After defeating Maidenhead on Sunday we turned our attentions to the trophy which we don't really care about, yet we still technically the holders. Given the last minute goals in our first two group games, whether or not we made it through to the knockout stages was out of our hands. We needed to win whilst Shrewsbury also needed to help us out by claiming victory at Walsall. We've actually played quite well in the competition so to find ourselves in this situation is fairly unlucky.
Coventry City Starting XI:
Coventry City Substitutes:
I'm quite proud to say that I called 10 of the starting eleven, the only one I missed was the one I wanted the most. Kwame Thomas found his way into the first team for the first time this season, something which filled me with joy. He's somewhat unfairly been pushed out of the first team since Robins took the reigns back in March. Now, in League Two he's not even fifth choice, a real shame. Other than that it was just everyone who could be classed as a senior player whom didn't play on Sunday. Peter Vincenti was the only one to keep his spot with the bench made up of the u23 squad plus Maxime Biamou and Lee Burge.
The visitors played their expected youth squad but had £15 million summer signing Oliver Burke in the first team, which is somehow allowed in this farce of a competition. Saying that, had the youth sides not been integrated into it last season we wouldn't have had our day in the sun. Amongst all of the stewarding problems in the stands the visitors were perhaps the better side in a very dull first half.
Callum Morton had the first real chance of the game around 10 minutes in when he was played through on the right side, Liam O'Brien got down well to push it away. Chris Stokes cleared his lines to stop the danger from going any further. Down the other end Kwame got our first chance on the board with a weak turn and shot which trickled well wide of the post. Ben Stevenson also blasted over the bar on a couple of occasions.
The biggest talking point of the half, and that's saying something, came 5 minutes from the end of the half when Stokes received the ball on the left flank, he put an inch perfect ball into Stuart Beavon who prodded home from close range but the left back strayed offside before crossing in. This incredibly exciting took us into the break, which is good, I don't think my heart would be able to take any more of it.
Half Time - Coventry City 0-0 West Bromwich Albion u21s
At the break we switched Peter Vincenti for Maxime Biamou to give 'Big V' a rest, and started to take control of a game against a side in reality we should have been dispatching of with relative ease. We broke the deadlock on the hour mark when Ben Stevenson collected the ball 25 yards out, skipped around a defender and finessed home from just outside the area. The best part of it all? This is the worst goal he's scored for us, he doesn't do bad goals.
Almost immediately after the goal went in we were on the attack again, a corner was put in by Stevenson and met by Maxime Biamou who nodded in to score his first goal for the club. This could be the opening of the floodgates as everyone knows, the first goal is the hardest to get, from then on it gets easier and easier. Let's just hope he can kick on with it all in the league.
Liam O'Brien made a few point blank saves to keep our two goal advantage sturdy but couldn't do anything about Burke's run down the right where he was unchallenged and able to simply pass it into the net. Before the game was out Tom Bayliss and Jordan Thompson made their debuts for the club and saw out the win. Unluckily for us, Walsall scored a last minute winner in their game to see us out of the competition, despite winning.
Full Time - Coventry City 2-1 West Bromwich Albion u21s
I suppose what happened is the best case scenario for us when you think about it, yes we're out, but we still won the match, making it 3 from 3 in all competitions. Plus now we don't have it to distract us, just the league and our FA Cup run which is definitely happening. Roll on Mansfield on Saturday, a big game against a fellow promotion favourite, a massive fixture, and now that we're scoring again it's anyone's game.
My Man of the Match - Ben Stevenson - Much like the club, I have gone with Ben Stevenson as my pick for the man of the match, he's unlucky to have dropped out of the first team but didn't grasp his one opportunity at Accrington. Tonight however he hugely stood out with a goal and an assist to his name. Saying that, you can't split up Doyle and Kelly assuming they're fit, it's an instrumental partnership.