Coventry City 5-0 Maidstone United: Ellis Simms’ first senior hat-trick ends Stones’ brave FA Cup run

Coventry striker Ellis Simms scored a first-half hat-trick to crush Maidstone’s dream of a historic FA Cup quarter-final place.

The sixth-tier Stones were bidding to become only the second non-league team in 109 years to reach the last eight, having already dispatched English Football League sides Barrow, Stevenage and Ipswich.

They came up against a Sky Blues side still stinging from their home defeat by Preston in the Championship on Friday, and were out of the running by the 35th minute, with the returning Kasey Palmer having a hand in all three Simms goals.

Fabio Tavares added two more late in the game as Coventry eased into the quarter-finals for the first time since 2009.

After scoring his first, Simms held up a shirt bearing the name of team-mate Tatsuhiro Sakamoto, who was taken to hospital after being stretchered off in that Preston game with what manager Mark Robins described as a “really bad injury”.

Maidstone have provided much of the magic in the cup this season, not least with their shock victory at Championship promotion hopefuls Ipswich in the fourth round.

Their run, which began at Steyning Town Community in September, ended in the West Midlands as Palmer and Simms proved a class above George Elokobi’s men.

The charismatic manager had taken his team to salute the 4,800 travelling fans before kick-off, but it soon became apparent that Coventry were in no mood to suffer another upset at the hands of the National League South side.

With nine minutes on the clock, Palmer drifted into space in front of the Coventry back four and his pass cut through the defence to free Simms to prod in the opening goal.

Five minutes later, the elusive Palmer provided another telling pass, which Simms thumped into the far corner of the net.

Palmer has a special relationship with the competition for Coventry – his two killer passes mean he now has three goals and four assists in five FA Cup games for the club.

Maidstone tried to hit back, as Liam Sole’s dangerous cross was taken off Manny Duku’s head by Joel Latibeaudiere, and Sole himself sliced wide after getting a sight of goal.

The game was over as a contest on 35 minutes, however, as Palmer crashed in a 25-yard shot that goalkeeper Lucas Covolan could only parry for Simms to complete his treble and take his tally to nine goals for the season.

The Stones were bold and gave it a go, but were outclassed from start to finish, failing to have a single goal attempt on target.

Coventry brought on Callum O’Hare in the second half but took their foot off the gas to see the game out.

The only threat Maidstone posed was a sharp passing move that ended with Lamar Reynolds shooting into the side netting.

Coventry finished with a flourish as substitute Matty Godden touched the ball through for Tavares to score, with Godden then having a shot beaten out by Covolan straight to the feet of the Portuguese forward, who tucked away the fifth.

Line-ups

Coventry

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 13Wilson
  • 22Latibeaudiere
  • 4Thomas
  • 15Kitching
  • 21BidwellSubstituted forDasilvaat 78′minutes
  • 29TorpSubstituted forEcclesat 67′minutes
  • 6Kelly
  • 30Tavares Desidério
  • 45PalmerSubstituted forvan Ewijkat 67′minutes
  • 11WrightSubstituted forO’Hareat 45′minutes
  • 9SimmsSubstituted forGoddenat 66′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Binks
  • 3Dasilva
  • 10O’Hare
  • 24Godden
  • 27van Ewijk
  • 28Eccles
  • 41Lusala
  • 48Bell
  • 54Andrews

Maidstone United

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Covolan Cauagnari
  • 6BrownSubstituted forHoyteat 69′minutes
  • 5Fowler
  • 4Greenidge
  • 14KyprianouSubstituted forEzennolimat 69′minutes
  • 16SoleSubstituted forGurungat 69′minutes
  • 8Corne
  • 15Bone
  • 10Reynolds
  • 11DukuSubstituted forCourtat 79′minutes
  • 7Berkeley-AgyepongSubstituted forIandoloat 87′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Hoyte
  • 3Ezennolim
  • 12Earle
  • 13Court
  • 17Smith
  • 18Gurung
  • 19Iandolo

Referee:
Michael Salisbury

Attendance:
26,857

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