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Dublin: 15 °C Saturday 8 August, 2020

Pressure mounts on Hughes after Stoke go down to League Two opposition

A memorable result for Coventry City, who were captained by Irish midfielder Michael Doyle.

Coventry City v Stoke City - FA Cup - Third Round - Ricoh Arena Jordan Willis celebrates after putting Coventry ahead against Stoke. Source: Nigel French

THEY MAY BE separated by 52 places in the English football pyramid but that didn’t stop Coventry City from pulling off a major upset in today’s FA Cup third-round tie at home to Premier League club Stoke City.

FA Cup winners in 1987, Coventry have suffered a major fall from grace in recent years, having been relegated from the Premier League in 2004 after 34 consecutive seasons in the top flight.

However, the League Two outfit enjoyed one of the most memorable days in their history thanks to Jordan Willis and Jack Grimmer, who netted for Mark Robins’ team either side of a Charlie Adam penalty.

It was a sweet victory for Coventry, who themselves suffered one of the most famous giant-killings in FA Cup history when they lost 2-1 to non-league Sutton United in 1989.

Currently in third place in the fourth tier of English football and captained by Irish midfielder Michael Doyle, Coventry took the lead in the 24th minute when Willis headed home.

Stoke — for whom Stephen Ireland started to make his first appearance in 609 days — introduced Xherdan Shaqiri and Peter Crouch in the second half. They were level within eight minutes of the restart when Adam scored from the spot after Willis was penalised for fouling Ramadan Sobhi in the box.

Coventry City v Stoke City - FA Cup - Third Round - Ricoh Arena Coventry's Irish skipper Michael Doyle (right) celebrates with Marc McNulty after the win over Stoke. Source: Nigel French

But the decisive goal came in the 67th minute when Grimmer turned inside and fired the ball past Jack Butland to send Coventry into the fourth round and leave Stoke manager Mark Hughes under even more pressure. The Potters have now lost their last three games and languish in the relegation zone in the Premier League.

Bournemouth needed a goal in added time to avoid being the second Premier League team to lose to lower-league opposition. Northern Ireland striker Will Grigg gave League One side Wigan Athletic a fourth-minute lead at Dean Court, before Emerson Hyndman’s own goal doubled the visitors’ lead just before the half-hour mark.

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Lys Mousset reduced the deficit for Bournemouth with 10 minutes of the second half played. Wigan, the 2013 FA Cup winners who currently top the table in the third tier, were denied a shock win by Steve Cook’s goal two minutes into additional time.

There was a major upset at Griffin Park. Brentford, currently in 11th place in the Championship, were knocked out by Notts County, the second-placed team in League Two.

After being out for 21 months with an injury, Irish international Alan Judge came off the bench for Brentford with 20 minutes remaining. However, the only goal of the game came five minutes earlier courtesy of Notts County’s Jon Stead.

Aston Villa also won’t be in the hat for the fourth-round draw. The Championship promotion chasers, for whom Irish international midfielder Conor Hourihane started, lost 3-1 at home to Peterborough United, despite taking an early lead through Keinan Davis.

Peterborough, who had ex-St Patrick’s Athletic playmaker Chris Forrester in their starting line-up, scored three times in the final 15 minutes. Jack Marriott netted twice and Ryan Tafazolli was also on target for the League One side.

Elsewhere, Ousseynou Cisse scored the only goal as League One strugglers MK Dons got the better of Championship outfit Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.

Championship clubs Reading, Sheffield Wednesday and Cardiff City will all require replays to see off League Two opposition. They were held to scoreless draws by Stevenage, Carlisle United and Mansfield Town respectively.

Reading and Sheffield Wednesday will both have home advantage for their second bite at the cherry.

Kildare native captains Fleetwood Town to FA Cup draw with Leicester City

609 days since his last appearance, Stephen Ireland starts for Stoke City this afternoon

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Paul Dollery

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