Maidstone outclassed by Coventry as FA Cup run ends with thrashing


Ellis Simms ended Maidstone’s FA Cup fairytale as his first-half hat-trick helped fire Coventry into the quarter-finals.

The striker’s treble and Fabio Tavares’ late double sent the Sky Blues into the last eight for the first time since 2009 after a 5-0 win.

It was a disappointing climax to the Stones’ historic Cup run, which had seen them win seven ties – including knocking out Barrow, Stevenage and Ipswich – to become the first team outside the top five divisions to reach the fifth round since Blyth Spartans in 1978.

George Elokobi’s National League South side became heroes following their fourth-round win at Portman Road but there was never any danger of a repeat at Coventry.

Ellis Simms scored three before half-time (Barrington Coombs/PA)

(PA Wire)

The Sky Blues were determined to avoid suffering the same fate as their Championship rivals, with Mark Robins’ men rampant from the start and 2-0 up inside 15 minutes.

Haji Wright forced Lucas Covolan into early action before Simms fired them into a ninth-minute lead.

Reiss Greenidge’s loose pass was seized on by Liam Kelly and he found Kasey Palmer to slip in Simms, who confidently beat Covolan.

The striker then netted his fourth goal in four games six minutes later, again combining with Palmer to drill in a low angled effort from 15 yards.

Maidstone, who lost 2-0 to Aveley on Saturday to leave them eighth in National League South, were outclassed and outgunned.

Maidstone enjoyed their evening despite the scoreline

(Getty Images)

A rare Liam Sole effort dropped over but the visitors were contained by their hosts, who had moved into cruise control following Simms’ brace.

As their pace dropped, so did the amount of chances although Tavares dragged wide from 25 yards, until Simms completed his hat-trick 10 minutes before the break.

Again Palmer was the creator when his first-time volley from 35 yards caught out Covolan and the goalkeeper could only parry it into the path of Simms, who rammed in from four yards.

It was game over and half-time substitute Callum O’Hare went searching for another four minutes after the restart only to shoot straight at Covolan.

The goalkeeper turned Palmer’s strike away just after the hour and gathered Josh Eccles’ shot but the game had already begun to lose momentum.

Yet Coventry still found time to score twice late on through Tavares.

The midfielder rifled in from Matty Godden’s pass with two minutes left before he followed up in stoppage time to net after Covolan parried Godden’s effort.

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