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Match Reports

REPORT: Coventry City 2-1 Wycombe Wanderers - The Sky Blues book their place at Wembley

7 February 2017

CITY ARE OFF TO WEMBLEY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 30 YEARS...

With the reward of a trip to Wembley at stake, the Sky Blues were quickest out of the blocks, and deservedly 2-0 up inside the opening quarter. 

Stuart Beavon had broke the deadlock inside ten minutes, before strike partner George Thomas netted his third of the competition. Adebayo Akinfenwa had given the visitors a glimmer of hope after his second-half introduction, but City's two goals proved decisive. 

Forced to make three changes to the back four, Russell Slade started with a defensive unit who were yet line up alongside one another in a competitive fixture.

City’s first effort on target was fashioned by midfielder Callum Reilly, who used the decoy run of Thomas to create some space on the edge of the Wycombe 18-yard. He fired a right-footed shot low, and forced a routine save out of Chelsea loanee ‘keeper Jamal Blackman. 

Still inside the opening ten minutes, and City had another sight of the opposition goal. This time frontman Beavon was gifted a chance when the ball fell to him 20 yards out. Playing against his former team, the ex-Wanderers striker hit the strike cleanly enough, after being found initially by Reilly, but it finished millimetres wide of the target. 

The 32-year old soon made the breakthrough in the tenth minute. The tireless Reilly drove down the right, picked his head up and spotted a clever run from Beavon. Cutting inside, Beavon hit a shot goalward, which found the back of the Wycombe net via a Wycombe deflection. 

And City had doubled their lead inside the opening 20 minutes. A wonderful cross-field pass from Kyel Reid was chested down by academy product George Thomas, who hit an emphatic volley in to the far corner of Blackman’s net. An audacious effort from Marcus Tudgay followed soon after, who looked intent on getting in on the action.

Luke O’Nien was the first Wycombe player to really threaten Reice Charles-Cook’s goal, with the City ‘keeper effectively earning City a place in tonight’s semi-final with two penalty saves in the last round. The visiting midfielder struck a shot on the volley, which was caught comfortably by the Sky Blues stopper. 

The home side continued to pressurise Wycombe’s goal, as further chances fell to Beavon and Andy Rose. Rose’s was perhaps the better of the two, as a Reilly free-kick found him spare at the back post, but the 26-year old could only steer his header wide. 

Ryan Haynes ensured City would reach the interval without a blotch on their record. A last ditch tackle inside the area denied the oncoming Michael Harriman a chance, before Myles Weston blasted his effort high and wide of the goal as the ball dropped fortuitously to him at the back post. 

Both managers made half-time changes, although Slade’s was forced while Gareth Ainsworth made a tactical switch. Adebayo Akinfenwa was introduced in place of right-back Sido Jombati, while Jodi Jones replaced Beavon who had taken a knock in the first 45.

Weston was first in line for Wycombe, as he snuck in at the back post once more. Charles-Cook had to be alive to the danger, helped further by some astute defending from centre-half Jordan Turnbull. 

53 minutes had passed before winger Jones had the chance to make a real impact. The 19-year old was quickest to pounce on a lose ball, before running the length of the pitch and squaring to Thomas, but Blackman was able to intervene. 

Wycombe found a route back in to the game two minutes later, as super sub Akinfenwa made his presence felt. The frontman lashed home from eight yards, after some lacklustre defending from the home side. 

The visitors continued to pile on the pressure, with a change in formation paying dividends for Ainsworth’s men. Marcus Bean had a shot well saved, while the introduction of Scott Kashket was also causing problems. A wild effort from Anthony Stewart flew wide, as the last 15-minutes had a real cup-tie feel about it. 

Akinfenwa had another golden opportunity on the 80th minute, as he tried to wrap his boot around a bouncing ball in the area. The effort was watched wide by a thankful Charles-Cook, whose side were under untold pressure in the closing stages. 

Reilly had a rare chance for City in the dying moments, being freed by Rose down the left. The midfielder’s cross was overhit, but momentarily relieved some of the pressure on the City back four. 

A Sam Saunders corner in the 88th minute was cleared by Thomas, who was clattered in the process, and City survived once more. Six minutes of agonising extra time had elapsed, before the final whistle was blown and a place at Wembley was finally confirmed. Sky Blues fans poured on to the field in elation, with the prospect of an outing to the national stadium in April. 

Attendance: 11,672 (764)

Yellow: Kelly-Evans, Tudgay. 

Teams

Coventry City: Charles-Cook (GK), Di.Kelly-Evans, Turnbull, Harries, Haynes, Reilly, Rose, G.Thomas, Reid (Finch 63'), Beavon (Jones 45'), Tudgay (C). 

Subs: Burge (GK), Bigirimana, Stevenson, Gadzhev, Lameiras.

Wycombe Wanderers: Blackman (GK), Jombati (Akinfenwa 45'), Jacobson (C), Stewart, Thompson (Kashket 58'), Bean, Harriman, O'Nien, Weston (Wood 85'), de Havilland, Saunders.

Subs: Richardson (GK), Muller, Freeman.

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