Coventry 2-1 Stoke City match review: Grimmer strike sends Hughes packing

Coventry City continued to impressive on Saturday, as the Sky Blues beat Premier League Side Stoke City to progress into the fourth round of the FA Cup, in a match that signalled the end for Mark Hughes’ reign as Potters boss.

The match itself was one that kept fans on the edge of their seat throughout, as the Sky Blues held on to a narrow lead for the last 25 minutes to knock their Premier League opponents out of the world’s oldest football tournament.

The home side opened the scoring midway through the first half, as a corner from Jordan Maguire-Drew was headed across the face of goal by Jack Grimmer, with centre-back Jordan Willis on hand to turn the ball home to give the hosts a somewhat early lead.

Stoke then found an equaliser nine minutes after half time, after winger Ramadan Sobhi was fouled in the box by Willis, with Scottish international Charlie Adam sending ‘keeper Liam O’Brien the wrong way to draw the scores levels coming up to the hour mark.

Mark Robins’ side then retook the lead just 14 minutes later, as right back Grimmer scored a thunderbolt from the edge of the area to put the Sky Blues 2-1 up with just 20 minutes to play.

The Potters dominated the match in large parts, with Hughes’ side maintain 70% possession and having 29 attempts to goal, however they weren’t able to find an equaliser as League 2 Coventry progressed into the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Just hours after the match, Stoke City manager Mark Hughes was sacked by the Potters following an extremely poor run of form which saw the Potters win just two of their last 16 games in all competitions.

Speaking after the match, Coventry boss Robins was ecstatic with his side’s result, exclaiming that “For us it’s brilliant, we’re in the fourth-round draw. Hopefully we’ll get a big club away from home – Manchester United away would be perfect.

“I’m proud. Regardless of the current troubles at Stoke, and the pressure on them, we equipped ourselves really well. We went toe-to-toe with them. We could have been 3-0 up in the first half.”

Then-Stoke manager Hughes took time to reflect on his side’s poor performance and form of late following their 2-1 defeat to the Sky Blues, stating that “It’s clearly a difficult time for us. When we make mistakes, they’re getting penalized. We’re not giving ourselves the right defensive platform at the moment and when that happens you’re always vulnerable.

The former QPR boss then said “Clearly, the only way to quieten down the noise around the club is to win games. We need to turn it around and quickly.”

Following the result at the Ricoh Arena, I spoke to Coventry City fan David Allen about his thoughts on the match, and who he’d like to see the Sky Blues paired up with in the fourth round.

“I thought we defended brilliantly if I’m honest. Despite giving away the penalty, I thought Willis at the back was top class and without him I dread to fear what the score might have ended up as! Overall I feel that we performed well, certainly well enough to warrant winning the match, and just hope that we can keep our good form up going into our next few league games.”

“I would love to get one of the big boys in the next round, so you know your Man United’s, Liverpool’s, Chelsea’s etc. I think drawing one of those kind of teams would pack out the Ricoh and hopefully encourage more fans to come to games in the future.”

I then interviewed Stoke City supporter Thomas Nichols about his thoughts on his side crashing out of the FA Cup in the third round.

“We played awfully in my opinion. The defence struggled a lot and our strikers couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo. Playing hoof-ball against a side three divisions below you simply isn’t on. Hopefully this sees the club sack Hughes, as if we keep up our current form, we’ll almost certainly be playing in the Championship next season.”

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