Coventry crush Maidstone to ruin non-league side's FA Cup fairytale

Coventry crush Maidstone to ruin non-league side's FA Cup fairytale

© AFP 2022
February 26, 2024 at 10:10 PM
Coventry striker Ellis Simms scored a hat-trick against non-league Maidstone
Coventry striker Ellis Simms scored a hat-trick against non-league Maidstone. Photo: Darren Staples / AFP
Source: AFP

Ellis Simms ruined Maidstone's FA Cup fairytale as his hat-trick inspired Coventry's 5-0 win against the non-league giant-killers in the fifth round on Monday.

Simms struck three times in the first half and Fabio Tavares bagged a late double to take second tier Coventry into the quarter-finals for the first time since 2009.

Maidstone, who play in the sixth tier National League South, had captured the hearts of football romantics with their run to the last 16.

They had survived seven ties to become the first team outside the top five divisions to reach the fifth round since Blyth Spartans in 1978.

George Elokobi's men had stunned Championship promotion chasers Ipswich with a 2-1 win at Portman Road in the fourth round.

But Coventry, who won the FA Cup in 1987, were never in danger of suffering the same fate as Ipswich.

"How can I not be proud of our community and our players. They gave it their all today. Massive congratulations to them," Elokobi said.

"The magic of the FA Cup is still alive. When we began this FA Cup journey, we knew we weren't going to win it. It was about showcasing our talent and skills. We have done that.

"It's given us life moments to remember together. Everyone connected to the club are proud of us."

Simms fired Mark Robins' Championship play-off chasers into a ninth-minute lead from Kasey Palmer's pass to silence the 5,000 Maidstone fans who made the trip from Kent.

The former Everton striker grabbed his fourth goal in four games six minutes later, combining with Palmer to drill in a low angled effort from 15 yards.

Maidstone, who lost 2-0 to Aveley on Saturday to leave them eighth in National League South, were unable to get a foothold in the tie.

Simms completed his hat-trick 10 minutes before the break, with Palmer's shot pushed out for the striker to finish from close-range.

Maidstone keeper Lucas Covolan, one of the heroes of their win against Ipswich, tried his best to keep the score down as he saved from Palmer and Josh Eccles.

But Coventry still found time to score twice late on through Tavares.

The midfielder rifled in from Matty Godden's pass with two minutes left before he followed up in stoppage time to net after Covolan parried Godden's effort.

The remaining fifth round ties will be played across Tuesday and Wednesday.

Holders Manchester City visit Luton on Tuesday, while newly-crowned League Cup winners Liverpool host second tier Southampton on Wednesday.

Manchester United travel to Nottingham Forest on Wednesday, with Chelsea taking on Leeds at Stamford Bridge the same day.

The other ties see Bournemouth play Leicester, Newcastle visit Blackburn and Wolves host Brighton.

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© AFP 2022 photo
© AFP 2022