FOOTBALL - Coventry City put five past non-league Maidstone to reach FA Cup quarter-finals - The Coventry Observer

FOOTBALL - Coventry City put five past non-league Maidstone to reach FA Cup quarter-finals

Coventry Editorial 26th Feb, 2024 Updated: 26th Feb, 2024   0

ELLIS Simms scored a first-half hat-trick as Coventry City eased to a 5-0 win against non-league Maidstone United to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals for the first time in 15 years.

Simms completed his hat-trick after just 35 minutes as Kasey Palmer set up the first two goals before Fabio Tavares scored twice late on at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

The quarter-final draw takes place on Wednesday, February 28 at 7pm live on ITV4 prior to the game between Chelsea and Leeds United.

National League South side Maidstone were first club from outside the top five tiers of English football to reach the FA Cup fifth round since Blyth Spartans in 1978 after upsetting Ipswich Town the previous round.

In a frantic openeing to the game, Haji Wright saw his early volley from inside the box well-saved by Maidstone goalkeeper Lucas Covolan diving to his right-hand side.

And the Sky Blues broke the deadlock on nine minutes when Simms latched onto Palmer’s excellent through ball before finishing past the onrushing Covolan.

The same players combined to doubled City’s lead on 14 minutes as Simms produced a clinical finish into the bottom right corner from another Palmer through ball.

However, the Stones responded with a chance of their own as Liam Sole curled a short narrowly over the angle of post and crossbar from the left-hand side of the penalty area.

The home side almost added a third goal on the half-hour mark as Fabio Tavares sent a low volley a few yards wide of the post from 20-yards out after Maidstone failed to clear their lines at a corner.

Simms completed his hat-trick on 35 minutes when he raced in to finish from close range after Covolan parried Palmer’s powerful swerving effort from distance into the striker’s path.

The Sky Blues tested Covolan again five minutes before the break as the Maidstone keeper comfortably saved Victor Torp’s effort from just outside the penalty area.

City picked up where they left off after the break as half time substitute Callum O’Hare had a shot saved in the opening few minutes of the second period.

George Elokobi’s side battled bravely and almost found a way through when Lamar Reynolds pounced on a loose pass and burst into the box only to shoot into the side netting.

With the home fans in fine voice, Torp won the ball high up the pitch before slipping in Palmer who saw his shot beat to safety by Covolan.

City scored their fourth goal with two minutes left to play as substutute Matty Godden played in Tavares who kept his cool to find the back of the net.

And Tavares grabbed his second of the game in the first minute of injury time after Covolan made an excellent initial save low down to his right to deny Godden.

Coventry are now just one win away from returning to Wembley following last season’s heartbreaking play-off final defeat against Luton Town.

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