EFL Trophy - Final
Coventry2Oxford Utd1

EFL Trophy final: Coventry City 2-1 Oxford United

Coventry City celebrate
Coventry City won the EFL Trophy for the first time in their history

Coventry City memorably put aside their off-field woes with a glorious Checkatrade Trophy final upset against fellow third-tier club Oxford United.

Gael Bigirimana's early close-range strike put League One's bottom side ahead at the break at Wembley.

George Thomas then struck a wonderful right-footed half-volley to double the Sky Blues' lead after 55 minutes.

The U's responded when sub Liam Sercombe's low right-foot shot found the bottom corner but City held on.

Coventry's victory will probably still only partially cushion Sky Blues fans from 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.

But, 30 years on from winning the FA Cup on their first-ever trip to Wembley, at a time when they were still an established top-flight side, their long-suffering supporters were able to celebrate a day almost to match that May afternoon in 1987.

Gael Bigirimana
Gael Bigirimana is in his third spell at Coventry City

Roared on by their noisy 43,000 following, the Sky Blues were ahead after 11 minutes when, from a right-wing Jordan Willis cross, Stuart Beavon's attempted volley was blocked invitingly into Bigirimana's path for him to slot home.

The goal marked a memorable couple of days for the Burundi-born midfielder, who became a father to a baby girl in the hours leading up to the final.

Oxford, for all of their apparent superiority and hard running in a floating system, always looked threatening but struggled to create meaningful chances, while referee Chris Sarginson ruled that Kane Hemmings had made the most of it when he went down in the box following a nudge in the back from Ryan Haynes.

George Thomas
George Thomas scored his seventh goal of the season early in the second half at Wembley

Coventry wide man Thomas had already twice served notice of another goal before he struck 10 minutes into the second half.

After going almost clean through without getting the ball under control, allowing Chey Dunkley to intercede, Thomas then had a well-struck right-footed volley tipped over by goalkeeper Simon Eastwood.

But Thomas' goal, when it came, was one to match anything Wembley has seen before as he controlled Kyel Reid's left-wing cross with one superb touch before drilling his powerful shot with pinpoint accuracy just inside the post.

Coventry goalkeeper Lee Burge came to his side's rescue on three occasions, first tipping over Chris Maguire's free-kick before saving with his legs from Rob Hall either side of Oxford's 75th-minute reply.

Burge's superb one-handed stop from Josh Ruffels led to a last-ditch goalmouth scramble, which City somehow survived, and meant Oxford were beaten at Wembley for the second year running having lost 3-2 to Barnsley in the same competition last season.

Coventry City manager Mark Robins: "This was all for the fans. We needed to find a way and we found a way.

"We had two chances and not many more than that. And I was dreading extra time, but Lee Burge making that save for us at the end was terrific. It's then that you start to think your name is on the cup.

"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."

Oxford United head coach Michael Appleton: "Coventry maybe had a hunger and desire to keep the ball out of the net more than we did. They had it in abundance. They made sure they were hard to beat and weren't going to concede.

"For me, to work as hard as we did to make the final and then come up short was the most frustrating thing."

Line-ups

Coventry

  • 1Burge
  • 2WillisSubstituted forKelly-Evansat 60'minutes
  • 3Stokes
  • 4Turnbull
  • 24Haynes
  • 27G ThomasSubstituted forJonesat 82'minutes
  • 31Stevenson
  • 5BigirimanaBooked at 39mins
  • 11Reid
  • 8Lameiras
  • 16BeavonSubstituted forTudgayat 90+5'minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Jones
  • 13Gadzhev
  • 17Folivi
  • 20Tudgay
  • 23Charles-Cook
  • 29Harries
  • 30Kelly-Evans

Oxford Utd

  • 1Eastwood
  • 16Edwards
  • 5Nelson
  • 33DunkleyBooked at 63mins
  • 28Johnson
  • 19Hall
  • 4Lundstram
  • 23LedsonSubstituted forSercombeat 57'minutesBooked at 86mins
  • 18RothwellSubstituted forRuffelsat 90+1'minutes
  • 10Maguire
  • 15Hemmings

Substitutes

  • 2Ribeiro
  • 3Skarz
  • 8Sercombe
  • 14Ruffels
  • 22Long
  • 34Stevens
  • 35Carroll
Referee:
Chris Sarginson
Attendance:
74,434

Match Stats

Home TeamCoventryAway TeamOxford Utd
Possession
Home43%
Away57%
Shots
Home11
Away13
Shots on Target
Home7
Away6
Corners
Home5
Away11
Fouls
Home12
Away10

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Sunday 2nd April 2017

View all EFL Trophy results

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Cheltenham32014316
2Blackpool31113305
3Everton U2131114314
4Bolton310213-23

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Wolverhampton Wanderers U2132018446
2Chesterfield32015506
3Crewe31025503
4Accrington310248-43

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Bradford32015416
2Morecambe32017706
3Bury31116424
4Stoke City U21301225-32

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Carlisle330011659
2Oldham31118715
3Fleetwood310236-33
4Blackburn Rovers U21301225-31

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Doncaster31204226
2Mansfield32014406
3Port Vale31111105
4Derby County U21301246-21

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Rochdale32105328
2Sunderland U2132104227
3Notts County310245-13
4Hartlepool300325-30

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Scunthorpe33006159
2Cambridge32013306
3Shrewsbury31023303
4Middlesbrough U21300327-50

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Walsall33008359
2Leicester City U2131111105
3Sheff Utd31115414
4Grimsby3003410-60

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Yeovil32106337
2Reading U21311156-15
3Portsmouth31116604
4Bristol Rovers301224-22

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Wimbledon32015326
2Swansea City U2132014406
3Plymouth31025503
4Newport310246-23

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Swindon31203217
2Oxford Utd31205325
3Exeter311167-14
4Chelsea U21301246-22

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Coventry330011569
2Wycombe32018446
3West Ham United U21301238-52
4Northampton301227-51

M

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Southampton U2132106157
2Crawley320134-16
3Charlton302113-23
4Colchester301224-22

N

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Norwich City U213300152139
2MK Dons311146-25
3Peterborough310238-53
4Barnet301239-61

O

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Southend320134-16
2Brighton and Hove Albion U21311134-15
3Stevenage31117524
4Leyton Orient31023303

P

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Millwall33007259
2Luton32015416
3Gillingham31024403
4West Bromwich Albion U21300306-60
View full EFL Trophy tables

Top Stories