A SKY blue Sunday on what could be a Sky Blue day.
Good afternoon and welcome to our live coverage of this afternoon’s Checkatrade Trophy Final Final between Coventry City and Oxford United.
We’ll have live updates of the game – which kicks off at 2.30pm – on this page. In the meantime, check out how Wembley fever has swept across Coventry fans by viewing this morning’s gallery | https://coventryobserver.co.uk/news/picture-special-coventry-city-fans-make-the-wembley-way-walk-for-the-first-time-in-30-years/
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FULL TIME: COVENTRY CITY 2-1 Oxford United
STOPPAGE TIME: Five minutes minimum.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Coventry’s own George Thomas!
’85 – A poor and tired looking challenge on Kyel Reid by goal scorer Sercombe. He’s booked. 2-1.
’84 – Oxford in search of an equalising goal. Real tension in the ground now. While City were two up Oxford fans were muted. It’s now all to play for. United pressing hard. City somewhat stuck in their own half. 2-1.
ATTENDANCE: A huge 74,434 fans inside Wembley Stadium this afternoon.
SUBSTITUTION: George Thomas off, Jodi Jones on.
’77 – Beavon finds Thomas in the box. His shot his saved by Eastwood’s face. Down the other end Rob Hall goes one on one with Burge and fires his shot straight to the Coventry keeper. A poor effort when under virtually no pressure. Oxford should be level. 2-1.
GOAL! Oxford score. Substitute Liam Sercombe’s effort from outside the box goes through two pairs of legs and United are within one. Incredible City fans were making more noise after the goal went in. Support in the Sky Blue end is huge. City 2-1 Oxford. Great goal.
’70 – Coventry clear in their own box. Kyel Reid then runs with the ball down the pitch. Ball goes out for a goal kick though, despite calls for a free kick following a push. 2-0.
’67 – Few chances on goal in the last ten minutes. Coventry advancing well into Oxford’s area but no attempt on target since Thomas’ strike. City lead 2-0 here.
Booking: Dunkley booked for a challenge on Lameiras while the midfielder advanced through Oxford’s half. 2-0.
’60 – Rob Hall goes close for Oxford from range. His shot forces Burge to make a good save down to his left. Oxford have controlled the game well since Thomas’ goal. 2-0.
SUBSTITUTION: Willis off, Kelly-Evans on.
’58 – Huge chance for Oxford. Ball pinballs around the area and it’s eventually cleared. Oxford fans completely out-voiced by City right now. 2-0.
GGGOAAALLL!!! GEORGE THOMAS!! He receives the ball on the edge of the area and his half volley is smashed into the bottom left hand corner. A superb strike from the 20-year-old. Complete scenes at Wembley as the Sky Blues lead 2-0 at HQ.
‘53 – Oxford break from the corner with Hemmings who replicates Thomas’ earlier one on one effort. Should’ve done much better. Failed to control the ball. Loud and proud version of Play Up Sky Blues now rings around the ground. 1-0.
’52 – Poor play from Oxford. A searching ball falls to Dunkley. His attempted clearance goes for a corner which is taken quickly and delivered short. George Thomas, looking to make up for the earlier one on one error, shoots from close range – which goes for a corner. 1-0.
’50 – Fantastic through ball from Bigirimana finds Thomas in acres of space. One on one. The youngster can’t get a shot off though. Huge chance for the Sky Blues. Let off for Oxford. 1-0.
’48 – Turnbull with a super run through the Oxford defence. He finds Beavon but eventually a shot goes wide. Sky Blues start the half with plenty of intent. 1-0.
SECOND HALF: We’re underway!
PICTURES: The Sky Blues lead here at Wembley. Here’s some of the action from a packed first half.
HALF TIME REPORT:
AN EARLY strike from Gael Bigirimana ensured Mark Robins’ men enter half time here at Wembley Stadium with a one goal in the Checkatrade Trophy Final against Oxford.
Bigirimana took advantage of a blocked Stuart Beavon shot to pick up the bill inside the 18-yard box. And he made no mistake in finishing from close range.
The strike sent more than 43,000 Sky Blue fans into raptures – and handed Coventry the early advantage despite being underdogs for the final.
Bigirimana did strike an earlier volleyed effort wide as the Sky Blues’ pressure in Oxford’s half proved decisive after just nine minutes.
Oxford had a chance of their own in the 20th minute when Cheyenne Dunkley got onto the end of a free kick.
Dunkley’s header was glanced by Lundstram, who saw his effort blocked when goalbound by the City defence.
Kyel Reid and Gael Bigirimana then simultaneously tackled Oxford’s Rob Hall to the ground as United struggled to find a way through City’s back four.
A penalty appeal in the 30th minute was turned down when Lundstram went down softly in the Coventry box.
Several errors in defence handed Oxford the chance of leveling the game. However their attacking unit failed to test Lee Burge who was forced into making few saves.
At half time, Coventry lead 1-0.
HALF TIME: Coventry City 1-0 Oxford United
ADDED TIME: There will be one minute of additional time.
’40 – Coventry break. Poor first touch from Beavon but he recovers well. Lameiras then takes control. He has two shots blocked. City still leading here. 1-0.
BOOKING: Gael Bigirimana booked for a late challenge. Yellow card. 1-0.
’35 – Oxford breeze into the box with a series of poor plays in defence by the Sky Blues. Eventual cross goes out for a goal kick. First signs of the City defence breaking down. Lundstram goes close with a later through ball too. 1-0.
’33 – Corner to the Sky Blues. Wasted as Thomas receives a short ball from Lameiras and Oxford soon clear. United the much stronger side in the past 10 minutes. 1-0.
’30 – Penalty appeal as Lundstram plays the ball into the box. Hemmings and Haynes contest. Hemmings goes down. Would’ve been a very controversial call had it been made. Not much in the challenge. 1-0.
’29 – Oxford passing the ball around for fun in the Coventry half. City not allowing any through ball of any kind past though. Solid defending so far from the Sky Blues. Though Oxford are now enjoying plenty of possession. 1-0.
’25 – Oxford allowed very little time on the ball when in possession. Sky Blues quick to close them down. Latest chance coming from just outside the six-yard box when Beavon twist and shot effort is blocked. 1-0.
’23 – A searching run from Rob Hall who gets slide challenged by Reid and Bigirimana at the same. Brutal defending from the Sky Blues. Committed stuff. 1-0.
’20 – Nervous times for Coventry. Dunkley gets on the end of a free kick and Lundstrom glances his header goalwards. It’s cleared when goalbound. Right place at the right time for City defence. 1-0.
’18 – Free kick to Oxford inside Coventry’s half. Hall’s effort is poor. Cleared by man of the moment Bigirimana. Coventry have settled better into the game. Oxford now starting to press and look dangerous for the first time. 1-0.
’16 – Bad challenge from Ledson on Reid. Ledson receives a warning from referee Chris Sarginson. Free kick is cleared. Volley comes in from Bigirimana but Eastwood comfortably gathers the ball. 1-0.
’13 – Wembley now a mist of blue. Corner to Oxford after appeals for the a goal kick. Cross finds Nelson at the back but he’s outmuscled in the area and Coventry clear. City 1-0 Oxford.
GOAAALLL! The Sky Blues take an early lead as Stuart Beavon’s volley from close range is blocked following a cross and Gael Bigirimana smashes home the rebound. Complete scenes in the Sky Blue end. Coventry City 1-0 Oxford United.
‘9 – Cross from the left aims to find Hemmings in the centre but there’s too much on the cross. Sky Blues clear the ball. No clear cut chances as of yet. 0-0.
‘5 – Soft foul on Beavon who was contesting for the ball in the air. Free kick to Coventry from the left. Ball played in by Thomas, it’s comfortably cleared and Bigirimana’s volley from 20 yards out goes well wide. 0-0.
‘2 – Ball pinballs its way around the edge of the Oxford 18-yard box. Lameiras’ header almost allowed George Thomas to break into the box. Oxford keeper Eastwood comfortably gathers though. 0-0.
‘1 – Possibility of a chance in the opening minute for Oxford as Kane Hemmings is sent a through ball. He’s offside though. 0-0.
KICK OFF – For the first time in 30 years. The Sky Blues’ game at Wembley is underway! 0-0.
2.28pm – Group stages done, knockout stages done, ticket booking done, travel arrangements done, travel to the ground done, pre-match build up done, anthem done, introduction done. Now it’s time. Coventry City vs Oxford United. The Checkatrade Trophy Final. Almost time!
2.23pm – Fireworks, sparks and total razzmatazz greets the Sky Blues as they walk out onto the pitch. Wow what an atmosphere!
2.21pm – The Checkatrade Trophy has just been presented to the crowd, which is swelling by the minute. The Jimmy Hill Flag is being paraded around the Coventry fans in the lower tier too. Coventry supporters really up for this.
2.17pm – Team line up being announced. Huge cheers for the Sky Blues and huge boos for Oxford. Sky Blue Army in full voice. We’re moments away from kick-off.
JOHN SILLETT: 1987 FA Cup winning manager John Sillett has been joined on the pitch to pass on a message to fans of Coventry City Football Club.
In an emotional and fired up speech he said: “I wish the team to play the best game they’ve ever played in their lives.
“Go for it. Just go for it City!”
Here’s what he said to us earlier this week | https://coventryobserver.co.uk/news/interview-1987-fa-cup-boss-john-silletts-inspirational-words-to-team-for-wembley-where-hes-coventry-citys-guest-of-honour/
WARM UP: Coventry City have taken to the pitch to complete their warm up in preparation for today’s game. Still thousands of empty seats yet the noise was truly overwhelming.
The red seats of Wembley will soon be a sea of Sky Blue. 45 minutes until kick-off here at HQ.
Lee Burge in goal for the Sky Blues while in front of him will be Willis, Turnbull, Stokes and Haynes. Robins has selected George Thomas and Kyel Reid on either wing with Stevenson and Bigirimana in the centre.
Up front for the Sky Blues, looking for that all important goal, will be Ruben Lameiras and Stuart Beavon.
Coventry City FC: Burge (GK), Willis (C), Stokes, Turnbull, Haynes, G.Thomas, Bigirimana, Stevenson, Reid, Lameiras, Beavon.
Oxford United FC: Eastwood (GK), Lundstram (C), Nelson, Maguire, Hemmings, Edwards, Rothwell, Hall, Ledson, Johnson, Dunkley.