COVENTRY, England : Coventry City’s Ellis Simms struck a first-half hat-trick as they beat visiting Maidstone United 5-0 to end the sixth-tier side’s fairytale FA Cup run in the fifth round on Monday.

Simms scored twice to put second-tier Coventry ahead inside 14 minutes, which silenced the 5,000 Maidstone fans who wore banana skins to support the National League South side.

Maidstone eliminated Barrow, Stevenage and Ipswich Town to become the lowest-ranked team to reach the last 16 in the competition since Blyth Spartans in the 1977-78 season.

However, their hopes of advancing were all but over after Simms scored his third goal in the 35th minute.

Fabio Tavares wrapped up the win for Mark Robins’ side by scoring twice before the end to take them into the quarter-finals for the first time since 2009.

Coventry, ninth in the Championship table, will have to wait until Wednesday to find out their next opponents, with the rest of the fifth round ties being played later this week.

(This story has been refiled to read ‘1977-78 season’ in paragraph 3)


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