THE NOTEBOOK: Kasey Palmer claims unofficial hat-trick setting up Ellis Simms as Coventry advance comfortably, but not before one Maidstone fan has a memorable university placement as an intern

26 February 2024 0 By Total Football News

Ellis Simms scored a first-half hat-trick at the CBS Arena as Championship Coventry City ended sixth-tier Maidstone’s dazzling FA Cup run, before Fabio Tavares scored a late brace to make it 5-0 to the hosts.

The National League South side had knocked out second-tier Ipswich Town to reach the fifth round, but were quickly undone by the hosts on Monday night.

Simms scored three goals in the first 35 minutes, sealing his hat-trick from close range, while Tavares scored in the 88th and 91st minutes to skew the scoreline. 

While defeat marked the end of Maidstone’s remarkable run in England’s oldest cup competition, the sixth-tier Stones continued to make memories with their travelling fans following the thrashing. 

Here, Aadam Patel looks at some of the things you might have missed from Coventry City 3-0 Maidstone United

One Maidstone fan has been in George Elokobi¿s sports science team while on uni placement

One Maidstone fan has been in George Elokobi’s sports science team while on uni placement 

Paul Appiah missed the chance to play after his red card when they lost to Aveley in the league

Paul Appiah missed the chance to play after his red card when they lost to Aveley in the league

As far as University placement years go, few can have more memorable tales than 22-year-old Jamie Hemsley who has spent the season in the Maidstone dugout as an intern in George Elokobi’s sports science team. 

Hemsley, a boyhood Maidstone fan, studies Sport and Exercise Science at Loughborough University but told Mail Sport how things could easily have panned out differently if he didn’t take a year out to resit some of his A-Levels.

Had he been at Maidstone last season, it would have been a rather different experience with a miserable campaign ending in relegation.

Hard luck for 21-year-old Paul Appiah, who missed the chance to play for Maidstone on Monday night after getting sent off when they lost to Aveley in the National League South last week. 

The defender, on loan from Leicester, played in each of the last three rounds but league bans carry through to the FA Cup in England. 

That overlapping rule does not please many, with Roberto De Zerbi highlighting after Billy Gilmour’s sending-off on the weekend how it is different in Italy and players are only suspended for the competition in which they receive a red card. 

Coventry have adopted the fairly novel approach of uploading their matchday playlist on social media and Spotify for fans. 

‘Against All Odds’ by Westlife was on the playlist last night but this was one step too far for Maidstone, who were forced to warm up on the side opposite to where their 5,000 fans were. 

Though that was never going to stop them and as soon as they were finished, every player and squad member went around the perimeter of the pitch to applaud the travelling support. 

Coventry City upload their matchday playlist on social media and Spotify for fans to enjoy

Coventry City upload their matchday playlist on social media and Spotify for fans to enjoy

Kasey Palmer was ruthless, with all three assists for Ellis Simms' first-half hat-trick on Monday

Kasey Palmer was ruthless, with all three assists for Ellis Simms’ first-half hat-trick on Monday

Fifteen years since Coventry last reached the FA Cup quarter-finals. They lost to Chelsea at that stage in 2009.

You have to go back to 1987 for the last time the Sky Blues went past the last eight stage and they won the cup that season, beating Tottenham 3-2 at Wembley after extra-time under the joint management of John Sillett and George Curtis in one of the greatest finals in FA Cup history. 

Yes, 94 places may separate these sides but Kasey Palmer was ruthless and showed his class. 

The ex-Chelsea man claimed an unofficial hat-trick with all three assists for Ellis Simms’ hat-trick.