Coventry’s Simms hits hat-trick to end Maidstone run

26 February 2024 0 By Total Football News

Coventry striker Ellis Simms scored a first-half hat-trick to crush Maidstone’s dream of a historic FA Cup quarter-final place.

Sixth-tier Maidstone were bidding to become only the second non-league team in 109 years to reach the last eight, having already dispatched English Football League sides Barrow, Stevenage and Ipswich.

They came up against a Coventry team still stinging from their home defeat by Preston in the Championship on Friday, and were out of the running by the 35th minute, with the returning Kasey Palmer having a hand in all three Simms goals.

Fabio Tavares added two more late in the game as Coventry strolled into the quarter-finals for the first time since 2009.

After scoring his first, Simms held up a shirt bearing the name of team-mate Tatsuhiro Sakamoto, who was taken to hospital after being carried off on a stretcher in that Preston game with an injury that manager Mark Robins expects to keep the Japan midfielder out for the rest of the season.

Maidstone have provided much of the magic in the cup this season, not least with their shock victory at Championship promotion hopefuls Ipswich to become the first team outside the top five divisions to reach the fifth round since Blyth Spartans in 1978.

Their run, which began at Steyning Town Community in September, ended in the West Midlands as Palmer and Simms proved a class above George Elokobi’s men.

Maidstone's players and staff posed in front of their fans at the end of their FA Cup runMaidstone’s players and staff posed in front of their fans at the end of their FA Cup run

The charismatic manager had taken his team to salute the 4,800 travelling fans before kick-off, but it soon became apparent that Coventry were in no mood to suffer an upset at the hands of the National League South side.

With nine minutes on the clock, Palmer drifted into space in front of the Coventry back four and his pass cut through the defence to free Simms to prod in the opening goal.

Five minutes later, the elusive Palmer provided another telling pass, which Simms thumped into the far corner of the net.

Palmer has a special relationship with the competition for Coventry – his two killer passes mean he now has three goals and four assists in five FA Cup games for the club.

Maidstone tried to hit back, as Liam Sole’s dangerous cross was taken off Manny Duku’s head by Joel Latibeaudiere, and Sole himself sliced wide after getting a sight of goal.

The game was over as a contest on 35 minutes, however, as Palmer crashed in a 25-yard shot that goalkeeper Lucas Covolan could only parry for Simms to complete his treble and take his tally to nine goals for the season.

The Stones were bold and gave it a go, but were outclassed from start to finish, failing to have a single attempt on target.

Coventry brought on Callum O’Hare in the second half but took their foot off the gas to see the game out.

The only threat Maidstone posed was a sharp passing move that ended with Lamar Reynolds shooting into the side netting.

Coventry finished with a flourish as substitute Matty Godden touched the ball through for Tavares to score, with Godden then having a shot beaten out by Covolan straight to the feet of the Portuguese forward, who tucked away the fifth.

Coventry manager Mark Robins told BBC CWR:

“Congratulations to Maidstone, because George is doing a fantastic job there and they gave everything.

“They put you under pressure and fought for everything, but if you do things right and are on the front foot and move the ball well, you can make them feel the difference in quality, and we did it.

“Kasey Palmer on the ball is always good at finding those little pockets of space and sliding balls through. He slid it down the side for Ellis’ movement, he scored and then got a hat-trick in 35 minutes and the game is over.

“To win by five and not concede to get in the quarter-finals is all you can ask for.”

Maidstone midfielder Sam Bone told BBC Radio Kent:

“There are so many emotions. Right now I am so proud of myself and proud of the boys, everyone associated with the club – it’s such a special moment.

“I don’t think I have ever been this happy after a 5-0 loss but it’s just incredible, something I’ll look back on at the end of my career with a real smile on my face.

“You’re trying to soak it in but the whistle goes and it’s game mode. We play in front of 1,500-2,000 week-in, week-out so to get this experience is so special and something I’ll cherish.

“The gaffer told us (afterwards) we have got a job to do in the league, We’re out of the play-offs so that’s an incentive for the boys.

“It’s important we take lessons from this game, and Ipswich and Stevenage, and try to go on a run until the end of the season.”



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 13Wilson
  • 22Latibeaudiere
  • 4Thomas
  • 15Kitching
  • 21BidwellSubstituted forDasilvaat 78′minutes
  • 29TorpSubstituted forEcclesat 67′minutes
  • 6Kelly
  • 30Tavares Desidério
  • 45PalmerSubstituted forvan Ewijkat 67′minutes
  • 11WrightSubstituted forO’Hareat 45′minutes
  • 9SimmsSubstituted forGoddenat 66′minutes


  • 2Binks
  • 3Dasilva
  • 10O’Hare
  • 24Godden
  • 27van Ewijk
  • 28Eccles
  • 41Lusala
  • 48Bell
  • 54Andrews

Maidstone United

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Covolan Cauagnari
  • 6BrownSubstituted forHoyteat 69′minutes
  • 5Fowler
  • 4Greenidge
  • 14KyprianouSubstituted forEzennolimat 69′minutes
  • 16SoleSubstituted forGurungat 69′minutes
  • 8Corne
  • 15Bone
  • 10Reynolds
  • 11DukuSubstituted forCourtat 79′minutes
  • 7Berkeley-AgyepongSubstituted forIandoloat 87′minutes


  • 2Hoyte
  • 3Ezennolim
  • 12Earle
  • 13Court
  • 17Smith
  • 18Gurung
  • 19Iandolo
Michael Salisbury

Match Stats

Live Text

Match ends, Coventry City 5, Maidstone United 0.

Second Half ends, Coventry City 5, Maidstone United 0.