DEFENSIVE power proved decisive as goals from Jordan Willis and Jack Grimmer fired Coventry City past Premier League opposition Stoke in the third round of the FA Cup.
Willis put the Sky Blues ahead after 25 minutes when his header beat Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland to hand Mark Robins’ men the early advantage.
Stoke responded with a penalty courtesy of Charlie Adam on 54 minutes before Jack Grimmer’s solo effort secured Coventry’s spot in the fourth round.
The giant-killing win puts League Two side Coventry into the fourth round hat among teams including Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City.
City were dealt an early scare when man-of-the-match Jordan Willis had to perform a goal-line clearance from Mame Diouf’s weak attempt from inside the area.
Jordan Maguire-Drew – who was making his City debut and showed quality throughout before his second-half substitution – then fired a shot over on 18 minutes. Stephen Ireland’s effort from the edge of the area – where Stoke were getting too much space – went wide.
Jordan Willis’ near-post header then propelled the Sky Blues into the lead after Stoke were made to pay from a Maguire-Drew corner and Davies’ headed assist.
Coventry could’ve added to their tally on more than one occasion at the end of the first half. In-form forward Marc McNulty had two efforts as the half ended 1-0.
City’s top scorer rounded the keeper Butland after a pass by the again-impressive 18-year-old Tom Bayliss but his touch gave him too tight an angle to convert. Mcnulty’s second chance came from a through-ball from hard-working strike partner Max Biamou, but the Scottish forward delayed his shot which was straight at the keeper.
Former England international Peter Crouch added height to Stoke’s attacking options, and it helped make a difference as the visiting side were awarded a penalty on 53 minutes following a period of sustained pressure in Coventry’s half. Captain Willis committed what looked like a needless foul inside the area.
Charlie Adam made no mistake from the spot to level the game.
Stoke were only level for 13 minutes though as Jack Grimmer drifted towards the edge of the 18-yard box before firing his shot past Butland’s near post, putting the Sky Blues ahead once more.
As Stoke turned up the pressure, Diouf was denied on the goal line for a second time on 77 minutes, this time Chris Stokes keeping Coventry level.
Peter Crouch had an ambitious shot saved from outside the area. A firmly struck shot from just inside the area by Crouch was superbly tipped over by Coventry keeper Liam O’Brien before frantic efforts in added time were dealt with blocks by Coventry’s defence.
The win sparked jubilation in the Coventry stands as City’s purple patch continued and the pressure increased on under-fire Stoke boss Mark Hughes.