Rochdale secured three points from a pulsating encounter at the Ricoh Arena, thanks to a second-half goal from Calvin Andrew.
Both side had chances in the first period, but it was the hosts who created the majority, although they wasted their openings.
Dale made them pay at the start of the second period, when Andrew opened his account for the season just over a minute after the restart.
Ian Henderson had the ball in the back of the net twice but both were ruled out for offside, before Keith Hill’s men had to dig-in and defend superbly to secure a magnificent three points on the road.
There were three changes to the side that lined up against Middlesbrough in the Carabao Cup. Having impressed at the Riverside Stadium, Stephen Dooley earned his first start for the club to make his EFL debut. Joe Rafferty returned to the eleven, as did Matty Done.
A pulsating opening saw Rochdale start the game brightly and they won a corner inside the first minute, resulting in Lee Burge being called into action. From Dooley’s corner, which was initially defended away, the ball fell for Callum Camps, who saw his half-volley tipped over the bar by the goalkeeper.
Dooley had an effort from distance held by Burge, before Ryan Delaney sent a looping header just over the bar.
Having started slowly, the home side grew into the game and were relentless for a spell. Dale were under the cosh, as the Sky Blues came close on several occasions during a rampant spell of pressure.
After getting up the right, the pacey Jack Grimmer sent a dangerous low ball across goal but Tony Andreu dragged his effort wide.
Sixty seconds later and they were in on goal again, but Luke Thomas struck past the post this time.
Jonson Clarke-Harris had the Sky Blues’ best chance of the half in the 23rd minute, when he came within inches of putting the home side in front. He could only steer his header narrowly past the post, though.
On the half hour, Ian Henderson curled an effort from the edge of the area at Burge, before Coventry came close again, when Andreu flashed an effort just wide of the upright.
Before the half was out, Dominic Hyam got up to meet a Coventry free-kick into the area and headed narrowly wide.
HT | COVENTRY CITY 0-0 ROCHDALE
Rochdale started the second half in the same manner they had the first, and they took the lead two minutes after the restart.
Dooley played a short corner to Rafferty, who curled the ball to the back post where it was met by Andrew. The hosts thought they’d denied him on the line, but the referee was quick to award the goal.
Dale were dominant and Cannon, a short time later, had an effort saved at the near post before seeing his rebound, from the tightest of angles, comes off the face of the bar.
Andrew almost had a second when he latches on the end of Done’s cross, but headed narrowly wide.
Keith Hill’s side had the ball in the back of the net of the in the 56th minute. Captain Henderson had beaten Burge with an excellent finish, only to see his ‘goal’ ruled out for offside.
Rochdale’s first change of the game followed on the hour mark, when David Perkins replaced MJ Williams.
Dale were on the ascendancy and soon after had three opportunities kept out in quick succession.
Andrew had a header blocked from a Dooley corner, before Rafferty has a shot on the rebound charged down and Done then one saved.
Coventry should had been level a minute later, but Clarke-Harrison could only head wide from six-yards.
A short time later, the home side had their first shot on target, when Thomas forced Magnus Norman to parry away a powerful shot.
In the 71st minute, Henderson had the ball in the back of the net for a second time, having latched onto the end of a Cannon through ball, but again he was flagged for offside.
And two minutes later Dale were let off the hook, as Thomas, who capitalised on a loose Dale pass inside his own half, used his speed to drive at goal, getting in one-on-one with Norman, and hit wide of the target.
The Coventry man blasted then over the bar from the edge of the 18-yard box soon after.
Cannon was replaced by Ollie Rathbone in the 79th minute, and Dale were forced into a further change six minutes later when Norman was clattered into as he rose to compete for a corner a ball. Bleeding, he went off for treatment and was replaced by Brendan Moore.
Stephen Dooley was also struggling with an injury which he had picked up in the build-up to Norman’s injury.
The home side kept pushing late on, but Dale defended resolutely and held on to a superb three points away from home.
FT | COVENTRY CITY 0-1 ROCHDALE