Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:46 am
Sky Blues beaten on penalties after FA Cup thriller
Coventry City crashed out of their fourth round FA Cup replay in a dramatic penalty shootout against their groundshare landlords Birmingham City.
The Sky Blues were two minutes away from victory after twice taking the lead in a pulsating tie against the Championship side.
Amadou Bakayoko had put them ahead early in the second half only for Harlee Dean to head home from close range in stoppage time to send the tie into extra-time.
Max Biamou - who missed two chances to kill the game in normal time - then restored City’s lead but a freak goal from Jeremie Bela in the dying minutes forced the game to penalties, which Coventry lost 4-1 after Blues keeper Lee Camp made two saves to deny Liam Walsh and Jamie Allen.
City dominated the early proceedings on and off the pitch as the players got at their Championship hosts from the first whistle, while the Sky Blue Army were in full banter mode, having a constant pop at their Bluenose counterparts and getting right behind their team.
Play, however, came to a temporary halt on 12 minutes when Blues midfielder Josh McEachran suffered a bad injury, requiring treatment on the pitch for several minutes before being stretchered off following a challenge with Max Biamou with what looked like a broken ankle.
Coventry continued to play all the football but the home side gradually got themselves more into the game with Jefferson Montero executing an overhead kick in the box that was cleared on the line by Dom Hyam.
The game was delayed again just after the half hour mark when Josh Pask and Montero clashed heads on the halfway line with both laying motionless on the pitch before being treated by medical staff. But both were able to continue with Pask being shown a yellow card for a foul.
Blues grew into the game with Montero their main threat, turning Pask inside out in the box before being denied by goalkeeper Marko Marosi at his near post.
Aside from a few long long range efforts that went wide and a couple of tame shots, City had little to show for their first half endeavour as the sides went in all square at the break with very little to choose between them at the midway point.
The home side started the second half the brighter of the two but Bakayoko lit the sky blue touchpaper in the 50th minute when Zain Westbrooke slipped him in box where he hit a shot that took a deflection off keeper Lee Camp and looped up and into the back of the net.
City went close to adding a second seven minutes later when Fankaty Dabo raced down the right and sent in an early centre which Biamou lifted over the bar with the whole goal to aim at, the visitors in the ascendancy after taking the lead.
Robins made a double substitution on 72 minutes, sending Jamie Allen and Callum O’Hare on for Westbrooke and Shipley, and Allen was involved in a sweeping move when he received a brilliant ball from Dabo and then slipped it out to Biamou to his left, only for the striker to fire wide at the near post when he looked favourite to score.
Marko Marosi came to the rescue when Blues’ sub Jeremie Bela ran clean through, the City keeper racing out and blocking the shot to deny the equaliser as the home side sent on Lukas Jutkiewicz in a bid to salvage the tie.
But it was centre-back Harlee Dean who did just that in the second minute of four minutes of added time, heading home a Jacques Maghoma cross from close range.
Jutkiewicz then had a header tipped onto the bar with the last touch of the game as the tie went into extra-time.
Allen went close to restoring City’s lead three minutes in when he raced through, only for Camp to get a foot to his shot and send it wide in an end-to-end climax the the match, with Montero racing through at the other end before blasting into the stands.
Liam Walsh was sent on as City’s fourth and final sub for the second period of extra-time when Biamou made it third time lucky when he converted a lovely square ball from O’Hare, after good work from Godden, to restore City’s lead in the 114th minute.
But Bela popped up with a wonder goal at the death, sending a deep cross into the box that went in off the far post to sent the tie to penalties.
And although Matty Godden scored City’s first, Liam Walsh and Jamie Allen were denied by Camp as Jutkiewicz, Bela, Gardner and Dean were all on target for the hosts.