWR:
“After waiting so long to return here, the first half was a bit flat. Some of our players were experiencing what it’s like to play in front of a proper crowd for the first time.
“It’s been a really emotional day for everyone and that might have played a part in our first-half performance because we didn’t do ourselves justice.
“But to win, and to win like that too, was incredible. And we’ve beaten a good side too.
“It was a brilliant atmosphere. And I’ve got to thank the supporters because they were absolutely magnificent helping us to get back into the game.”
Forest boss Chris Hughton:
“For 65 minutes we were good and restricted a team playing at home with an offensive structure to minimal chances.
“We scored a very good goal, but we became tired and, when your opponents are in the ascendancy, you have to make good decisions and it looked too much for us in the end.
“We’ve had a challenging time with Covid. A lot of players haven’t been able to train and we had to call two games off. That can show at the end of games, but these are the challenges you have to work around.
“Lyle Taylor showed good urgency to get to the back post and score and his overall game was good as well. Let’s hope there’s more to come from him.”
- 5McFadzeanBooked at 49mins
- 29Da CostaSubstituted forRoseat 45′minutes
- 38HamerBooked at 61mins
- 14SheafBooked at 34mins
- 18MaatsenBooked at 55minsSubstituted forJonesat 70′minutes
- 9WaghornSubstituted forWalkerat 69′minutes
- 6Mbe SohSubstituted forFigueiredoat 45′minutes
- 17MightenSubstituted forZinckernagelat 75′minutes
- 33TaylorBooked at 58minsSubstituted forRibeiro Diasat 88′minutes
- 18Ribeiro Dias
- James Linington