MARK Robins labelled Maxime Biamou’s hat-trick “one of the best” he’s seen, after Coventry City left it late to beat Southampton under-21s 3-2 in the Football League Trophy.
The Sky Blues sealed their progression from Group D of the southern section as a result – a position that was under threat when Saints midfielder Callum Slattery fired a brace to draw the visitors level late on.
Robins was delighted with Biamou’s late match-winning intervention, but takes discomfort from not having the striker available for the forthcoming League One fixtures following a red card in Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Accrington Stanley.
“The third goal, it was an unbelievable strike with his left foot,” he said.
“It dropped out of the air straight down to him and he hit it really well with almost the last kick of the game.
“It makes it all the more frustrating that he isn’t available for the next three games.”
Two other players to also catch the manager’s eye were debutant Declan Drysdale and Will Bapaga – who made his second start for the club in the competition – with Robins adding: “The penalty he [Bapaga] won, he was twisting and turning and some of his movement was outstanding.
“He still hasn’t filled out yet, but you can see there is some real good ability there and playing against a category one academy, we dealt with it really well.
“Drysdale made his debut and he was different class, he used the ball really well.
“He didn’t show many nerves, early on he showed one or two, but he grew into the game and did a really good job for us along with Will.”
Proceedings took a while to get going after a goalless first half, with Biamou the man to light up the game seven minutes after the restart with a strike past Josh Eccles that rendered the Southampton keeper helpless.
Biamou only needed three minutes to double his tally after sending Eccles the wrong way from the spot after Bapaga was brought down in the area, but Slattery reduced the arrears with a penalty of his own on 61 minutes.
Slattery struck again with a strike from distance to level five minutes from time, although Biamou hit back with a stunner in stoppage time to edge the contest.
Coventry visit League Cup quarter-finalists Colchester United in the FA Cup first round on Saturday (3pm).