Matty Godden bags brace as Coventry hit Oxford for six in FA Cup third round

By Sports Desk January 06, 2024

Matty Godden scored a brace as Championship Coventry thrashed League One Oxford 6-2 at the CBS Arena in the FA Cup third round.

The substitute followed up early strikes by Joel Latibeaudiere and Ben Sheaf, while Kasey Palmer’s thunderbolt made it 3-1.

Callum O’Hare’s second-half penalty made it 4-1 to the hosts who are through to the fourth round for just the second time in six seasons, with Mark Harris and Tyler Goodrham on the scoresheet for Des Buckingham’s side.

A frantic opening saw four goals in the space of eight first-half minutes, sparked by Latibeaudiere’s near-post header.

Coventry enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the early exchanges but Oxford were level almost instantly when Harris latched on to Palmer’s mistake and a wicked deflection off Luis Binks took his effort past a helpless Ben Wilson.

The 1987 FA Cup winners were back ahead even quicker than they had been pegged back when Ellis Simms powerfully drove to the byline before squaring for Sheaf to slam home his second of the season.

Palmer then gave the Sky Blues daylight when he picked up the ball inside the Oxford half before uncorking a 30-yard rocket into the top corner to round off an exhilarating first 17 minutes.

The U’s went out of the cup at the same stage last year after a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal and could have found themselves further behind when Simms blazed over after outmuscling a U’s defender, whilst Milan van Ewijk’s free-kick cleared the crossbar.

Mark Robins, who won the FA Cup as a player with Manchester United in 1990, could have seen his side go three goals to the good immediately after the interval when Palmer played in O’Hare, but he was thwarted by Simon Eastwood.

O’Hare was given a second chance to give the Sky Blues the three-goal lead they deserved after Ciaron Brown fouled Palmer before Coventry’s talismanic midfielder made no mistake as he sent Eastwood the wrong way from the spot.

Palmer was at the heart of all of Coventry’s attacking play and created the Sky Blues’ next chance for Jake Bidwell, who slid his effort past a post.

Oxford, backed by around 3,000 fans in the West Midlands, sensed hope when Goodrham picked out the bottom corner from the edge of the box, but that hope was dashed soon after as Godden entered the fray.

First, he took down Jamie Allen’s lay-off and bent an effort into the far corner before picking out the same corner with his left foot five minutes later to finish off the rout and book Coventry’s place in the fourth-round draw.

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    Philippe Clement has put Rangers’ historic defeat to Ross County down to an “off-day” that even the best teams in the world experience as he looks for a reaction against Dundee on Wednesday night.

    County’s 3-2 cinch Premiership victory on Sunday was the Dingwall club’s first win over Rangers in 25 attempts and dented the Light Blues’ title hopes.

    Rangers are four points behind Celtic, with their game in hand against Dundee at Dens Park getting the green light to go ahead after two previous postponements due to an unplayable pitch.

    Clement’s side have won just two in seven and taken four points from their last 12 but the Belgian was keen to isolate the County display as the first of its kind with deficiencies in structure, organisation and basics since he took over in October and insists such days happen at every club, including all-conquering Manchester City.

    “They were very disappointed in themselves and that is a positive thing,” said Clement, who revealed left-back Ridvan Yilmaz remains out along with midfielder Mohamed Diomande, while defender Leon Balogun is a doubt with illness.

    “I had some clear words after the game and then we had a good debriefing on what went wrong – individually and collectively – and how we can make it better.

    “It was an off-day.

    “It is the first time in six months that I have seen my team like that and I was disappointed. But I think every manager has moments like that, even with teams that win amazing things.

    “I have been watching the series of Man City’s treble last year and I saw quite a few of those moments.

    “It doesn’t mean that I want to see it back on Wednesday of course, but it is part of the game.

    “It’s not something that you want, not the players or manager, fans.

    “But the most important thing is how you react and I have a good feeling about that, that I will see the real face of my team tomorrow.

    “Motherwell (lost 2-1) was a freak accident, we could have won 6-1, we had a lot of chances but it wasn’t our lucky day.

    “The Celtic game (3-3) was a big game, we didn’t start well but we had a great reaction and we played a really good second half and I think it was a deserved draw.

    “But this one on Sunday was a bad one, that is true, so we have to react tomorrow.

    “Sometimes you need a knock on your head to remind you what you need to do to be strong.”

    Clement was pleased to see that the match between Dundee and Rangers is set to go ahead at the third time of asking after a pitch inspection at Dens Park.

    Rangers have already made the trip to the Scot Foam Stadium twice – on March 17 and April 10 – only for the pitch to be deemed unplayable, and contingency plans had been drawn up for the game to be moved to St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park if the pitch failed its latest inspection.

    He said: “People who decided to play at Dens Park are sure that there will be a game tomorrow and that is a very positive thing.

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  • Chance to do treble again an ‘inspiration and motivation’ – Bernardo Silva Chance to do treble again an ‘inspiration and motivation’ – Bernardo Silva

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    Their attention now switches to the Champions League and the second leg of a quarter-final tie against Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday that will begin with the aggregate score at 3-3. They then head to Wembley on Saturday for an FA Cup semi-final date with Chelsea.

    Midfielder Silva said of City’s triple target: “Of course it’s obviously (an) inspiration and motivation.

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    “If we can win two trebles in a row, that no-one did, that would be legacy. That is definitely motivation.

    “It’s very difficult as in one week we could be out of all the competitions, but we are fighting for it and going to do everything in our power to be, each day, a step closer that goal.”

    Manager Pep Guardiola, who was speaking alongside Silva at a press conference, was more circumspect in detailing his ambitions but made clear his team will be giving everything to achieve the maximum.

    He said: “I am not going to say don’t feel this to my players when they feel this, but I have a different opinion. We are far away from those hypothetical dreams.

    “When we are in the final of the FA Cup, and (have) two or three games (to go in the Premier League) with an advantage, and in the final of the Champions League, I will start to think about that. But not before a game against Real Madrid.

    “We have a lot of difficult games. It is one game at a time and it is Real Madrid tomorrow. I started to think of the treble last season when we beat (Manchester) United in the FA Cup final.

    “The success for me this season is that we are still there, in this position four or five weeks away, still in contention. It’s incredible.

    “Now, extend the chance one more week, then one more week. This is what we try to do tomorrow and Saturday and the next games.”

    Guardiola, as a former Barcelona captain and manager, has had a fierce rivalry with Real Madrid throughout his career.

    This is the third successive year his City side have played Real in the Champions League knockout stages, with the Spanish side going through in 2022 but the Premier League outfit prevailing a year ago.

    And after last week’s pulsating draw in the Bernabeu Stadium, Guardiola is relishing another contest against Carlo Ancelotti’s team.

    Guardiola said: “Real Madrid in this competition is always a big game. It’s been special for me as a player and manager, but that doesn’t count. What counts is what we have to do to win tomorrow.

    “I don’t fear them but I respect them a lot.”

    City hope to have Kyle Walker back after five games out with a hamstring injury.

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    Edward's administration is the first self-governed TTFA in more than four years. This as William Wallace's administration was removed months after being elected in November 2019, as FIFA intervened and installed the Hadad-chaired Normalisation Committee in March 2020, citing financial concerns.

    “I have no intention of doing anything more. I am quite happy to move on with my personal life. I love fishing, I love the outdoors, and I’m going to continue in my quest for some personal, private time, without anything hanging over my head, like football," Hadad declared.

    That said, the local businessman, whose four years in charge was to oversee the liquidation of a multi-million TTFA debt that stood for decades, believed he did his best to complete the mandate given to him by FIFA.

    “I was very satisfied with what we were able to achieve. I think that the last four years have brought us (to) a better place and I’m content with that. I don’t think I can please everybody, and I don’t think I will ever please everybody," he said.

    “The Association, I would think, they are in a pretty good place. The Association is debt free, save an except for the financial arrangement with FIFA which will be paid off over the next ten years. The rest of it is up to Mr Edwards now and the membership, to take football forward,” Hadad added.

    While applauding the large turnout of TTFA delegates at Saturday's elections, Hadad, whose four years in charge was to oversee the liquidation of a multi-million TTFA debt that stood for decades, expressed optimism that football will not only move forward, but more importantly, impact lives enough to assist in decreasing the crime rate.

    “I’d like to congratulate the TTFA members. I think they were very professional coming out in their numbers, 100% attendance. The normalisation process is completed," Hadad said, adding that debtors had been paid, with the exception of disputed matters involving Englishmen Terry Fenwick and Peter Miller, which are before the local courts.

    “There are two matters before the court and those matters have to be resolved. The trustee Maria Daniel will continue working to bring those matters to a close,” he noted.

    Meanwhile, Edwards praised Hadad and his Normalisation Committee for the work done.

    “The Normalisation Committee played a crucial role in Trinidad and Tobago football. We need to understand that, and we need to acknowledge the service they would have given to Trinidad and Tobago football," the new TTFA president shared.

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