Coventry in Wembley fairytale victory

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THIRTY YEARS on from their last visit to Wembley, Coventry City, thirteen points adrift at the foot of League Two, won the Checkatrade English Football League Trophy at Wembley last Sunday.

In front of 43,000 of their delirious fans the Sky Blues pulled off a shock 2-1 victory over fellow League Two side Oxford United.

Thirty years ago, on their first-ever trip to Wembley, at a time when they were still an established top-flight side, Coventry were also the underdogs, but they were too good for Spurs on the day and recorded a famous 3-2 extra time victory to lift the FA Cup for their first and only time.

This year’s glorious Checkatrade Trophy win is not quite so glamourous, as the competition is only entered by League I and league two clubs, plus some Under-21 teams from Premiership clubs.

However, for their long suffering supporters it may partially cushion the almost inevitable blow of relegation to English football’s fourth tier for the first time since 1959. Mark Robins’ side remain highly likely to go down, as they are 13 points adrift of safety with just six games left to play.

The Sky Blues decline since that memorable FA Cup win has been steady and almost inevitable, despite their large and passionate fan base, so this fairytale win, will give them something to remember on those long cold trips to Accrington Stanley and Morecambe next season.

Goals from Gael Bigirimana and George Thomas sealed their victory, with just a consolation, Liam Sercombe goal coming from favourites Oxford.

Speaking to reporters after the victory, manager Mark Robins said: “This was all for the fans. We needed to find a way and we found a way.

“Oxford are really good side on the upward curve. They played some good stuff. Michael Appleton’s done a good job there. But to witness our performance with and without the ball in front of 70,000, of which 43,000 were our fans, made me very proud.”

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