Sky Blues' FA Cup run comes to an end after defeat at White Hart Lane
Coventry City's FA Cup campaign was brought to an end by Tottenham Hotspur after three first half goals at White Hart Lane.
Clint Dempsey netted a brace either side of a strike from Gareth Bale to give Andre Villas Boas' side a comfortable half time cushion and put Spurs into the hat for the fourth round.
City boss Mark Robins rang three changes from the side that lost 1-0 at home to Shrewsbury on New Year's Day, bring in Jordan Clarke, Leon Clarke and James Bailey to replace Cyrus Christie, John Fleck and the departed David McGoldrick.
The opening stages of the clash did not quite meet what was expected in all the pre-match talk as both sides started at a frantic pace but neither controlled any real passages of play.
Spurs were limited to just a high and wide effort from Tom Huddelstone in the first ten minutes as the Sky Blues tried to get a foot into the game.
The hosts did look dangerous at set pieces though and it so proved on 14 minutes when a whipped in free-kick from the right from Gylfi Sigurdsson landed in the six-yard box for Clint Dempsey to toe past Joe Murphy and give Villas Boas' side the lead.
The goal seemed to galvanise Spurs who then went on a sustained period of pressure for the next five minutes which started with a series of low crosses across City's six-yard box and ened with Kyle Naughton's effort aimed at the near bottom corner which Murphy did well to keep out.
Gareth Bale then nearly opened City up on 19 minutes with a first class run which took him past the midfield and through the back four before finishing with a low effort pulled just wide of the foot of the far post.
The home pressure continued as the Sky Blues tried to venture out of their own half but were never allowed to build up a deal of momentum and Spurs' level of possession almost paid off on the half hour when Dempsey received a ball on the edge of the area, central to the goal, with his effort only stopped from getting to Murphy by a last ditch challenge from Blair Adams.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto then slid a low ball in from the left which Murphy had to get down low to cut out but he could do nothing about Spirs' second on 33 minutes when Dempsey's effort from range took a deflection and appeared to be looping up and out for a goal kick only for Bale to race to the far post and connect an outstretched boot to steer the ball into the net.
It was then three three minutes later with a second for Dempsey when Bale's deep corner found the striker at the back post to loop a header over Murphy and Jordan Clarke on the line and watch the ball nestle just inside the opposite post.
The Sky Blues then very nearly got one back with five minutes of the half to go with their best move of the opening 45 minutes.
Jordan Clarke was released down the right and slid in a low ball for his namesake Leon in the area, Michael Dawson cutting it out in front of him and then poking the ball away was he was grounded just as Clarke was about to smash home.
The chance seemed to give City some impetus as two minutes later McSheffrey set Adams running down the left with his first time cross finding Moussa whose volley was deflected over the bar.
The Sky Blues carried the momentum they built towards the end of the first half and carried it into the opening stages of the second as they enjoyed more possession for the first ten minutes after the restart.
It was Spurs who went closest to getting on the scoresheet again though when Bale drew a free kick from Baker two minutes before the break, allowing Assou-Ekotto to swing in a delivery for Steven Caulker who headed just wide.
Bale did it again on the hour, this time going down under a challenge from William Edjenguele and opting to take the dead ball himself and curling it around Murphy's far post.
The Sky Blues had another chance to pull one back on 66 minutes when Leon Clarke was given the ball at his feet 25 yards and he laid off to sub Conor Thomas whose shot was blocked by Assou-Ekotto for a corner.
Spurs 'keeper Brad Friedel then produced an outstanding save to deny Edjenguele who connected with Baker's corner delivery to glance a header goalwards which Friedel produced excellent reflexes to keep out.
Murphy did the same at the other end two minutes later when Steven Jennings was caught in possession by Bale who toed an effort at goal that the City shotstopper turned around the post with one hand.
The Sky Blues stuck to the task though and, to their credit, continued to search for a goal of their own and they had more joy down the flanks as the game entered its last 15 minutes, most notably when McSheffrey whipped in a low cross which just eveded the boot of Leon Clarke with 12 minutes to go.
Spurs sub Andros Townsend went close to a fourth on 83 minutes when he cut outside Richard Wood and fired just wide of the near post.
Dempsey then continued probing for his hat-trick with a free kick effort from 25 yards that missed the target by inches.
Attendance: 35,766 (5,021 Sky Blue Army)
Coventry City: Murphy (GK), J Clarke, Edjenguele, Wood, Adams, Moussa (Barton 50), Bailey (Thomas 58), Jennings (Fleck 69), Baker, McSheffrey, L Clarke
Subs: Dunn (GK), Cameron, Christie, Elliott
Tottenham Hotspur: Friedel (GK), Dempsey, Huddlestone, Caulker, Naughton, Parker (Dembele 79), Bale (Townsend 69), Dawson (c), Sigurdsson (Carroll 79), Assou-Ekotto, Adebayor.
Subs: Lloris (GK), Vertonghen, Lennon, Defoe
Bookings: Bailey (COV), Baker (COV)
Referee: Mr M Naylor
Assistant Referees: Mr L Betts, Mr D Robathan
Fourth Official: Mr D Sheldrake