Coventry Citys dream of taking their first
trophy since 1987 was blown away in a magnificent eight minute spell from West Ham.
City began the game brightly and twice in the opening 10 minutes they had taken the
ball around visitors keeper Stephen Bywater but on both occasions, first Gary
McSheffrey and then Stephen McPhee hit the side netting.
In truth it was a disappointing night for McSheffrey who failed to get involved in the
game and was limited to just one second half shot on target, but the opposite could be
said for West Hams star turn Joe Cole.
Cole has figured in the Hammers Premiership side on several occasions this
season, and on this evidence he is certainly not out of place.
Coventry were given their warning just before the break when Cole looked up and
threaded a perfect pass to Richard Garcia, and a penalty was given when his run was
brought crudely to an end by City centre-back Mark Burrows.
Bertie Brayley stepped up for West Ham but his spot-kick was saved by commanding Sky
Blues keeper Chris Kirkland who flung himself to his right to allow the hosts to go into
the break level.
It was to be brief respite for City. The second half saw one-way traffic bearing down
on the Coventry goal and it seemed only a matter of time before the stubborn resistance
cracked - and it did, on 70 minutes.
Again Cole was the creator unlocking the Coventry defence with a diagonal pass for the
excellent Adam Newton to gallop onto and calmly lob the advancing Kirkland, and five
minutes later it was two after a deep corner was forced in at the far post by Stevland
The tie was finished as a spectacle 12 minutes from time when Newton again lost his
marker down the right flank and delivered a pinpoint cross into the path of Brayley who
was left with a tap in past Kirkland from a few yards out.
The result leaves the Sky Blues with an unlikely mountain to climb at Upton Park next
week if they are to stop pre-tournament favorites West Ham from lifting the trophy.
Kirkland, Mooney, Lewis, Betts, Cudworth, Burrows, McPhee, Pead (89mins, Doyle), Eribenne,
McSheffrey, Graham ( 81mins, Grant)