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League Two Coventry City pulled off an FA Cup third-round shock by beating Premier League strugglers Stoke City.

Jordan Willis’s towering header put the hosts ahead, before the defender felled Ramadan Sobhi after the break and Charlie Adam levelled from the spot.

But right-back Jack Grimmer fired his side back ahead from outside the area with 20 minutes to play and the Sky Blues held on for an historic victory.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes has now lost six of the last eight matches.

The Premier League side showed their quality in the first period as two of Hughes’ four changes justified their starts from the off.

Stephen Ireland and Mame Biram Diouf twice combined well in the box but Stoke failed to take their chances and the home side took the lead through Willis, from debutant Jordan Maguire-Drew’s corner.

The visitors turned the screw after the break as first-half hero Willis conceded a penalty, but when the Stoke players failed to close down Grimmer on the edge of the area, the defender took his chance and beat Jack Butland at his near post.

There was a delay in play in the final minutes of the game as frustrations boiled over and a flare was thrown on to the pitch, but it was the Coventry fans who were left celebrating an unlikely win.

City on the up

Jordan Willis

In 1987 Coventry City beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 at Wembley to lift the FA Cup, but in the 30 years since, the Midlands club have endured a spectacular fall from grace.

Twenty years ago Coventry were a Premier League side, 10 years ago they were competing against Saturday’s opponents Stoke in the Championship, but this season they began life as a League Two side having been relegated to English football’s fourth tier for the first time since 1959.

Off the field, the Sky Blues’ unrest was compounded when they were put into administration in 2013 and they were forced to spend a year in exile in Northampton in 2013-14 because of a dispute over stadium rent.

But despite their fans’ continuing frustration with owners Sisu, the side have made a bright start in League Two, winning four of their five games over the festive period to climb into the automatic promotion places.

And thanks to two well-taken goals from defenders Willis and Grimmer, the festivities at Coventry will continue after Mark Robins, a former team-mate of Mark Hughes at Manchester United, engineered a deserved win in front of 14,199 fans at the Ricoh Arena.

Hughes resigned to his fate?

Mark Hughes

A desperate run has plunged Stoke into the relegation zone and manager Mark Hughes was in dire need of a win on Saturday – even against a League Two side in the FA Cup.

But Stoke were eliminated from the competition as a top-flight side, against a side from the fourth tier or below, for the first time since January 1938.

In their 1-0 Premier League defeat by Newcastle on New Year’s Day, a handful of Stoke supporters displayed banners demanding Hughes be sacked, but the club have so far resisted the pressure to make a snap decision on the manager’s future.

They should have had the quality to overcome a resurgent Sky Blues side but once again they lacked a clinical goal-scorer.

Diouf made a bright start without hitting the target, while his strike partner Saido Berahino was barely noticeable for much of the game.

And despite boasting a far stronger bench – with Peter Crouch and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting introduced in the latter stages – neither could make a meaningful contribution as Coventry City’s defence held strong under full fire at the end.

Hughes was presented with yet another defensive headache with Erik Pieters (hamstring) sidelined once again alongside Ryan Shawcross (calf) and Bruno Martins Indi (groin) but that will provide little excuse for his side’s latest below-par performance.

On Thursday Hughes said he did not need reassurance about his position after the BBC reported the club were ‘considering his future’ but this latest setback heaps even more pressure on the Welshman.

Line-ups

Coventry

  • 13O’Brien
  • 2Grimmer
  • 4Willis
  • 12Davies
  • 3Stokes
  • 17Maguire-DrewSubstituted forStevensonat 63′minutes
  • 30Bayliss
  • 8Doyle
  • 26ShipleySubstituted forHaynesat 85′minutes
  • 9Biamou
  • 10McNulty

Substitutes

  • 1Burge
  • 15Hyam
  • 24Haynes
  • 28Maycock
  • 31Stevenson
  • 35Finn
  • 38Ponticelli

Stoke

  • 1Butland
  • 6Zouma
  • 20CameronSubstituted forCrouchat 52′minutes
  • 5Wimmer
  • 42Edwards
  • 4AllenBooked at 36mins
  • 7IrelandBooked at 26minsSubstituted forChoupo-Motingat 73′minutes
  • 16AdamSubstituted forShaqiriat 75′minutes
  • 32Sobhi
  • 9Berahino
  • 18Diouf

Substitutes

  • 10Choupo-Moting
  • 14Afellay
  • 22Shaqiri
  • 24Fletcher
  • 25Crouch
  • 33Grant
  • 36Souttar
Referee:
Martin Atkinson
Attendance:
14,199

Match Stats

Home TeamCoventryAway TeamStoke
Possession
Home39%
Away61%
Shots
Home7
Away24
Shots on Target
Home4
Away4
Corners
Home2
Away10
Fouls
Home6
Away8

Live Text

Match ends, Coventry City 2, Stoke City 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Coventry City 2, Stoke City 1.

Attempt missed. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high following a corner.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Jack Grimmer.

Attempt missed. Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Jordan Willis.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Jordan Willis.

Attempt missed. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Tom Bayliss.

Attempt missed. Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) header from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right.

Marc McNulty (Coventry City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Kurt Zouma (Stoke City).

Substitution

Substitution, Coventry City. Ryan Haynes replaces Jordan Shipley.

Attempt blocked. Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

Attempt blocked. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt saved. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Stoke City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner.

Attempt blocked. Saido Berahino (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt saved. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Jack Grimmer.

Attempt blocked. Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box is blocked.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Jack Grimmer.

Chris Stokes (Coventry City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Xherdan Shaqiri replaces Charlie Adam.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting replaces Stephen Ireland.

Attempt missed. Stephen Ireland (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Foul by Maxime Biamou (Coventry City).

Joe Allen (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Coventry City 2, Stoke City 1. Jack Grimmer (Coventry City) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Chris Stokes.

Substitution

Substitution, Coventry City. Ben Stevenson replaces Jordan Maguire-Drew.

Attempt missed. Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) header from very close range is just a bit too high following a corner.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Tom Davies.

Foul by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).

Jordan Willis (Coventry City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Coventry City 1, Stoke City 1. Charlie Adam (Stoke City) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the bottom left corner.

Penalty Stoke City. Ramadan Sobhi draws a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty conceded by Jordan Willis (Coventry City) after a foul in the penalty area.

goal