You know things must be going the way of Coventry City if Michael Doyle gets on the scoresheet.

The tough-tackling Irishman is one of the best high-energy midfielders in the Championship but goals are hardly his forte.

He failed to find the back of the net at all last season, so when he stroked the ball home from ten yards after 68 minutes, it sealed another fine night at the Ricoh Arena for the Sky Blues after Stern John had put them ahead right on half time.

Jamie Guy's late effort made for an uncomfortable last few minutes for the home team, but it was never going to undo their hard work.

It was all change for Coventry following last week's narrow defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Kevin Kyle and John were restored to the starting line up as Micky Adams opted to play three strikers in a bid to find goals from his shot-shy side.

Clive Clarke was drafted into the team at left-back after signing as an emergency loan from Sunder-land yesterday afternoon and such was Micky Adams' injury crisis at full-back that Portsmouth defender Richard Duffy made his third 'debut' for the Sky Blues on the right-hand side.

It says something about modern football that it was the 21-year-old's 50th appearance for City - all of which have come over three seasons while he has been farmed out by Pompey.

Only five other players in the 16-man squad have played more times for Coventry than Duffy.

By contrast, Geraint Williams was fielding the same set of outfield players for the eighth game running and it is consistency that had paid off for the Colchester boss so far this season.

It was easy to see why the promoted team have handled the Championship with some comfort so far as they passed the ball well early on and City defender Robert Page was called upon time and again to make strong clearances.

But for all their possession and neat build-up play, the visitors rarely troubled Coventry goal-keeper Andy Marshall.

Adams' three-pronged attack was a little more direct but arguably more effective as they created the better chances early on.

Leon McKenzie's pace was a constant thorn in the side of highly-rated fullback Greg Halford as he cruised past the defender on a number of occasions.

McKenzie's final ball was a tad hit-and-miss but when he did pick out a man, John cracked a shot over the crossbar from close range after 16 minutes.

Coventry's miserly defence had comfortably accommodated the two new boys and was limiting Colchester to shots from distance.

Jamie Cureton fired an effort goalwards on 20 minutes but it should have been a routine save for Marshall. The goalkeeper spilled the ball just in front of the six-yard box and it was no surprise to see that Page had reacted quickest and cleared the danger.

Colin Cameron had wasted a couple of decent chances of his own but turned provider just before the break as he sent John clear in injury time.

The Trinidad and Tobago striker took one touch to take the ball and then stroked it with his left foot into the bottom corner to give Coventry a half-time lead and claim his fourth goal of the season.

The Sky Blues continued to press in the second period and again it was the speed of McKenzie that looked their most dangerous weapon.

He forced Halford back early after the restart and the defender was lucky only to concede a corner as he clearly tried to block the run of the former Norwich man.

From the resulting flag-kick, Cameron then picked out the head of McKenzie but he was just too high from six yards.

Doyle ended his personal goal drought with just over 20 minutes left but his first strike for more than 18 months owed a great deal to the skill and intelligence of John.

The City striker held the ball up superbly before slotting into the path of the Irishman who gratefully accepted the pass and just helped it into the net from ten yards. The relief as he celebrated in front of the crowd was clear for all to see.

Colchester substitute Guy set up a frantic finish when he struck home from the edge of the box.