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WEMBLEY REPORT: Coventry City 2-1 Oxford United - Coventry City crowned winners of the Checkatrade Trophy

2 April 2017

The Sky Blues ensure it is a memorable day at the national stadium in the EFL Trophy...

The Sky Blues commemorate the 30th anniversary of their FA Cup triumph with another win at Wembley stadium, claiming victory over Oxford United to lift the Checkatrade Trophy.

Goals from Gael Bigirimana and George Thomas gave the Sky Blues a memorable 2-1 win, as 45,000 adoring fans watched their team lift silverware once more. 

In a tentative opening, Kane Hemmings looked the liveliest of the attacking men on the field, trying to run off the back of Ryan Haynes and fashion an opening.

The Sky Blues backline were well organised, and Hemmings was twice thwarted by the linesman’s offside flag. Gael Bigirimana tried from distance in the sixth minute, but was forced to watch his effort sail wide.

But the academy product didn’t have to wait long to be gifted a further chance, as Stuart Beavon’s deflected shot fell kindly to Bigirimana in the area. On his third spell in the West Midlands, it was 23-year old who put City in front, side footing home from close range as the 45,000 strong Coventry fans erupted.

Ben Stevenson tried his luck from the edge of the area in the 26th minute, but rather sliced the volley, allowing Eastwood an easy catch. Just as the clock ticked over the half-hour mark, Oxford began pressing higher and finding some passing rhythm. 

Hemmings was always the intended target, while Chris Maguire also looked progressive with the ball at his feet. Providing the link between midfield and attack, Maguire carved a chance for Rob Hall just before half-time, but Lee Burge was happy to watch the ball comfortably wide. 

City started on the front foot in the second period, epitomised by a surging run from centre-half Jordan Turnbull. The ex-Saints defender ran the ball some 30-yards before finding Beavon, whose shot on the turn didn't trouble Eastwood.

Moments later, an inviting ball played forward by Ryan Haynes sent George Thomas running, as he attempted to latch on to the perfectly weighted pass.

The forward timed his run well, escaping the offside trap, but Chey Dunkley recovered, before a quick corner from Ruben Lameiras found the Welshman in space once more. Thomas struck the shot well, but Eastwood was equal to it, with a smart fingertip save.

However the 20-year old was afforded his time in the limelight moments later, doubling the Sky Blues advantage with an emphatic finish from 20-yards out. Kyel Reid found the striker with his pullback from the left, Thomas took one touch to steady himself, and found the bottom corner with consummate ease.

It took some acrobatic stuff from Burge in the City upright to deny Maguire from a free-kick in the 72nd minute. 

Set-piece specialist, Maguire hit the effort with plenty of pace, but Burge read the danger well and palmed over the bar to safety. 

Moments later, Liam Sercombe - on as a second-half substitute - gave Oxford a lifeline, as City failed to clear a corner. The ball fell fortuitously to Sercombe on the edge of the technical area, and he duly found the bottom corner of the net. 

The U's pushed forward in the final moments, throwing everything at the Sky Blues, but Mark Robins' side held on to claim victory and lift the Checkatrade Trophy. 

Yellow: Bigirimana, Dunkley, Sercombe.

Attendance: 74,434

Teams:

Coventry City: Burge (GK), Willis (C) (Di Kelly-Evans 60'), Stokes, Turnbull, Haynes, G.Thomas (Jones 80'), Bigirimana, Stevenson, Reid, Lameiras, Beavon (Tudgay 90').

Subs: Charles-Cook (GK), Harries, Gadzhev Folivi.

Oxford United: Eastwood (GK), Lundstram (C), Nelson, Maguire, Hemmings, Edwards, Rothwell, Hall, Ledson (Sercombe 55'), Johnson, Dunkley.

Subs: Stevens (GK), Ribeiro, Skarz, Ruffels, Long, Carroll.

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